In 1986, a guy went down to a beach with some friends and burned a stick figure.
They had no way of knowing then how many lives they would change.
The following year, they did it again. And again. After a few years, they moved this thing–whatever this thing is–to a boundless, featureless desert.
He and his friends had ups and downs. They had problems and triumphs. One problem they did not have was a lack of popularity. This thing had struck a chord with people. A lot of people. People who knew that we should take ourselves less seriously. People who wanted to make the world weirder. People who understood that your worth as a person has nothing to do with what you can buy. And people who urgently wanted the community of other people who believed the same things.
In 1998, regional burns brought these ideas to people in other places—people who had never been to Burning Man and might never go. Today there are regional burns on every continent (even Antarctica), hundreds of them, that are not so much parties or festivals or family reunions or company picnics as they are the physical manifestation of a community’s ideals.
And today, the guy who started all this died. It is a testament to the power of these ideas and the strength of this community that we will only pause a moment to doff our Stetsons in respect before we push forward at a slightly unreasonable pace to keep doing this thing we do.
Thank you, Larry.