A confluence of influence

The October 4, 1999 issue of Forbes Magazine covered Burning Man (very badly, but that is another story), and the ASAP "Big Issue" was on "The Great Convergence," so here it is in real life. The confluence of influence took place on Labor Day weekend 1999 in Black Rock City. Art and creativity melded with technology and no corporate sponsorship. Sorry, Forbes, you missed it entirely.

On page 99 of Forbes, a headline screams, "Bring food, water, body paint -- and business cards. Hide the business cards." The article touts Burning Man as the modern Bohemian Grove, with a Wired/Tired- type chart of what's in and what's out. Amazon.com, Yahoo, and ILM are mentioned as having presences, and the article tells how Gil Silberman met several of his best clients at Burning Man, how Peter Rosberg has met at Burning Man several people he later hired, how "Burning Man credentials" give people a leg up in the Web world. A pity.

This year's ASAP "Big Issue IV" is about "The Great Convergence." Editor Michael Malone proclaims, "Convergence is the zeitgeist of the new millennium." (Page 16 of Forbes ASAP.) I love these pretentious statements that say absolutely nothing at all. The cover of ASAP trumpets essays by five people important enough to name, plus "Forty Other Thinkers" not so important. Only Tom Peters and Muhammed Ali said anything of interest. Mr. Peters, Mr. Ali, you are both welcome to attend Burning Man next year.

Mr. Peters will find the space to think, to be alone, to be at peace at 5:30 in the morning on the calm, filled- in lakebed of the playa. The sunrise is beautiful, and on the morning of the Burn, the Java Cow will bring coffee to the base of the Man. Bring your own cup, please. Self- reliance is one of the lessons of Burning Man.

Mr. Ali will find that art and nature, the poetry of Man and the poetry of God, even time and space have come together for a few days, in the bowl of Black Rock, under the bowl of the sky. He will find that the dignity of Man is not contested (although the silliness isn't either -- both are celebrated at Burning Man). Come with us to stand with Burning Man, light the fire, and celebrate with us all at one time, in one place, the one truth that you bring with you, as one person with twenty thousand others.

At Burning Man there is only what you bring with you. For a few days, nothing else exists. That is convergence.

This page is part of The Civilized Explorer Burning Man Web site.