Why Burning Man goers are closer to heaven than priests

This is directly inspired by the most inspiring talk I've watched for the day : [ted id=341]

Before delving into what makes the moral roots of liberals and conservatives, Jonathan Haidt enumerates what he calls the "5 foundations of morality" which are common to mammals and to all humans. The second one is fairness and reciprocity. And that reminded me of a talk I heard at BIL 2011 this year in Los Angeles by the incredible : John Halcyon Styn founder of Hug Nation and 1st Saturdays and a super-big fan of Burning man.

And his talk, of course, was just about that. Here's the extreme summary :

Temporary Gift Economy, Permanent Life Changes / John Halcyon Styn, host, Hug Nation

Burning Man is no longer underground. But the ripple effects of this temporary city are having impact far beyond fashion and music. Why is this "epic party" so important to so many people? Halcyon will explain the significance of a Gift Economy and how new patterns of human interaction are being shaped in the Nevada Desert.

Burning man is on my bucket list obviously but that's not what this post is about : It's about the philosophy on which this "epic party" thrives : Temporary gift economy. When you go to Burning man, you go with a "gifting" mind (gifted too, though that's not essential). John said you'll be surprised how many people will "offer" you things ("Hey there! Do you want some pasta ?"). But the incredible thing is that: They won't ask for ANYTHING in return.

And that's where Haidt's talk comes back in: Even if no body asks you for anything, your moral obligation for reciprocity is being leveraged and really in the most beautiful, undemanding ways.

And think about it : What are our religions based on? At one point, Haidt reminds us that they are based on that golden rule of fairness and reciprocity. Are they ? Are they still? No. At all. The basis of it all has been lost and drowned in heavy bureaucratic institutions. I'd love to discuss this further with anybody who disagrees in the comments.

Until that discussion, to priests and Church goers : Try out the company of the Burning people. Much more fun than church. And it's only once a year !