Podcast 134 – “Sex and Social Control, Tantra and Liberation”


Guest speaker: Daniel Pinchbeck


Daniel Pinchbeck delivering his 2007 Palenque Norte Lecture at the Burning Man Festival[NOTE: The following quotes are by Daniel Pinchbeck at the Playalogue he led on August 29, 2007 at the Burning Man Festival. This Playalogue was held in the big yurt at the PodCluster in Black Rock City.]

“I think there is a lot of evidence that suggests we’re in this kind of very critical sort of evolutionary window for the human species.”

“I really do feel that one of the critical things that is happening at Burning Man is a kind of conscious and subconscious interrogation of gender and sexuality.”

“What we have to consider is that if sexuality is this infinite spectrum, and everybody is highly unique in their sexuality, then to just have a social construct of monogamy is going to lead to a lot of anger, and frustration, and hostility.”

“In a lot of non-Western tribal cultures there is a kind of like a basic happiness that people have. Our culture is all about the pursuit of happiness, but at the core there’s a basic, kind of, general sense of insatiability and unhappiness.”

“I don’t think that the nuclear family is the natural model, or good model, for raising a child. I think, actually, the tribal community is the proper model.”

“And I think one question is really like is there a fixed human nature. And if there isn’t a fixed human nature, which I think is quite possible, then we can kind of reconfigure relationship patterns, relationship models, in almost any way.”


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Posted in Burning Man, Culture, Daniel Pinchbeck, Family, Playalogue and tagged , , , , .

One Comment

  1. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=271

    I sense the combining of these two topics, Sex, Tantra, etc with the true nature of shamanism being unconditional love, thought provoking. And Matt’s underlined statements that if the shaman throws the poison darts out he can expect an equal and returning force.

    I think of myself blazing, keeping the balance because any awkward tilt towards “good” or “bad” brought an equal returning force of both and their opposites.

    I remember my ex-brother-in-law spitting out poison words years ago during a family discussion, “You know when it comes down to it, all I care about is my own wife and child, the rest of you be damned”. And then how this phrase echos in my mind when I compare the “United” States success in creating a powerful economy thru unfettered capitalism with the sucess of socialism in Europe and Scandinavia these years. Maybe the dog-eat-dog competition to outdo one’s neighbors with the most-envied, new, shiny gas guzzler sitting in the driveway, creates a winner because, in the end he who dies with the most toys, wins. Does this poison dart return? I think of the media’s forgiveable goal of just making money thru sensation and its unintended consequense of promoting fear between blacks and whites, lower and upper classes, gays and straights, males and females; to the effect of drawing our attention away from the real causes for concern: nuclear war, war crimes, global warming, unfettered fascism, etc. The greed-is-good poison darts being thrown out by fascist empires, returning spot on. Poor education, inferior health care, 2 million stuffed in jail cells. Many on small drug offenses.

    I once heard that when faced with the problem of the murderous, endless conflict between the Pakestanis and Indians, that, Ghandi said in a small voice, he knew of a solution to this hideous problem. That would be for each tribe to exchange children at birth. Yes, could an Indian family really despise this divine new life in their care? So it is that I think of the first groups of human cave dwellers who lived without a code of civiliztion. Orgies around that cave campfire. No need to know who fathered who, since, no one even knew why women became pregnant. No nuclear family just the tribe and its survival. I becomes we.

    Now, I don’t really advocate outlawing monogamy or exchanging children. I do remember living in a commune where one was discouraged from pair-bonding too exclusively. Unfettered Capitalism vs. Socialism? OneWorld vs. dart-throwing Nationalism? I feel-think this.

    I feel-think the various Buddist manifestations of the GodSelf shown legs entwined masculine and feminine halves of the same deity in one pulsing sexual congress.


    tree wisdom
    I think you expressed the sentiments well, Llama2! As I heard Daniel’s lecture, I also got a strong sense of how the isolated nature of nuclear families really wasn’t helping us all feel like part of a greater whole. If I were raised by not only my mother and father, but every adult in my neighborhood, I would feel much more enmeshed with the community. No more anonymity, and less feelings of separateness.

