Member 54
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Michael C. (M, 51)
Hawaii, US
Immortal since Mar 20, 2007
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    10 Principals for Planet Earth

    One of the most important aspects of the Burning Man experience & experiment, is not just the event itself, but more importantly, what your bring back and integrate into your life the rest of the year, into your personal sphere & communities.

    Today I recieved an email newsletter from Burning Man, which listed it's 10 core principals of the event, city & civic community.

    I have always felt that these same principals could be applied liberally (& joyfully) to the planet at large. So I thought I would share them with you below, (replacing 'Burning Man' with 'Planet Earth')

    "Be the change you want to see in the world" – Gandhi


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

    Planet Earth 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, planet Earth 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
    Planet Earth encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

    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.

    Communal Effort
    Planet Earth 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.

    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.

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    reubensandwich     Sun, Aug 10, 2008  Permanent link
    How long have they had these principles?

    I hear that Burning Man presently is only a shade of what it used to be, too big for its own good, good ideals which have been commercialized, etc. Then again, I've never been to it. Wanted to go this year but a friend who went last year said don't bother. Can I get a second opinion?
    Xarene     Mon, Aug 11, 2008  Permanent link
    Second Opinion: Go once, but not for sight-seeing of what is going on and what people are not wearing, but to see what you can offer to a creative community. Get involved with a Camp and make something happen. After that one-time visit, don't bother. The second time plus ain't magical; you'll be disappointed.

    Counterform, Thank you for the list; I tend to trash Jack Rabbit Speaks the instant it hits my inbox. I guess once in a long while it has something worthy. BM was created on beautiful ideals for a community, a sort of Utopia to escape to for one week or more, and which it's mood and experience would follow you into the real world for months to follow. Sadly too much of the real world has infiltrated BM (ie. ticket prices, over-Rangered (Rangers are the Police of BM), too many rules and regulations imposed by BM itself—which sadly many people need, but getting busted for drugs??—and too many yuppie spectators with expectations).
    Counterform     Thu, Aug 14, 2008  Permanent link
    To Reubensandwhich :
    One piece of advice... don't let anyone else's experience or opinion, supplant your own. There is no greater evidence than direct experience. So yes, go, and experience for yourself, and try not to have expectations. Go with an open mind + heart, and I greatly suspect you will find bliss, or something of value to yourself. There are always those who bemoan that BM was so much better 'back in the day', etc etc.. However, I think they truly miss the point. BM is an experiment in creating a social/civic community, where the only commodity, is the act of giving, personal expression and art. Its about being wholly interesting & wholly interested. When I went my first time, I was rather cynical about it, and wasn't really interesting in going, & thought the scene wasn't for me. But a good friend thankfully twisted my arm, and I was proven very wrong in my naive assumptions.

    In about a week, I will be heading out to the playa again, this will be my 7th year. And this year I'm on an art crew for Kate Raudenbush. Ever year is different, and has it's own particular tone, yet something also threads through. As I said, it is an experiment. An emergent system, which is slowly finding it's way... like an inspired child, constantly evolving, scaling, and reaching for new ways to be. And the core principals that this post was about are integral to it's growth. How far can this experimental city go while keeping to these principals? To me, that is something to really get excited about, to experience, and to bring the learnings back into the 'default world'.

    Another related post if your interested.

    To Xárene :
    Thanks for your post. Though for me, BM is not a one time thing. It's principals and values are too important to not keep at it, and see where the experiment goes. Rising ticket prices are a small price, and I feel worth every penny. As the ticket's increase, so to does the amount of money BM pours back into the local community @ Gerlach, back into art grants, and Burners without Borders, etc. These are successful flows of commodity & value creation. This is how a system should go about.. slowly scaling, adapting, evolving, and re-generating. Cradle to cradle design. Yes there are rules & constraints, but as a design system, there must be. As for drugs etc, that's a result of the current state of gov't drug policies, not BM. So let's change the policies!

    And your right, there are those who come and just observe, and maybe not truly get the spirit of the experiment. But you know, just to have the experience, just perhaps these yuppie scum you talk of, will go back into their worlds with a slight change in consciousness and smile on their face. In fact, they probably should go more than anyone else. It's about inclusiveness... everyone should be able to go & experience BM. There is no US vs. THEM. We are all worthy of a better way of playing this game we call humanity. And Burning Man is one hell of a way to play the game.

    - peace/love/progress,