Guiding Principles

The community is guided by 10 principles of Burning Man - radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy. These principles are not the rules - they are the guidelines for how we, as a community, can build the world and ourselves.


Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network, in 2004. 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.

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.

We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavour to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

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

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.

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 endeavour, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

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 resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change 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.

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

Immediate experience is 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. No idea can substitute for this experience

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.