If I were to ask you to describe the first kiss you shared with the person you love most in the world, or let's say the experience of seeing the face of your child as the doctor lifted them from the womb, or maybe the time when you held the hand of your dying friend/family-member/partner as they took their final breath, or even perhaps the mind-bending occurance of subtleties like sun-rises across the ocean horizon, mountain skyline, city-scape, desert vista, grassland.... What is it you could say?  What words could possibly quantify your thoughts and sensations?

With any luck, scores of pages would (hopefully) beat around the bush enough to maybe extract an inkling of what these things could mean to us.

-Asking me, I'd say these things are something akin to smelling the color 28.

And that is Exactly the barrier that every person who has tried to equate Burning Man to an effable metaphor has run in to. Metaphor is something we use day in and day out to describe events and situations in our lives; with great effectiveness, no doubt. But it's in the things I've mentioned above that metaphor, tangential reference, and the like all utterly and fantastically fail. Even Burning Man critics do a piss-poor job of codifying the phenomena into an understandable synopsis. 

People are keen to asking, "what is it?" Such a question only initiates a slur of negations, because one can only assert what it isn't. I often assure people; "well, it's not a rave". And; "it's not a festival". 

"I hear it's a drugged-out party?"   - "Well, sometimes, in some places."

The metaphor they spell out on the website for the on-lookers and the crowds of the curious goes something like; "it's like describing color to someone who's never seen before". To be frank, that about nails it. 

60,000 people could try to answer what it is, and you would only be left with frustration and confusion from the 60,000 separate descriptions of what was said. So, whatever this experience holds in store for YOU, I suggest you be open. Resistance and friction can lead to progress, but closed doors and barracades will break. But maybe that's what you need. The results are up to you. So it's about time you ask yourself some serious questions, and see if you're up for smelling the sweet, sweet, colorful, numbers.