And what experience do you want? 9 August 2010

Mark Morford once wrote:

[Adventure] is what we are designed for. Emotional (and physical, and spiritual) scarring and discoloration is, in a way, what we do. Our spirits are, after all, here to experience and taste and immerse in it all. But it’s when you deny this fact, when you choose to see all the sex and drugs and tattoos and mortgages as a giant drawer of scary sharp knives that the gods sigh and frown and say, Well, why in the hell did we set up this mad gorgeous kitchen for you in the first place if you’re not going to slice off the tip of your finger now and then, and scream, and get a bandage and heal awkwardly and then do it all over again?

Or as another sage person once said into a walkie talkie, “We are not here to keep people from being stupid. Once they are stupid we will pick up the pieces, but we’re not going to stop people from having whatever experience they want to have.”

Burning Man is not about living safely, nor is it about living dangerously. It is about living vividly. An excellent lesson.

Multicolor explosions surrounding the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, Burning Man, 2009. Photo by Steph Goralnick.

The album version of Whatever Experience They Want is a soundtrack to what I see when I close my eyes and run a fast-forward video of all my memories of the madhouse beauty that is found in the desert. If you’ve been, you know exactly what I mean: the feeling of finding out what happens if you experience too much joy.

Whatever Experience They Want (Opulent Version) is a different thing: the darker, more urgent, more apocalyptic feeling of pushing beyond the engineering limits of your self. Buckle yourself in, or don’t, it doesn’t much matter: you’re going on a ride that’s going to turn you inside out.

Isn’t that what you came here for?