Gail's Blog

Downton Abbey versus Burning Man Demise

For those of you who are not aware of Burning Man, it is an event that started back in the 80’s and got together various cross sections of humanity who wanted to hang out, go nuts and do peace love etc.  The event kept going up in price and it eventually moved from Baker Beach in San Francisco to the Nevada desert.  It’s signature was a huge bonfire.  It lasts many days.  Even Grover Norquist, the extremely conservative Washington political performer attended with a gaggle of tech entrepreneurs.  Tickets that were able to be afforded by the common person now costs $390 to attend and require time and material investment of hundreds more.  They are being picked up by scalpers for profit.  So much for this original “feel good” hang out event.  It’s been taken over by the movers and shakers and is on the death bed.  Once Silicon Valley got a hold of it, it was only a matter of time.

Enter Downton Abbey which is an enormous hit in America and just finished its 5th season with another season starting in January 2016.  Why have we taken so much to Downton Abbey and what could the connection be to an annual event of the great unwashed of Burning Man?  Downton Abbey is a stunningly beautiful, well cast and well written drama.  It delivers civility, manners, security, ritual, composure, beauty, personal discipline, good time management, efficiency  and a formal behavior that can deliver a line that says “a lack of compassion is as vulgar as excessive tears”.  Wish I’d said that.

We have come a long way with the personal freedoms of the Aquarian Age and its rise of the individual–hence the Burning Man phenomena of do what you love, use what you want and let it all hang out.  The hoards descended.  Our old Piscean Age full of gingerbread houses with Victorian Age decor, stained glasses and lingering over a sherry has been replaced by the Aquarian Age of the practical over the sentimental.  The observation, however, is that we long for the sentimental, we exhausted ourselves in our race to keep up.  We barely process one thing and another thing has arrived.  We feel at times like Lucy and the assembly line of cakes and candies.  It doesn’t stop.  We tried out the Burning Man but that didn’t work as it became another forced endeavor to show our individuality only to be kidnapped by the system.

Downton Abbey is a reminder of what we long for and what we lost in our race of progress.  No matter how technologically advanced we become, we still long for genuine time and its natural rhymn.  We have gotten further away from nature and our stress levels are through the roof.  We wear electronic bands to measure our fitness, numbers of steps and how much sleep we get.  We eat on the run, at the desk or in the car.  We have put ourselves into a form of bondage.  We don’t know how to get out.  We work at meditating and working out, we plan our kids lives so they have less time for friends and we text more than speak.  No wonder Downton Abbey is such a great escape and a reminder of a time when the pace was more natural and we really did know how to modulate our voice and sing a song rather than shout a song.  Glad there is another season ahead.



5 responses to “Downton Abbey versus Burning Man Demise”

  1. gail says:

    Bernie Sander’s purpose as a “5” is to nudge the platform to center left and force the main candidate to include these issues in the debate and election. The election we will be ready for is 2024. The US has much work to do to expose, clean up and change. The exposure process is still going on.
    Thanks for writing.

  2. Nadya Dandurand says:

    Dear Gail,
    I’m glad to see you online again after taking some time to heal from your loss…(We crawl through grief, we don’t sprint…)
    I’ve been following news of Bernie Sanders entry into the presidential race…and I just love this man. He is speaking up about the real issues and what’s at stake forAmerica. I understand that his birthday is Sept 8, 1941, which makes him a “5”…an agent of change. Would you write something about Mr. Sanders, please? It would take some kind of miracle for him to win the election, but he is certainly shining the spotlight on the important issues…and refuses to engage in ‘attack’ (of other politicians). Americans need reasons to hope that there ARE good men in politics.

    Bless you and thank you!

    Nadya Dandurand

  3. Ken says:

    I get your point but I respectfully don’t agree. Sure, Burning Man has burt up and burnt out. But Downton Abby as an example of less stressful times and the benefit of more formal behavior? The “good old days” only seem good because we’ve forgotten the bad stuff. Memory works like that — perhaps it’s an evolutionary advantage to not feeling depressed about history. The Edwardian era values you laud codified the stratification of society (absence of social mobility), subjugation and limitation of women, guilt by family association, and the precipitation of World War I, among other things. Security can be a mirage for constraint. One thinks one has the formula for security and then there’s a world war because the system is too stiff and doesn’t allow feedback.

    Maybe what viewers are responding to is actually seeing the dismantling of all that by individual initiative and gumption. The family and servants in the show are pretty advanced socially for their time. They are the free thinkers, libertarians, and liberals of their day. The fitness bracelets of today don’t tie one down or distract — they give one a tool (if you choose to use it) to monitor oneself so you don’t have to be so conscious of it. Yes, a hard life of servitude would also guarantee sufficient exercise without having to monitor it but I’ll take modern freedoms and a bracelet any day over an Edwardian lack of choice. But I certainly agree with you on this: Don’t eat standing up! Everything in moderation means relaxing a little, too.

    Your post reminds me of the New Yorker cartoon of the two cave men talking: “You know, I don’t understand it. I breath only clean air, drink unpolluted water, and eat a paleo diet — BUT I’m still not going to live past 30!” We remember the good parts but it’s not the whole picture.

  4. Bonnie Cayer says:


    When I thought I would just drop by at a numerlogy workshop given by you in Orange County ten years ago, little did I know the experience would be a life changing event, a real game changer.

    Thank you Gail for opening my eyes and heart. I feel so fortunate to know you and I wouldn’t miss this life-time for anything.

    When the student is ready the teacher will appear.


    Bonnie Cayer

  5. Cathy Coultrip says:

    Thanks Gail you are a delight and appreciate your humor … hope all is wonderful in your world

    Thank you, Cathy

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