The 10 Principles
Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the 10 Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.
THE TEN PRINCIPLES
"Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community."
"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."
"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."
"Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Several Burns have adopted Consent as an additional principle. This expression is from Blazing Swan:
"Respect the autonomy of the individual: every person has the right to make decisions about their own body, property, and personal space. What you see as a gift might be a curse if it is unwelcome (or unwanted), so when giving a gift, entering someone’s personal space, taking a photo or video, or using someone’s property, ask permission first. Only proceed if there is consent between all parties.
Do not ever assume that you have consent based upon what a person is wearing or how they are acting. Consent must be mutual, definite, and given consciously, and persons are free to change their mind at any time. Remember that consent for one act does not imply consent for all acts, and consent given once does not mean that you have consent every time. No always means no"
Each One Teach One
From AfrikaBurn: "As a self-reliant community, we believe the responsibility of spreading our culture lies with each and every one of us. All of us are custodians of our culture – when the opportunity presents itself, we pass knowledge on."
ACTIVATING THE PRINCIPLES
- Element 11 have a '10 Principles Education Passport'. Theme Camps elect to sponsor a particular principle, and participants visit them, are educated, and hove their passport 'stamped'. A full set of stamps is rewarded.
Describes the process of incorporating the principles in the rules of each Burn. For example some Burns require that company logos on trucks are covered up or disguised. Other Burns exclude vehicles from their environs altogether, noting that vehicles carry their own commodity labels.
Many Burns have explicit rules about 'what will get you expelled' from the Burn, and usually cite any attempt to sell or commercialize transactions at the Burn.