Philosophical Center

A shared philosophy permeates every aspect of Burning Man culture. This ethos is the living heart of our community, our conscience and our collective memory. Outlined in the Ten Principles but more fully revealed in our actions, it informs all that we do. For our culture to survive and flourish we must continually work to nourish these core values.

We refer to this ongoing mission of stewardship and scholarship as the Philosophical Center — its mission is to foment discourse that examines the Ten Principles. The motto that guides this is a quote by William James, “Belief is thought at rest.”

In collaboration with writers and thinkers from the Burning Man community, Chief Philosophical Officer (and Burning Man Founder) Larry Harvey launched a blog series in late 2013 exploring the nuances and implications of Burning Man’s Ten Principles, designed to stimulate discussion and create a wider context for understanding these core values.

Additionally, some of Harvey’s early writings and interview footage from Burning Man’s formative years were unearthed and published as part of our web redesign project, offering valuable historical perspective on the evolution of the culture and its ethos.

Harvey also addressed audiences concerning Burning Man’s history, philosophy, and future prospects at events including a conference at London’s Southbank Centre, a talk on long-term thinking at San Francisco’s Long Now Foundation, and a leadership discussion with U.S. Navy officers hosted by the Chief of Naval Operations.