Burning Man 2013 – Cargo Cult

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The theme for this year’s Burning Man is cargo cult. It’s an interesting theme considering the nature of it’s gifting community and total lack of commercial venues. I’m leaving on my vacation tomorrow – with my family! It’s kind of unique to be on the playa with family – but it really does make for a fun family get together.

cargo cult is a kind of Melanesian millenarian movement encompassing a diverse range of practices and occurring in the wake of contact with the commercial networks of colonizing societies. The name derives from the apparent belief that various ritualistic acts will lead to a bestowing of material wealth (“cargo”). – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

Burning man has 10 guiding principles:

  1. Radical Inclusion – Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Radical Self-reliance: Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Recently a new movie, called “Spark” was made about Burning Man. I thought they did a great job of capturing the core team that has been focused on the project for over 20 years. It also follows the transformational process of a few participants. Totally worth seeing if you have ant interest in Burning Man!

Categories: Creative Inspiration

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