The absence of beauty at Burning Man (PDF) sends up major red flags, in the trained artist’s eye of Miles Mathis:
What’s wrong with a bunch of people getting together and sharing their garage-craft creations and watching light shows? On the surface, nothing. If this event took place in a culture that still had a top end of art, I don’t think it would bother me at all. I am not interested in car shows, but car shows don’t distress me. I am not interested in monster trucks, but they don’t distress me as an artist. There are a lot of things that I don’t participate in or even that I don’t really understand that don’t distress me. I think of them as things that other people do, and no harm done. But events like Burning Man give me a bad vibe. They always have. I remind you of my paper on the Taos GlamTrash Fashion Show of many years ago, where I first tried to explain this. That event affected me just like Burning Man, because I think they come from the same place. My fiancée at the time didn’t understand my response to that, even after reading that paper, so I guess that is one reason I feel compelled to return to it. I think our disagreement on that was one reason we never got married. She never could understand why that event or those people bothered me so much. She thought I was just a stick-in-the-mud, raining on everyone’s parade.
My belief remains firm that if she really understood where the whole concept came from, she would agree with me. My hope is that maybe by viewing Steve Outtrim’s videos, she and others like her could finally comprehend the enormity of this whole project. She could not take my word for it, since we were too close. It is hard to take someone standing right next to you as an authority on anything. Strangely, that seems to require some distance. So the fact that this wealthy insider, who knows these people personally, would come to the same conclusion as me, might mean something.
The basic problem, as I see it, is that we are living in a time utterly devoid of real art. By that I mean art of beauty, subtlety and elevation. Sure, it still exists in museums, but almost nobody alive is now creating it. If they are, nobody cares. What is more, it didn’t just die out naturally. It has been killed with malice aforethought by the very people Steve Outtrim is outing: by the billionaires and trillionaires and their hirelings in the military, government, big tech, media, and academia. The death of real art and the rise of Modernism was not an organic fall and rise. It was planned and staged for various reasons which I have enumerated in hundreds of papers over three decades. These include the use of art in money laundering and the capture of the field for the talentless children of these rich families, who wanted to be artists but were not capable of it.
So someone like me can’t help but see Burning Man in that context. It is not just a meeting of grungeartisans and light show mavens. No, it is sold as a premier art event, drawing far more people and press than any art show in New York. In this sense, it is the low end of art posing as the high end.
Since the high end is extinct, almost no one notices. In the screaming artistic void that is the 21st century, the military tries to paper over the vacuum by filling it with fireworks and monstrous metal contraptions. Beneath that it promotes a bevy of marginally talented people—some of them admittedly energetic—far beyond their deserts. All to ensure that high art remains in the grave.Burning Man and Modern Art, 3 September 2021
I find it intriguing how so many non-Christians, from Miles Mathis and Stefan Molyneux to Steve Keen and Camille Paglia, all react so similarly to the various aspects of Promethean pharisatanry despite their various and very different areas of expertise and knowledge. Whether they happen to be primarily in tune with the Good, the Beautiful, or the True, they are all offended on a deeply visceral level by the intentional violations of what they perceive to be correct and worthwhile.
Their understanding of the entire situation is intrinsically limited by their materialistic perspectives, but their perceptions are valid, their instincts are correct, and their revulsion is both real and entirely justified. This may help us understand how Christians not only admired the noble and virtuous pagans of the past, but went out of their way to protect and preserve their work. It is evidence of how God speaks to people in the darkness, and how He offers them many different pathways to lead them out of it and into the Light of the Truth that is Jesus Christ.
And, of course, it’s also fascinating to observe, over time, how integral core Christian theology and the Bible are required in order to make sense of the entire picture at hand. The more I read of anything from Renaissance history to Roman stoicism to modern esotericism, the more it becomes clear that the rampant evil that presently rules the world and is at war with everything Good, Beautiful, and True is the same ancient and seductive one that first convinced the exiles of Egypt to worship the idol of the golden calf, the same entity that Jesus Christ called the prince of this world, and whose blandishments he rejected in the desert.