the 11 Principles

Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.

Because Spanky’s likes to go the extra mile, we’ve added the unofficial 11th Principle

Radical Inclusion

Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.


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.


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.

Radical Self-reliance

Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

the Eleventh principle... Consent

kirk spock consent
  1. For any sexual activity, consent must always be given. (This includes things like kissing and hugging).
  2. Denial of consent must be accepted.  If somebody continually badgers another person for their consent, that is harassment.
  3. Consent must be clear, enthusiastic, and with full mental capacity.  A person who is drunk, on drugs, or in any way impaired from full cognitive function is not able to give consent.  This applies to all parties actively involved in the sexual activity.
  4. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by anyone actively involved in sexual activity.  The withdrawal of consent must be graciously allowed and respected.  Nobody “owes you” an explanation.
  5. Consent must be given for each instance.  Just because somebody consented to a sexual activity with you in the past, it doesn’t mean you have “blanket consent” for anything in the future.
  6. Consent is also a one-place-only deal.  For example: Just because you’re having consensual fun in your tent, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to continue that fun outside the tent.
  7. Consent is never implied.  If others are engaging in semi-public sexual “scenes”, it is not an invitation for you (or anyone else) to join that scene in any way.  And being friends/acquaintances with someone does not constitute consent.
  8. If others seem to be joining into a “scene” without consent, you still may not join that scene
    1. Consent must be obtained by ALL parties.
    2. The scene may be a scripted performance, and consent was previously given to those participants prior to the start… unbeknownst to you.
    3. The act of somebody breaking the rules of consent is not an invitation for you to break the rules too… in fact, you should (tactfully) make sure that consent rules are not being broken.
  9. Nobody should ever be “forced” to view sexual activities.  However, if someone is in attendance at an event or establishment wherein these scenes are known to happen, the onus is on that person to exercise their freedom to not watch… or leave.
  10. Continuously and relentlessly asking different people at an event/establishment for their consent to do something sexual with you is not only rude and creepy… but it’s also a consent violation.  You need to work on your people/social skills.
  11. Known or suspected violations of consent should be reported to the person(s) running the event or establishment immediately.  Delaying the reporting of violations makes it more difficult to educate and/or accurately and justly punish those who break the rules.
  12. Violators of consent rules span all genders and sexual orientations.  Don’t assume that the problem only exists with one type of person.