10 Principles of Burning Man

Midwest Burners guiding principles are based on the 10 Principles of Burning Man. As mentioned on the Burning Man website: “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.

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

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

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.

The 11th Principle: Consent

Over the years, as the international and regional burn communities have developed, many have added Consent to the list of principles guiding their events. Given the freedom of self-expression in our spaces, sometimes participants may be tempted to extend that sense of freedom to others’ personal space, intentionally or unintentionally interfering with the enjoyment and safety of their burn.

Consent is not up for interpretation. In our community, consent is a binary choice. It is either an unequivocal “yes” and anything else is not consent. Silence is not consent. “Maybe” is not consent.

Get consent before touching anyone and this includes hugging. Get consent before using anything that is not yours. Get consent before touching any property that is not yours. If in doubt, always ask “May I please…?”

Engaging with a participant who does not consent, especially one in which the non-consensual behavior is assault, violence, abuse or somehow unwanted is always against the rules.

Depending on the nature of the non-consensual behavior, your burn could end with eviction by Event Coordinators and Rangers, possibly in your arrest by law enforcement, and you could be forbidden from attending Midwest Burners events in the future.

The Principles Office
Midwest Burners created The Principles Office to provide a known, safe, and transparent process for the reporting of a violation of consent in our community. Learn more about the Principles Office.