The 10 Principles of Burning Man
Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten 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.
- Radical Inclusion
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.
- Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
- Communal EffortRadical 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
1. ***READ the SURVIVAL GUIDE*** The Burning Man Survival Guide offers a wealth of information that is essential to your visit on the playa. It contains the official rules, practices, and culture of Burning Man, Leave No Trace principles, transportation information, directions, and more. This information is fundamental to the event and MUST be reviewed thoroughly.
2. Read and understand the 10 Principles of Burning Man. These principles are essential to the culture of Burning Man and will be heavily enforced while on the playa.
3. Subscribe and pay attention to the various informational pages to stay abreast of important news. The Huggzilla Camp Burning Man 2016 event page and the Huggzilla Community page provide information for the current burn. The Jackrabbit Speaks is the official Burning Man newsletter. These pages are how our community makes sure everyone is informed and able to fully participate.
4. Bring everything you need for your survival and comfort. You are responsible for your own supplies and basic needs. You must bring all of your own food, shelter, water, fuel, and anything else you need to be happy and healthy for at least one week in the middle of the desert. This includes any medications you may need to thrive under extreme conditions. If you aren’t sure what to bring, check out this Packing List, or ask the veterans in your camp discussion groups.
5. Assume full responsibility for your own health and safety. By participating in Burning Man you acknowledge that you are assuming any risk of serious injury or death. It is up to you to make sure this doesn’t happen. This means you must carry water with you at all times – consider a canteen or hydration pack. It means you must be careful when embarking and disembarking vehicles. It means you must wear lighting at night so that nothing runs into you in the dark. And it means showing good sense and restraint when consuming alcohol or other substances.
6. Properly secure all of your structures. Winds can reach a sustained 70mph on the playa and it is extremely important that you properly secure any structures you bring (this includes any size tent.) If you are going to put up any form of shade or shelter at Burning Man you must learn how to secure it properly so as to minimize the risks to others. Known dangers include: (1) the structure blows away and hits someone or becomes MOOP, (2) the rebar or stakes used to secure it impale someone, and (3) the guy lines or stakes trip someone. All of these risks can cause serious bodily injury and therefore should be taken seriously. It is important you learn about various structures used on the playa and safety measures such as using rebar toppers and illuminating stakes and guy lines. This will protect your shelter from having some idiot come tumbling through it in the middle of the night, and will also protect that idiot from being injured by your shelter.
7. NO money exchange. Black Rock City is a place of sharing and freely giving to the community with no expectation of receiving anything in return. This constitutes a Gift Economy which means you do not buy or sell anything. There are no on-site vendors selling anything and monetary transactions, consumerism, sponsorship, and advertising are shunned. The only exceptions to this rule are the approved RV sanitation vendors, coffee sales at Center Camp Cafe, and ice sales from Camp Arctica. The proceeds from coffee and ice goes to the local town of Gerlach.
8. Do not display or distribute commercial names, logos, banners, or promotional items. This includes the name and logo of your home business or the record label you run out of your bedroom. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or if your company donates to charities. Some people go so far as to remove the tags from their jeans and to cover the Ryder logo on the side of their rental trucks.
9. Leave No Trace. There is no garbage collection service at Burning Man. Everyone is required to remove all Matter Out of Place (MOOP) from Black Rock City. Leave No Trace means clearing ALL personal space and belongings before leaving the playa – if you brought it with you, you must pack it out with you. Own what’s yours!
10. PARTICIPATE! PARTICIPATE!! PARTICIPATE!!! Burning Man is meant to be experienced. Touch, climb, write, sing, dance, engage and interact with people and things. Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zones and you will reap tremendous rewards.
For preparation questions, see our Resources page. 🙂