Burning Man is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
I’ve attend EDC, an annual 110k person party in Las Vegas.
I’ve traveled to Belgium to rage at Tomorrowland, a 15 stage global music festival.
I’ve partied in the wild streets of Bangkok, Thailand.
I’ve shuffled at club Amnesia in Ibiza, Spain….
… yet still, none of these events compare to Burning Man.
Burning Man is everything you want it to be and more. You create the experience. You choose which activity to join, or which art piece to interact with, or whom to mingle with. The book of activities are vast and creative to say the least, ranging from morning yoga lessons to afternoon tantric sex methodology sessions. The playa is decorated with interactive art installations – there is more art there than you can fathom! There are streets lined with endless bars less than 100 feet from each other. Your cup can always be filled, your stomach always full! No one goes thirsty nor hungry in this place.
Burning Man operates on a gifting economy, which is often confused with a “bartering” system. A gift doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive, a genuine hug can be exchanged as means of gifting gratitude. I carried a Polaroid camera and gifted instant photos to whomever I crossed paths with. Friends gifted: wine, brownies, gemstones, lavender scented potpourri bags, candy, and more. The only items that require money in this community are ice and coffee, everything else is essentially gifted and free of charge.
Burning Man is 100% judgment free, The best part about Burning Man is that it’s filled with 70k like-minded people who all journey into the middle of the desert to create a city that is unlike any other. They travel from all over the world to end up in Black Rock City, Nevada and endure the harshest weather conditions the desert provides. This art “festival” isn’t something you attend to simply observe as a viewer. Everyone is encouraged to participate through their self expression, but nothing is required of course. Participation includes: wearing funky clothes (or no clothes), smiling at folks passing by on their bikes, dancing to the music, keeping the playa clean by picking up after yourself and others.
There are 10 guiding principles that I’ve adopted from Burning Man and now abide by in my normal day to day life, that help me feel like I’m making a small positive difference in the world:
- Radical Inclusion – Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
- 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.
- 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.
- Radical Self-reliance – 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Burning Man is truly a one of a kind place – a place that allows people to connect on a more meaningful level, where everyone is viewed as equal to each other. No one cares about your social, economical, marital status in the scale of the world. No one cares if you’re a CEO of a high tech company, or if you make $12K per year. No one judges you if you decide to walk around naked, in fact, it is welcomed that you explore your sexuality and individuality. At Burning Man, we are a connected community with open hearts and open minds creating a powerful realm of positivity, fun, and love. We aspire to share this sense of community, knowledge, and newfound appreciation for life and humanity with others in the “normal” world.