The Tree of Knowledge Philosophy

“He who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me” — Thomas Jefferson

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The project is a community performance; a collaborative ritual. Our Tribe, and we hope the broader Burning Man community, will undertake to illustrate– literally, to illuminate– the magic of sharing knowledge, though the rich symbolism of sharing light.

With this project, we want to remind people that knowledge is magic.

We mean this is several senses:

Knowledge is magic because magic is, indeed, merely a lack of knowledge.

For a long time, the wonders of nature were a mystery to us. Everything was ‘magic’ because it could not be understood.

Over time, ‘science’ has progressively taken over the ‘magic’ surrounding our life; today, most of the what was regarded as ‘magic’ is explained by scientific theories. Yet, the modern man is just as ignorant as before: even though we believe in ‘science’, we are still living in a world that we are unable to comprehend. Knowledge is controlled by scientists, the ‘wizards’ of our time. Only the free dissemination of knowledge can ensure that the wonders of science and technology will no longer be shrouded in mystery.

With the Tree of Knowledge, we propose to build a mysteriously glowing tree. The magical spectacle of people picking bioluminescent fruit draws people into a conversation about the underlying science:

…With this project, we want to use magic in order to create knowledge.

Magic, at its best, is the intentional invocation of wonder.

Magic is about transformation– of the world and of oneself. And so knowledge is magic in these senses, as well.

With this project we represent knowledge with organic light. We seek to represent, with light, the ways in which knowledge spreads. And maybe– if successful– to invoke a bit of wonder…

…With this project, we aim to use knowledge in order to create magic.

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