Burning Man Culture

An Experiment in Temporary Community

Because we are accustomed to a world shaped by institutions, service workers and commercial transactions, we may not even recognize the signs of true community. Here are a few of its indicators:

STORIES In universities, people know through studies. In businesses and bureaucracies, people know by reports. In communities, people know by stories.

CELEBRATION Community activities incorporate celebration, parties and other social events. The line between work and play becomes blurred. The human nature of everyday life becomes part of the way you work. You will know that you are in a community if you often hear laughter and singing.

CAPACITY Communities are built on the recognition of the unique abilities of every member. Commerce and the public service sector outside of Black Rock City define us on the basis of deficiency and need.

INFORMALITY In the community, transactions of value take place without money, advertising or hype. Care emerges in place of structural service.

COLLECTIVE EFFORT vs. CONSUMERISM Community is cooperative, uniting us as varied members of one body. By contrast, when we consume a service, we’re made passive.