In the Echoes of My First Burn, A Vision

Though I still recall it with awe and a deep sense of magic, the jolt of energy I felt upon first setting foot on the playa no longer strikes me as especially surprising. You bring tens of thousands of creative-minded people to a place as inhospitable and remote as any in this country and free them to explore their imaginations, joyfully and without fetter, and it's no wonder at the intensity of energy that results.

The implications for what is possible when we free our greatest selves is pretty staggering.

It was late January or early February of 2006, and I was still very much aglow from the experiences of my first Burn. I was flying from Oakland to Burbank after a few days visiting friends I'd made at Burning Man. I had a window seat on the right side of the plane, and as we came in to land I saw a glacier of headlights creeping down Mulholland Pass on the 405. I have never forgotten the sight. It was like witnessing a vision. I said to myself, Surely we can do better than this.

The utopian drive of Burning Man in a nutshell: Once you have witnessed what creative energy, properly harnessed, can accomplish on a grand scale, you no longer see the world in the same way. Our intractable problems come to seem like failures of imagination. Limitations fall away. You say, Surely we can do better than this. And you aspire to make it so.

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