Nobodobodon, or “Nobody” for short, is one of the Texas Burn community’s most opinionated members. After a lot of discussion, debate, and contemplation he created an alternate form of Burning Man’s Ten Principles. Below you will find Nobody’s 7 Burner Principles, sometimes called the “6.5 Principles” because the first one leads directly into the remaining six.
Genuine Self-Expression — Our events are intended to foster an environment in which we are free to express our true, inner selves, instead of what is expected or imposed by outside factors. We express ourselves through art, music, volunteerism, gift-giving, and in honest social interactions. We foster this open and honest self-expression at our events in a number of ways:
Participant-created Events — Our events are not created by organizers presenting paid performers to paying spectators. Our events are created by all attendees, and all attendees are expected to contribute something to the creation of the event, whether that’s volunteerism, art, performance, gifting, even organization, or all of the above.
Non-objectification — Genuine interactions between people occur when we treat each other as people. We will not reduce ourselves, our gifts, or our expression to commodities to be bought and sold for money, for social status, or for a “notch on the bedpost.” Gifts are given freely, with no expectation of compensation or other gifts in exchange.
Self-reliance — Self-reliance is crucial to self-expression. The more of your basic needs that are met by others, the more you cede to them your authority to choose how you express yourself. The organizers of the event provide the minimum services and structure to keep the event legal and sustainable, and to promote these values. Everything else must be provided by participants.
Civic Responsibility — Civic Responsibility ensures that other participants are able to express themselves. All participants strive to find a balance so their self-expression doesn’t interfere with the self-expression of any other participants. Additionally, participants seek to help keep events sustainable by volunteering, cleaning up after themselves, and assuming personal responsibility for conducting themselves in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
Inclusion –– We seek to express ourselves honestly to all other participants regardless of differences in their background, experiences, and tastes. The only prerequisite for participation in any of our events is an honest effort to abide by our principles and guidelines. This is not just a gate policy, it’s a mindset by which we foster one another’s self-expression.
Immediacy –– The most genuine interactions between individuals occur when both parties are present in the moment, focusing on what is occurring as it unfolds. Much of the art at our events is not intended to outlast the duration of the event. Recording the sights and sounds of the event is less important than living the experience firsthand.
Eventually Nobody refined these principles even further, realizing that the essence of many of them could be combined. This led to the Three Principles currently used by Burning Flipside, the largest Texas regional event.
I recently asked him for more thoughts on Burner Principles and Burning Man community philosophy. You’ll find what he had to say below.
This is part of A Burner Lexicon’s ongoing series on the Ten Principles of Burning Man. Got an opinion on one or all? Get in touch with the lexicographer by using the comments or the contact information at the top of this page.
Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at https://kitoconnell.com/lexicon/