You’ll have to try something constructive rather than destructive next time if you really want to live out your philosophy of an productive participant.
Well, I don’t think most of the people who feel they’re being constructive at Burning Man really are interested in extending their construction beyond their immediate circle of influence. I don’t think they have any ultimate-truths that they’re trying to satisfy other than having a good time.
From the perspective of those who do have ultimate-truths beyond humanistic selfish ones, that makes Burning Man seem like a gaggle of, well, “ineffectual random wantonness.” And so it is. However, that’s exactly what, I think, most of these people want: they just want to live their life, they don’t want to help save the world.
That does make them selfish, and maybe bound for Hell or reincarnation or some cosomological punishment if they’re wrong about the consquenses of their selfishness. But, I don’t think they do believe themselves wrong. More shockingly, I don’t think the thought that their actions might be bad even occurs to them.
In honesty, it rarely occurs to me. I’ve long characterized my personal philosophy (to myself at least) as something along the lines of optimistic nihilism, in which the basic foundation is the satisfaction of desire. In reality, this simply moves The Grand Debate to (1.) asserting that I don’t know what my actual desire is, and, worse, (2.) I’ll never be able to figure out what my desire is…thus making the whole idea impossibly stupid.
But, I don’t really care that much: I’m pretty happy with where this optimistic nihilism has gotten me.
I’m certainly bucking against Pascal’s Gamble (or whatever it’s called), and I’m going to hate myself for all eternity if I end up being wrong in the end, whether that means I’m tormented by Hell, reborn as a slug, or am afflicted by someother punishment for not being able to figure out The Grand Vision correctly.
In short, as a hopfully kind rebuttle, I think both Arley and Josh are probably correct in your take on Burning Man, or whatever: it’s certainly not anything that’s going to help the world be a better place, but it probably allows those who want it to to make them better and happier people.
As I said, this just begs more of the stock questions from The Grand Debate about “What is Good,” but, so what? What doesn’t beg more questions? Indeed, if there was such a thing, then we wouldn’t be talking about this, we’d just be doing whatever The Good was.
Or not…we could debate that premis right of the bat, but this post, unlike The Grand Debate, has to end.