The Heart of the Metaverse

Burning Man Project
Aug 6 · 14 min read
by Simeone Scaramozzino

This year, Burning Man’s magic did not vibrate on a physical playa. While you can cancel an event, you can’t cancel a culture… We had to pivot …and eventually decided to reflourish from our hearts, digitally.

The ongoing process of dematerialization offers the human community an unprecedented opportunity to rift in a regenerative morphic resonance, reconnect with the universal, dis-identified version of ourselves in the supreme quantum field, and replace the core identity misinterpretations of our species with the core truth of our identity. With our infinite potential realigned with the ambitious vision of imagining unprecedented beauty into being for all the ecosystems of this planet, we can pulsate as one amplified, hyper-connected and coherent heart-ware, tune into certain multiversal versions of reality where the change we want to be in the world is already “real,” and let the quantum change propagate in the impermanent construct that we call life. Over the past year or so, the Burning Man community transcended fear and negative priming and pulled off an epic reality creation experiment, extending and reconnecting in a neuro aesthetically stimulating, oxytocin inducing metaverse.

In 2019, Melvin Vopson, a physicist at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, formulated a principle postulating that information moves between states of mass and energy just like other matter. He forecasted that given current trends of 50% annual growth in the number of digital bits produced, the number of bits would equal the number of atoms on Earth in approximately 150 years. By 2245, half of Earth’s mass would be converted to digital information mass, according to the study “Digital Content on Track to Equal Half Earth’s Mass by 2245” published in American Institute of Physics Advances. As the amount of space required to store 1-bit of information is rapidly reducing, the day it hits the size of an atom there will be more information bits than the number of atoms on Earth.

The Earth’s community is steadfastly, consciously and unconsciously, blurring the duality between material and non material, swiftly moving towards its ultimate removal, and exponentially weaving ethereal threads in the fabric of the metaverse — “a digital interactive, responsive and immersive environment connecting people and things.” In our ongoing digital palingenesis, emerging technologies offer intelligence augmentations for us to hack away from our species’ pre-wired separation beliefs and delve back into the matterless primordial sound, the sublime and boundless “all there is,” the wave forming quantum information field — where we all belong together and are one with the infinite disidentified versions of us. If we are holographic figments of a Supreme Consciousness vibrating as the quantum unifying information field, the more we dematerialize, the closer we get to one another, and the wider the spectrum of our possibilities we reacquaint ourselves with. The more technology empowers our wet-wares (indeed we are water…) to disembody in digitized versions of the self, the faster we tune into parallel realities that exist beyond the finite, psychological subjective perspective. As we immerse, connect, interact, and engage in tech-enabled regenerative, collective, multi-sensorial, ritualistic journeys hopping us in and out of states of consciousness and energetic densities that align us with the entangled and vast number of universes and infinite possibilities existing in the infinite zero-point energy, the more luminous the light of our essence pulsating as one amplified, hyper-connected, and coherent heart-ware in the infinite, dis-identified ego-less “we.”

We have a natural affinity for drifting to states where we are not separated by polarity. We are supreme consciousness, always tuned into our oneness, journeying through cycles of embodiment. We float through the energetic densities, from the most dense “I am this and that” (body, matter, physical existence), to the “I am this” (soul, energy, identity), to the “I am” (boundless infinity). Rooted in the “I am” essence, we surf through parallel realities. Humanity is relentlessly dis-identifying existence with denseful matter — I am material therefore I exist — and tuning into the end of the Kali Yuga of material consciousness, straight into the Yuga of denseless, dematerialized existence — I am, therefore I am. We are tuning into novel realities where we are no longer “embodied” or “envisioned” but “imagined” and “felt” and are amplifying the correspondence with the parallel-worlds versions of ourselves that are already experiencing such realities. What our rational mind, tricking the embodied self, loves to define “the race to technological innovation” is instead “a placid journey to re-discover our inner portal into the metaverse.” We are not “racing moving towards a direction,” instead we are “changing constructs and frames” and re-imagining everything as non-matter. As such, technological innovation will continue to unfold as a process of transcending and dematerializing into bytes.

Like technology, imagination and art help us transcend by emancipating us from our limitations, and support us in our journey into self-awareness and introspection by offering new ways to venture into the quantum field and fine-tune our infinite potential with it.

Like never before, our species needs creativity and technology empowering us to reconnect with each others’ hearts and truths, through collective healing and transformative rituals establishing deep connections. We need to tune into a vortex of collective and regenerative sensory resonance to affect our tensegrity, governance, and entanglement and add a new coherent heartbeat to the planet. Human heart is a separate intelligence, through which consciousness seeks expression by means of artistic media created by the human mind.