    Postmodern Times has a new episode up at


    In the Tipping Point, founder and president of MAPS, Rick Doblin,

    goes over the history of the radical cultural and political changes

    that happened during the 60’s. What are the lessons we can learn

    from what happened then, and how do we apply it to our world today…


    “The deed creates the doer”


    “You can’t better the world by simply talking to it. Philosophy to be effective must be mechanically applied.” – Buckminster Fuller

    I don’t know but this log shows what happens when people of one mindset come to think their way is more preferable to others. Blaming people who disagree with you by claiming they have been socially conditioned against your way, just fails in so many ways. It’s insane. When people say, let’s take what we’ve learned and bring it to the world. I guess that much what the main speaker said just seemed like “bullshit.” But perhaps much of what I would say if I had to blather on at event would seem the same, so maybe it’s not fair.

    When he talks about building a tribal identity, and then says’ we’re just “not there yet” when a real human asks for help from the tribe, and finds none because they’re NOT a tribe of people in the way that real tribes are. The girl with the child asking for help wasn’t finding it because she’s not really in a tribe. And I know Lorenzo won’t like my next statement, but she and many people in our society do find the help that a “tribe” gives within many, many organized religions. There are many church groups within modern liberal societies where help raising children not only exists but is a big part of what makes those churches function and remain cohesive. So, some of the “tribal” desires that were talked about ALREADY EXIST in traditional Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim religion/social structures.

    More than anything, I see the “Burning Man” tribe, the Deadhead/Phish tribe, the Rainbow Tribe, as all people seeking to RECREATE THE SOCIAL WHEEL. Social wheel(s) I find very enjoyable, spiritually inviting/enlightening, but only when taken in small doses. My journey relative to the psychedelic experience is more along the lines of Rainbow folks of the 80s and early 90s. Toward the mid-90s, I left all psychedelic communities primarily because the feeling/vibe/reality of the gatherings changed. Ironically, I saw technology ruining the experience I loved, an experience that best happens 3 hours walk from the nearest toilet.

    People started bringing jam-boxes, and more and more Deadheads goths basically had started making up the “head space” and the loving-spiritual-praying-hippie spaces shrank. I viewed at the time DeadHeads as too capitalistic/materialistic/beggaristic. That’s why the Garcia wife tape was so precious. There seemed be much less BS in her talk. Things changed….

    and during most of the year I prefer NOT to be a in non-traditional “tribe.”

    However, I find many communities smothering for many of the reasons Nietzsche puts forth in Thus Spake Zarathustra. I’m 15 years into what has been an amazing marriage. However, the pressures of raising a child, make what was amazing in the marriage prior to the child, very, fundamentally different. Having a community to help us with our child has been helpful, and allows us to renew ourselves instead of being exhausted.

    Just my two cents,


    Wow, I really loved the person who came on after Daniel. He was much more on-point and real in his discussion of “power.” We’re all becoming creators and have to take responsibility for what we create. How can you disagree with that? To me that is wisdom, and it’s applicable to everyone who is “conscious” about what they are doing. Now, I love the unconditional love comment, but I haven’t a clue what a shaman really is, having read so many new age books, and just seeing different perspectives, I”m not sure there is a “shaman” definition different than what various people who call themselves “shaman” do. It’s like the differences between all the ideologies/doctrines/dogmas/spiritual-stuff. People have to experience things themselves. When i say it’s “unconditional love” im being too general, but the meme I’d like to take a ride on is…

    us becoming creators, and taking responsibility for what we create.

    I’d like to hear more on that, and maybe less on the power trip stuff.

    Zoy7 – I got to go look. I met Zoy at a Rainbow Gathering many many years ago, and he was funny as hell, and laughed and laughed saying there was no effect from whatever he’d eaten. Uncontrollable laughter all around, if he’s the same guy who was wearing big yellow rainboots, at the top of the hill, warning all who would listen of the coming flood. He was so funny. Can’t wait to listen and find out if he’s the same guy.

    Keep up the good work y’all.


    Here’s a new McKenna link with good visuals. And on topic here.


    Thanks for giving Matteo a chance to respond at the end. I was interested as to where that line of thought would go.

    Also: I forgot about that Nick Sand talk. I did listen to it quite a while back, it was one of the first of your programs I listened to, in fact, and it just blew me away. Thanks for reminding me.

    There’s a good article about Burning Man in The Guardian newspaper, here.

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