10 Principles Lost: Dissolution of our Foundation

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.

The 10 Principles were drilled into me when I first came into the community and I adopted them whole-heartedly. As a camp and community leader it is vital I embody these, but is the meaning of these being diluted with the ever growing commercial access of TTITD?

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

  • QB: exclusion is something we as a community know well as being excluded and a large part of the LGBTQAI population consider themselves MARGINALIZED in society. This is one of the Principles that holds an extremely important characteristic we  value and are attracted to.

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.

  • QB: Gifting is not Bartering. Accepting a gift with kindness and appreciation without expectation of exchange is also a key part of this Principle.

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.

  • QB: This is about taking the commercial and mass marketed part of products out of the experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

  • QB: Do not be a “Sparkle Pony” – come to the burn prepared to survive long enough to not die.
Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.
Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.

Radical 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.

  • QB: “Don’t dream it, be it…” – Dr Frankenfurter

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.

  • QB: Some camps have this down like a fine art, some camps seem to be struggling with getting people rallied to make a camp happen. It seems that the larger the event gets, the more accessible by the bucket list crowd, the more attendees are looking at theme camps as hotels for the weekend where everything is set up for their pleasure. Getting some people engaged is a struggle while some get very motivated participants.

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.

  • QB: Part of this is the responsibility of the camp to provide an attraction for the city residents. It includes making sure that our spaces and streets are safe and clean. In fact there is a lot that falls under this umbrella. I think some camps are not evolving and working on making their presentations fresh for the years as they progress.

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.

  • QB: Pack it in and Pack it out… if you bring it with you take it with you when you leave. LNT is vital for camps and individuals and is perhaps one of the most abused and bruised Principles on the list. e.g.:
    • ever see the trash left along the side of the road on your way out of burning man?
    • campers who dump their excess on follow campers and leave without taking any trash with 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.

  • QB: We have layers of community and it is important that each one supports the other with near seamless lines. From our group of friends, our camps, our queer neighborhood and the city at large.

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.

  • QB: That means now. Your team needs to get a goal accomplished that means that people are needed to spring into action.

EVERYTHING IN RED IS  a copy / paste from http://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/

EVERYTHING in Gray is written by the author/presenter: Toaster

Depending on where you are in this community of Burning Man participants you might see the 10 Principles and how they can be applied. As camp leaders, community leaders or individual participants perspective is perhaps very different.

I think we are in trouble of loosing some very important ties to the 10 Principles in the wake of a tourist/festival mentality that is filtering into a culture that many of us have really opted into. As a camp builder and community leader, I personally see a lot of holes that participants are not filling in while leaders scramble to make up the difference.

Some leaders are really good at reaching into the assets of the community and asking for, selecting people, that are perfect for filling those spaces where someone is needed. On one hand it might seem like a lack of immediacy and civic responsibility when that volunteer is asked for, but on the other hand I hear participants say “I’ve done my share.”

Another area I think we are loosing ground is in the area of LNT. Leave No Trace is a case for the environment and the ability of our community to show we are reducing our impact on the very precious land we gather upon. This is something that has a point of view as well.

As a camp leader and community leader we often see participants unconsciously leaving their footprint on people in those roles. While it is not seen as a direct assault on the idea of LNT the importance of a camp leader is to get that green and hopefully the entire camp can feel proud about getting that green on the MOOP map.

Campers departing from the event often abandon furniture, food or other items with the assumption that someone else will take care of it. This is the biggest complain heard by camp leaders year after year. It takes the community minded collective to see the project from built to breakdown and leaving the space clean upon departure.

The real answer is Acculturation Training. While it will come from a variety of perspectives having a clear understanding of the 10 Principles and how they apply to the burn experience on and off the playa is the key to success in the culture.

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