The current waveform created by the pandemic-infodemic is a “perfect storm” exacerbating the urgency for the sentient communities of the planet to reimagine their cultural identities in a heart-centric multiverse, reach new heights in new digital realms, and fine-tune their collective mission with the individual responsibilities in the evolution of collective consciousness and society. In this crescendo to bringing such vision to fruition, technology can support creativity and art by scaling up the amplitude of the salvific magnum opus of connecting collective acts of creation to calls to action that can s hockwave quantum social change.

In an attempt to preserve their existence and keep their culture intact in times of pandemic crisis, a unique community, unexpectedly and unpredictably, turned out to be a propelling force in the expansion of the metaverse. Not only did they end up playing a decisive role in the dematerialization of reality, they also pulled off an epic endeavor that has marked an undeletable moment in the history of Technology, Culture, and Society.

2020 (and beyond) is the year that art, technology, and community transcended to create unprecedented beauty.

This story originates 34 years ago when Larry Harvey and Jerry James started Burning Man, a community now totaling over 80,000 annually and growing. Each year, we gather from all over the planet at Black Rock City, our home away from home in the Nevada desert, to co-create and co-materialize a physically ephemeral, makeshift city, imbued with extravagant and visionary art and radical expression of its creators. Such a city exists for only 15 days (mid-August to beginning of September) to bring radical joy, unity, and transformation into the lives of its “citizens.” And when the time is due, we dematerialize our city, adhering to a strict Leave No Trace code of conduct, sending a socio-anthropological shockwave across the planet that outlasts/outlives the duration of the event.

Despite its impermanent nature, the event has evolved over the years into a platform, leaving profound and permanent — perhaps irreversible — marks (despite the Leave No Trace policy, pun intended) on the minds, hearts, and souls of not only Burners but also of the human community at large, in more ways than one, operating all year long, and influencing the agenda for a sustainable and humane transcendence. Today, Burning Man is a culturally and socially expansive, progressive, expressive cross-cultural, ubiquitous, and pervasive phenomenon outstretching the boundaries of the playa — the event area equalling to 7 square miles in a desert made of silicon, much of which is devoted to open space for art installations and life-changing events, while Burners’ camps are vivaciously arranged in a series of concentric streets, designing a symbolic C-shaped arc, in a compact plot of land that’s walkable and bike-able.

Our actions as a community are inspired by Principles centered around Radical Self-expression, self-reliance, collaboration, resilience, inclusion, accessibility, and sustainable and conscientious human development.

This year, Burning Man’s magic did not vibrate on a physical playa. While you can cancel an event, you can’t cancel a culture… We had to pivot …and eventually decided to reflourish from our hearts, digitally.

By means of dematerialization, Burning Man 2020 materialized as a “Multiverse,’’ a mirror Black Rock City (BRC) made of different digital universes, in which participants collaborated, expressed, played, and socialized. Propelled by 12 technological platforms, BRC became “smarter” and globally accessible via the internet.

We mapped digital “twins” of Burning Man’s layouts, camps, installations, and participants in the “metaverse” — otherwise known as: the “spatial internet,” “the AR Cloud,” “the Magicverse,” “the Spatial internet,” or “Live Maps.”) The word “metaverse” is a portmanteau of the prefix “meta” (meaning beyond) and “universe”; the term describes the concept of a future iteration of the internet, we’ll be able to experience it all around every single day.

Below is a brief collection of highlights about how the Burning Man community dared to re-imagine their identity, outdo itself, obliterate its physical boundaries, face inwards and outwards, turn a threat into an opportunity, and deliver magic to tens of thousands of metanauts in the metaverse.

What transpired from Burning Man’s dematerialization (in the face of a global pandemic) is at the edge of a new digital frontier defying the boundaries of placemaking, community building, gamification for good, wise tech, emotional connection, expression, engagement, and interaction.

With the intention of vibrating into being a public space, with a strong cultural connotation, for our community’s happiness, mental health, and wellbeing in absence of playa magic, we improvised a model for an immersive, always-on social enterprise with a distributed, poly-centric architecture for virtual soulful facilitation of care, where the care needed by its receiver equaled the healing enjoyed by the caregiver.

Capitalizing on our community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, we built a scalable model — a blueprint for Burning Man to expand upon — that can also be cross-pollinated to other communities across physical and cultural boundaries to animate human evolution. Such a model is indeed a new interface blurring the boundaries between Burning Man and society. Burning Man’s tech-augmented journeying into infinitizing human flourishing will affect its own identity for many years to come.

