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A Burner Lexicon: Communal Effort

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, Burning Man, and Guest Bloggers

Year-round events help support and strengthen community bonds. San Francisco Decompression, 2005. Photo by Brian Tobin.

Communal Effort, Burners gather to spend a week or long weekend together living as freely as possible. Participation in theme camps, event infrastructure, and other shared activities forms strong social bonds that Burners are loath to relinquish when they return to the default world.

Communal Effort takes the connections made at a transient event and turns them into a full-time community. Burning Man itself maintains a network of regional contacts, and enclaves of anywhere from dozens to thousands of Burners have formed in almost every part of the world. In addition to regional events, parties, gatherings, and other social occasions are commonplace. Burners create businesses partnerships, relationships, and communal households together. Connections are maintained at a distance through use of Internet forums like EPlaya, and Burner groups are found on almost every social site from FetLife to LinkedIn. Some Burners have recently co-opted a phrase from the queer community: We Are Everywhere!

The gift economy itself contributes to community building because finding anything you need is a matter of knowing who and how to ask; the most involved Burners tend to become experts at social networking. Those who have accumulated enough whuffie through participation can call on their community for assistance with anything from finding housing to lifesaving supplies or funds in the aftermath of a personal disaster.

See also: Decompression, Church Night.

The lexicographer recently turned his experience as volunteer content editor for Burning Flipside into a paying gig in the default world, just one example of how communal effort has concrete results in Burner’s lives.

The lexicographer has been soliciting opinions from other thoughtful Burners on the Ten Principles. Below you will find another opinion, but more are still welcomed. Use the contact information at the top to send your thoughts.

If you’re going to That Thing in the Desert, remember to bring back catch phrases and slang for A Burner Lexicon (!

BRANDON is the writer behind the Burning Log, a source of often sarcastic Burner opinion. He wrote:

This one’s easy enough. Don’t be a dick and help out here and there.
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