Once a year, on Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever. Burning Man is also an ever-expanding year-round culture based on the Ten Principles (seem familiar anyone? Moses saw a burning bush and received tablets with Ten Commandments…just sayin’ New Age is very Old Age)
1. Radical Inclusion Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
2. Gifting Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
3. Decommodification In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
4. Radical Self-reliance Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
5. Raducal Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
6. Communal Effort Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
7. Civic Responsibility We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
8. Leaving No Trace Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
9. Participation Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
10. Immediacy Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
THIS BLOG POST WAS WRITTEN AS A PUBLIC SERVICE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE READ STASHES AND WONDERED WHAT THE HECK THE “BURNING MAN” FESTIVAL IS?
FYI: the STASHES protagonists, Jackie and Steve Breeden, don’t ‘get it’ any more than you do now. They just know that they made profits needed to get home sweet home! That was their Lone Principal, though they did some slightly unprincipled things to do it.
Midwesterners are not ‘Monkey Chant’ people. Nor am I. (refer back to my Woodstock blog post. I don’t like mud and muck)
What chant should we create? How about ‘Boomers Unite’!