Just back from eight days at "the burn". This was my third year experiencing the place referred to as Black Rock City. A nowhere-ville in northern Nevada situated somewhere on a huge dry lakebed laden with nothing but dust that resembles talcum powder. I continue to ask myself why people trek out to this place in the middle of nowhere...deal with harsh conditions for days on end, stay dirty, do without showers and basically turn into beautiful, lovely, joyful smelly hippies for a week.
Well, I think I have a partial answer and it relates to the human condition and love itself.
To gain "membership" all must subscribe to the 10 principles of Burningman.
Radical Inclusion - Where all are welcome and accepted regardless of faith, religion, skin color, and nationality. It is a place where one can dance as they desire, dress as they desire and be who they desire. Love relationship? Love those around you for who they are...good, bad or indifferent.
Gifting - No money (other than for Ice and coffee and tea) is used. Gifting is a personal choice to give of oneself or something to another without expecting anything in return. Unselfish giving just because. Love relationship? Giving to another without expecting anything in return. An unselfish act of giving a piece of oneself to another...no expectations.
Decommodification - No labels, no sponsors, no brand names to define and separate ourselves. Love relationship? False idols should never be why we argue and divide ourselves. Attempts to find meaning in "things" only lead to disappointment. Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey". Love transcends possessions. Love lasts forever. Possessions are temporary.
Radical Self Reliance - One must be self reliant. One must provide for themselves and that includes water, clothing, shelter, and toothpaste. Love relationship? "You complete me". NOPE! One must complete themselves before bringing themselves into a relationship. Two complete people make a complete couple. Relying on another to do this for you is failure and only leads to disappointment and strife. Do the work, hone your skills, be the best you can be and offer that up to your partner. Be responsible for Y.O.U.
Radical Self Expression - Dress the way you want (or not at all) dance the way you want, party the way you want, be who you want. Love relationship? Among the entire universe we were created in a unique and different way than any other...and that was by design. If we were all the same that would be pretty boring. Be you...think what you want to think, stop letting institutions and other people define what you think, feel and act. You just need to be you, so do you.
Communal Effort - It takes more than one person to build a community. Everyone is involved with creating the art, the lights, the food, the experience which is Burningman. The people make the city. Love relationship? When it comes to love we don't stand alone. Love is nothing if another doesn't exist...so we look to those that we love to love us back. Being loved provides us with security in knowing we matter.
Civic Responsibility - Everyone is part of the community and has an obligation to contribute to the greater cause. The community does not exist without the individual and the individual contributes to the greater good. Love relationship? We cannot buy milk on good looks. It takes a civic responsibility to contribute to the status of the relationship and with those we love.
Leave No Trace - We arrived at nothing and we depart leaving no trace. Love relationship? We respect that both those we love and ourselves came into the relationship with nothing other than our purest feelings. No garbage, no agendas, no games...just our complete selves.
Participation - Everyone plays a part in making Burningman what it is. Without participation nothing becomes what it is supposed to become. Love relationship? Each of us must participate in loving one another. This takes action, not just words. Actively showing ourselves and those we love through our behavior that love is real. Actions are a cornerstone of love.
Immediacy - The time is now. Procrastination leads to apathy and inaction. One must create Immediacy and intention to engage with the rituals that define Burningman. Love relationship? We must not put off what we can and should do today. Saying what we should and want to say sooner rather than later. Letting the person we love know how and what we feel is critical to a healthy relationship. Don't put off until tomorrow what you should do today...tomorrow may never come.