Day Thirty-Nine: Community

I just spent the last 4 days in the jungle with a bunch of beautiful souls, all there to inspire one another.  There are few festivals in the world like Envision, with its predecessor Burning Man being the closest in spirit.  Burning Man has about 200,000 annual attendees, though; whereas Envision has about 7000.

In essence, the two share the same principles without serious intention of putting them into action.  These principles exist and are widely followed only because the type of people who are drawn to these festivals believe that living by the below principles is the best means for cooperation and mutual respect.  Envision and Burning Man are two festivals that create the space for the cultivation of community.  The festival grounds are built with the intention of giving people the environment to congregate around different discussion pieces, with many workshops to get the juices of inspiration flowing.

I will write about my personal experiences at the festival tomorrow; but for today, I want to share with anyone who has not been to Burning Man or does not know what are the 10 principles that evolved naturally from the community of people who congregate at spiritual festivals.  I invite you all to meditate on how these principles can be applied to our own communities to make them healthier and filled with vibrant participants.

The 10 Principles of Burning Man

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.

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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
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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