The transcendence into the metaverse was almost perfect: our intentions, cultural references, symbols, language, and semantics seemed to be laser-cut for such teleportation.

Replacing the hammers and welding stations with content creation engines to support the manifestation process, different teams and platforms offered a wide variety of immersive and serendipitously connecting experiences, each with their unique identity, focus, gifts, magic, sexiness, and ability to spark curiosity.

New standards were set in immersive storytelling and in simultaneous, collaborative creation of 3D content in the cloud.

The silicon playa magic rematerialized into silicon chips. From the sublime to the ridiculously fun, every inch of dusty awes and uncontrollable laughters vibrated with its supreme potency through bytes and digits. The installations and the theme camps, with digitally-enhanced interactivity, favored the connection with the artists and their work in an unprecedented, no space-time constrained fashion. Visionary art, such as “Blockchain Art” that had never made it — or would never have made it — to playa otherwise found its new meta home; the flamboyant costumes and emotional states reached new peaks, powered by emotive and expressive avatars and massive, cross continental zoom sessions; star seeds for new standards in inclusivity and accessibility were planted, and differently-abled people from all over the world were able to attend; and so were the skeptical moms and pops who could finally supersede their skepticism and afford to participate.

With financial resources turning out to be problematic for many in such times of limbo, sustainable, inclusive, and accessible monetization models were designed such that the wealthy areas of the world subsidize the less fortunate to participate. The immersive and experiential nature of the metaverse appeared to be naturally harmonious with a decommodified view on attracting resources and support, in that it offers organic opportunities for natural outreach in the context of culturally-specific dialogues and narratives.

Not only was the transition into the metaverse smooth and made it possible to increase accessibility and inclusivity, the tech augmentation also amplified the potency of our collective rituals.

Digital Villages of artists, project managers, technical and non-technical volunteers, and amazing humans spanned the physical distance and connected from all corners of the world, opened their hearts to this virtual experiment, and contributed so much magic and energy in the weeks leading up to the Burn, making the build ritual just as engaging, fun, and bonding as the one on the playa.

The Multiverse that resulted from the build became a sentient, metaphysical space flickering with a busy calendar of all forms of radical expression. With our hearts focused on infinity and our eyes extremely grounded in the present moment, enticing photons activated biochemical cascades and new patterns of excitement. The ingenious luminosity of our community transmitted through our tissues to open new windows into our brain, while expanding our hearts to new forms of collective enjoyment.

The iconic map of Black Rock City became a healing tool, a superpower, a refuge, and a reward system offering multidimensional and interactive touch-points, views, and portals for unprecedented, instantaneous hyper jumps into the various containers — presented in the form of parties, DJ sets, performances, soul-mind-body healing sessions, inspiring talks, and more — rich in artistic gifts and reciprocal trust and kindness amongst various individuals and communities. Relaxed in our hot tub Zoom dates, we minted our Love and Connection meta currency in our multiversal creative lab. Navigating a dizzying array of overlapping events induced the same FOMO as on the physical playa.

To many, the Man Burn felt just as iconographic and bonding, in the metasphere, as it does on the traditional playa. The transformative and healing magnitude of the spiritually charged Temple Burn ceremony offered participants new perspectives — both visually and metaphorically — and experimental ways to connect inwardly and outwardly. To enhance the collective journey of purification and shedding, we interweaved ancient, ancestral sounds and neuro-stimulating, healing, and aligning binaurals and solfeggio frequencies nested into euphonic soundscapes. Creating collaboratively in a “virtual studio” across different time zones was a stimulating journey, with different talents connecting around cultural identity.

In 225 years from now, when our current tech will be considered Paleolithic/primeval, those interested in Paleo tech and investigating Burning Man’s unprecedented, endeavoring experiment will most certainly be logically drawn to make a few considerations.

  • Such an undertaking must have been an inherently even bigger challenge for people who seek Immediacy in connection with one another and live and thrive symbiotically with their favorite physical place of gathering;
  • Human minds are anti-fragile: they require stimulation in the form of a challenge and adversity to thrive. Adversity, indeed, makes us creative. Choosing to exist outside of our comfort zones activates otherwise latent areas of our brain. Adversity ensured and guaranteed survival and sparked and propelled our imaginative engines to consider new frontiers of flourishing in togetherness; hardship drives creativity which drives innovation which leads to collective dematerialization;
  • In such journeys of healing, wisdom, and mutual transformation, to sustain bold choices it is quintessential to maintain alignment around greater ideals, intentions, and visions;
  • Creating in the metaverse freed up physical resources that extended Burners’ heart-space vibrations, and in hindsight made them exceed their own expectations;
  • Hearts need to be open wide to acknowledge that matter is nothing but an act and a state of supreme consciousness and that the construct we call “life” is the holographic journey to reducing the perceived distance with supreme consciousness by means of shedding layers of resistance;
  • This is a story where the pandemic crisis was a constructive factor for our experiment, slingshotting us into positive realities, where gravity is defied.

