Radical Self-reliance

Radical Self-reliance

Through Self-reliance, to Leadership

“Radical, the word, also means whatever is deeply situated in our nature, what is innate, what is soulful, what is interior.”

~ Larry Harvey, Founder, “Why the Man Keeps Burning,” The Long Now Foundation, October 2014


An estimated 13,000 Burners summoned Radical Self-reliance and relied on experiential knowledge to bring a beautiful Burning Man event to life in the Black Rock Desert. Exuberant to be together again, they built a vibrant community, complete with a magnificent temple and drone Man.

“It was as if the Burners grew up and left home this year. They could look mom and pop in the eye and say, ‘We got this.’”
– John Curley, writer & photographer, “Plan B Gets an A,” Burning Man Journal

“One thing that Burn Week taught me was that I could ‘get out my shell’ while still being able to be me. While working the God Phone for my camp, I got to talk ethics and philosophy (which are two of my favorite things to teach) while chatting with complete strangers (which is something I’m afraid of doing). I always had trouble liking ‘me,’ but Burning Man pointed me towards a ‘me’ who I now really really like.”
– Aaron Singleton, 2021 Black Rock Desert Burner


On Burn Night, two effigies rose simultaneously in the Black Rock Desert. A radiant drone Man towered over the desert event; and a wooden Man stood at the center of a quiet ceremony on Fly Ranch. Wherever YOU were in the world, effigies were celebrated and consumed in fire. You knew what the moment called for, and what to do. You built towering constructions and matchstick men, digital effigies and deep woods structures. Then you raised their arms and cheered as they erupted in flames, bringing closure to The Great Unknown.


As with any desert Burn or Regional Event, 2021’s event in the Black Rock Desert held space for those who needed to commemorate loss and transition. The Temple of Intentions came to life spontaneously, and was released in a beautifully improvised ceremony. Participants dismantled the temple and burned it piece by piece in 10 cauldrons.

As the burn began, experience told the crowd what to do: step up and hold the burn perimeter.

“Burners know how to hold fire. They’ve had so many years of practice, right? Everyone just kind of knew what to do, and it emerged without yelling or leadership. It just started to flow and it was really fascinating… It was, for me, very fun to watch the citizens step into the agency of their citizenship.”

~ Monera Mason, Temple of Intentions crew member