King Benjamin's Virgin Burner Blog | The 10 Principles of Burning Man: Radical Inclusion & Gifting

June 28, 2017

(source: Wikimedia Commons) 

 

Alright y'all! We're only 60 days out from The Burn, so it's time to get down to business/pleasure!

 

We have about two months until we co-create this year's experience together-- just enough time to get all of our supplies gathered, brush up on our Burning Man philosophy, and coordinate our travel plans! 

 

 (10 Symbols of Burning Man designed by Wick to symbolize the 10 Principles.) 

 

THE 10 PRINCIPLES OF BURNING MAN

 

First things first: if we're interested in co-creating Burning Man with our fellow Burners, we need to know the 10 Principles under which we all create... 

 

The 10 Principles are a collection of shared values that unite our community. 

 

They include: 

1) Radical Inclusion

2) Gifting

3) Decommodification

4) Radical Self-reliance

5) Radical Self-expression

6) Communal Effort

7) Civic Responsibility

8) Leaving No Trace

9) Participation

10) Immediacy

**11) Consent

 

In this series, I'll be briefly exploring each principle to give a better understanding of what they mean and why they're so valuable to this experience, starting with... 

 

 (10 Symbols of Burning Man designed by Wick to symbolize the 10 Principles.) 

 

"Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community."--Larry Harvey, 2004

 

The principle of "Radical Inclusion" is incredibly important to the Burning Man experience for two reasons: first, it establishes our equality as participants, and it creates room for infinite possibility! 

 

EVERYONE HAS AN EQUAL RIGHT TO BURN!

 

Everyone is welcome at Burning Man. There's no screening process, no background check, no test. Any person of any nationality, citizenship, gender (or non-gender), economic class, education, language, wearing any clothing (or no clothing), loving any person they love, has the same right to the experience as anyone else. All are truly welcome. All are truly needed. 

 

This equal access, this inclusivity, is the foundation of our culture. It's the underlying principle that leads to the mutual respect, love and acceptance upon which all of our interactions are built. By eliminating the hierarchy of exclusivity, we invite ourselves to connect more freely, play harder, and take larger risks with one another, as equal players in this game. 

 

INCLUSION STARTS WITH EVERY INTERACTION! 

 

The intention of "radical inclusion" expands beyond just allowing anyone into the larger experience of "Burning Man" as a whole, but it also applies to each personal interaction we have with one another. We practice "radical inclusivity" with each person we meet. When we come up to someone we don't know, we choose to actively engage with them with an open heart, an open mind, and with respect. We seek to include them in our experience. 

 

This choice to include, to regard everyone as a friend and no one as the "other," creates an electric energy of trust, community and creativity that is essential to the Burning Man experience. 

 

INCLUSIVITY LEADS TO POSSIBILITY!

 

This value of inclusivity is also key to expanding the realm of possibility at Burning Man. Think of it this way: if Burning Man were to be exclusive, to restrict access to certain types of people, then everyone at Burning Man would lose access to the experiences, skills, creativity, abundance and energy that each of those people brings to the experience. By remaining open to everyone, the experience of Burning Man is crafted by the divine mechanics of chance and synchronicity, as opposed to a preconceived notion of who belongs and who doesn't (which is inherently limiting!)   

 (10 Symbols of Burning Man designed by Wick to symbolize the 10 Principles.) 

 

"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.."--Larry Harvey, 2004

 

A CULTURE OF ABUNDANCE

 

ABUNDANCE is everywhere at Burning Man, and this abundance is created by our shared value and joy of GIFTING... 

 

When we come to Burning Man, we're asked to not only bring enough resources to provide for ourselves, but also to bring extra resources to gift to our fellow Burners. 

 

This creates a surplus, an abundance, that flows freely between us all, allowing us to bypass the typical scarcity-based fears of our everyday lives and move on to the more loving ways we naturally interact when we trust that there is truly more than enough of everything for everyone. 

 

UNCONDITIONAL GIFTING

 

The key to gifting at Burning Man is that it must be completely unconditional.

 

We do not buy, sell, or trade. We only gift without any expectation of receiving anything in return, and we gift without expectation that the person has to receive our gift.

 

This allows us to interact with each other without the fear of an ulterior motive or undesired expectations. 

 

We offer our gifts only out of pure good will and love. You may take it or leave it, either way, the intention of sharing love is there. 

 

CREATIVE GIFTING

 

Gifting is not only essential to creating a culture of abundance, but it's also one of the greatest ways we can creatively participate and express ourselves at Burning Man. 

 

I am always blown away by how creative people are with their gifting. Beyond things like treats such as popsicles, cocktails, cotton candy, pickles, or 4-course gourmet meals, there's acts of service like haircuts, massage, counseling, or rides, and even fun experiences. 

 

 

MY TWO RECENT GIFTING GAMES

 

Two of my personal previous acts of gifting are called, "Letter from Your New Best Friend" and "The Key Is..."

 

With "Letter From Your New Best Friend," I'd walk around with pens, paper and envelopes. I'd ask people I'd meet to write a letter to someone they've never met, their "new best friend," and then put their name and camp address on the outside of the envelope. I'd then randomly choose people as I'd go about my day and walk up to them with the letter saying, "Hey! Your new best friend sent you this. They want you to go and find them!" knowing that this would lead to some fun future interaction that I'd never witness. 

 

For "The Key Is..." I took all of the old keys that I had in my junk drawer and spray painted them white. I'd wear them on my belt as I went about my day, and when I'd meet someone, I'd ask them to close their eyes and finish the sentence, "The key is..." I'd then write in permanent marker their answer on the key and gift it to them so they'd always remember what they said. 

 

THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN OFFER BURNING MAN IS YOURSELF

 

I'll wrap up this blog post by saying this: YOU are the greatest gift that you can possibly offer to anyone at Burning Man. Showing up fully and being present with each person, within each experience, offering the unique magic and point of view that only you can offer, is gift enough. 

 

Arriving at Burning Man can oftentimes be challenging. Between the budgeting, the time, the energy, the coordinating, etc., it can be a lot to get to The Playa. 

 

So THANK YOU. THANK YOU for putting in the time and energy to get there. I can't wait to experience the GIFT that is YOU this year. THANKS for SHOWING UP. 

 

With love, 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Benjamin

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