Most importantly, they will realize that we centered around our fire of a felt sense of interconnectedness and collaboration by stewarding off each other’s efforts and ritualistically being of service to one another, and tuned into a flow that resulted in countering overwhelm, disempowerment, uncertainty, sense of void, and hopelessness about the future that we would have certainly been faced with should the Multiverse had not taken shape in the immaterial realm.

We are all-encompassing, immaterial consciousness enjoying impermanent adventures in matter-land. To reclaim our full potential, as our journey in the physical realm unfolds, we must cease resisting life, re-learn to tap into the unknown, and create correspondence with infinity. Popping in and out of the domain of the infinite helps us shed our layers of limiting beliefs and traumas. We are all equally capable of epic, regenerative deeds in our hero’s journey, so long as we let go of scarcity beliefs and dopamine-based hard wirings.

And that’s exactly what we did. In retrospect, it is clear that, guided by the supreme force of our oneness, we let go of resistance and surrendered to fulfill our roles as overtones of our consciousness: the Multiverse was our hero’s journey, our rite of passage into the metaverse. As the adventure unfolded, we felt open to let our heart-space resonate in sublime coherence with our minds and bodies, for our essential selves to remember — and be reacquainted with — our infinite, immaterial nature. Interconnection in the immaterial realm empowered us to shockwave our expansive act of consciousness.

Nourished with cosmic resilience manna, and detoxed from the omnipresent and disturbingly “comforting” fear-mongering infodemia lowering humanity’s vibrations, our community felt drawn to generate ripples of collective coherence for harmonious outcomes in our holographic existence.

As the emotional seismograph of the earthquake that is in progress was — and is — reckless, we continued to fine-tune with our heart-felt rituals, so as to keep our truest identities intact and re-parametrize our reality creation equation: hovering above the muddy, pan-demonic limbo, we tapped into our imagination to connect and correspond with versions of reality and identities that were aligned and corresponding with our purposes. In response to the inevitable changes of the system we have embedded and entangled ourselves in, we worked on our individual and collective capacity to keep reinventing and transforming.

The ensuing vibratory riot empowered us to identify ourselves as architects and experimentalists dissipating duality and drifting in dissonance with the current incremental polarity — octaves above one’s comforting hope of the future — putting experiential avoidance to pause.

The non-dualistic, flickering embodiment of the present moment transformed the mundane into the transcendent. A prolific state of creative trance — allowing us to surrender and oscillate untethered across cosmic energetic densities and vibratory states — expanded our consciousness and helped us reaffirm our culture and our identity as a community of joyful humans: our Multiverse’s heart wave propagated at its fastest the moment we realized we were bringing our digital gift to fruition for humanity at large — not only our inner Burning Man circle.

While we continue to expand in the metaverse, pioneering the Multiverse epitomizes an act of collective trans-dimensional meditation affecting the vagus nerve of humanity. As technological innovation will continue to unfold as a “journey into our essence” by means of a “process of dematerialization into bytes” and we will re-imagine everything, from our heart, as non-matter, the time-space construct will cease to be definitory and the sense of the present moment will only be determined by the intensity of our heartfelt connections: “We exist because we feel one another.”

Although physical limitations were keeping us apart over the past year(s), by means of dematerialization, we re-imagined the conditions for reuniting. We became champions of dematerialization, becoming one heart and one intention and making Burning Man happen all the same. After all we are just a bunch of souls aligned around the idea of reconnecting with one another who, connecting their hearts, ended up pioneering new ways of creating unity by trimming/thinning layers of separation between one another and the global consciousness, aware that connection, whether pre or post singularity, is the heart of the journey to immaterial rebirth. While matter is impermanent, Love is the ultimate immaterial form of permanent connection, weaving everlasting and unifying threads in the ethereal fabric of the universe.

As we journey towards Love, human connection is — and will continue to be — the heart of the metaverse.

Because — We are the technology we’re looking to replicate.

Originally published at https://simeonescaramozzino.medium.com on November 14, 2020.

Beyond Burning Man

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