10 Burning Man Principals for the Salesperson’s Day Off

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I’m back from La Playa, alive and well. This was my first year at Burning Man. That’s right, me and 68,000 other people gathered in the dusty hot Black Rock desert for some memorable adventures and soul strengthening moments.

MeI’m probably one of the few who didn’t do the drug, nude, and staying up all night scene and I still had an amazing and INSANE time.

Insanity Mainly because I went with an open heart and open mind, and I left with gifts of a lifetime I will never forget — and happy to share these gifts with anyone who is curious and who wants to BELIEVE in having new adventures.


Larry Harvey is one of the early founders of BM, and the 10 Principles of Burning Man he designed at least 15 years ago still hold true. Perhaps it will be the new religion when my little friend “Penguin” (that’s his Playa name) grows up.


Burning Man is of a sort of utopia. The Ten Principles provide a code of conduct that maintains an equality on the playa that is greater than anywhere else I know. While it is true that the rich and famous fly in to stay in RVs and enjoy private art cars to get around the playa, for the most part, celebrities and the wealthy at Burning Man mix it up and get as dusty as everyone else. We are all equal when we practice these 10 Principles. 

1. Radical Inclusion
Anyone can be part of  Burning Man. They can also be part of the art installations — which helps you “like” it much more. 


Hands2. Gifting          

There is no money being exchanged. Everything is gifted and the act of giving is unconditional. 

 3. Decommodification

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, the community creates social environments that do not include commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. Except for maybe the Post Office and TEDTalks. 

Post Office TedTalks

4. Radical  self-reliance

This is one of my favorites. It encourages us to discover, exercise, and rely on our inner resources. People make the most amazing art cars and decorate their bikes. 


FancyBike5. Radical self-expression

Each individual has a unique gift to contribute.  And it always tastes better after a big hug.

Hug Deli

6. Communal effort

The community collaborates on creative projects and everyone participates. This special concert by these amazing musicians who played on top of this van was amazing and very refreshing after listening to non-stop Dubstep music.


 7. Civic responsibility

“We value civil society,” Harvey advocated (2004). “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

This is the most fascinating part of this experience. You come leave the playa the way you found it. The community respects the environmentand is 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. The main burns are the Man and the Temple.

BM Structure

9. Participation
“Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic, and 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.”  I witnessed a marriage at sunrise in the Temple and the couple asked everyone there to participate in their union. 

Temple Sunrise


10. Immediacy

Be here now, be present. When no one has internet connection on La Playa, you get to watch the faces of people expressing themselves, listening, laughing, talking and not staring down at their smartphone screen.  

Amazing people

 How do I feel from all this? Am I “burned” out? Nope. 🙂 I feel blissful.

BlissfulMy favorite quote by Joseph Campbell:

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”


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9 Responses to “10 Burning Man Principals for the Salesperson’s Day Off”

  1. Bhella

    I went to Burning Man for the first time, too, and like you, rather enjoyed myself without the use of external chemical stimulants. 😉 I am excited to share your article because I find it quite challenging to explain Burning Man to anyone that hasn’t been before and doesn’t have friends that have attended previously. Thanks for your summary. Burn on, Baby! <3

    • Josiane Feigon

      So great to get your feedback and I agree, how do you begin to explain BM to people who have never been. Thanks for your great comment!

  2. Caelan Huntress

    Excellent perspective. It is only by overlapping our professional lives with the crazy, the unorthodox, and the unexpected that we can achieve a truly creative understanding of our career.

    • Josiane Feigon

      What an insightful comment Caelan- there must be a balance from our regimented right brain professional lives- I feel so much more appreciation for my contribution in the field after this rich experience.

  3. Peter Hubbard

    Thank you so much for this. It almost takes me there. Love your commentary and your determination.
    You are awesome. You did it! I’d like to join you next time. Burning Penguin Dust!

  4. lesley

    Josiane, It took me awhile to read, see, feel and believe. You took a risk; thus you believe in yourself. I believe in you too!


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