At Burning Man a few years ago (3?), there was an art installation way out in the middle of the playa, away from everything else in the expansive desert. It was a chair with a pole standing next to it, and hanging from a hook on the pole was a set of headphones. I sat in the chair and put on the headphones, and through them came the barrage of self-depreciating messages, in alternating male and female voices.

“You’re boring.”
“Your body is ugly.”
“You’re a fake.”
“Who would ever like you?”

I listened for maybe five minutes, feeling the familiarity of many of the invectives. When I felt done, I lifted the headphones away… and was amazed by the *silence*. THAT seemed to be the gift of the art piece — the experience of taking the headphones off and coming back to real, sensory experience, beyond the evaluative and judgemental mind…

Advertisements