Every year, we gather together with friends and family to make a pilgrimage to the BurningMan festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. For 2014, the theme of the festival is “Caravansary,” a place where groups of travelers stop to get supplies, exchange information, and interact with people from other cultures. For centuries, people traveled in groups called “caravans” because they were less vulnerable when they combined resources, shared expenses, and protected each other. A caravansary, or gathering of caravans, is an amazing place. Here we can freely exchange ideas and practical applications, expand our awareness of different cultures, and learn from everyone we meet.
The Cleu caravan makes our pilgrimage to the desert where our combined efforts create Black Rock City, a place where there is no trading or bartering, no buying or selling, just gift-giving and human interactions that are free of commerce. This is a temporary autonomous zone, a place where we can choose how to define ourselves, sharing and participating with others who are as free as we are. Sure, there is law enforcement in Black Rock City, reminding us that the world defined by counties, states, and federal government still has some authority. However, our collective creativity brings into being a city where most of us feel safer than anywhere else, where we feel more protected and supported than in any other city in the world.
Black Rock City is made up of many caravans, all converging in a single place, coming together with a shared intention: to give, to celebrate, to release, to enjoy! We follow the 10 principles of BurningMan: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy. We become bigger than ourselves when we join together in our Cleu caravan, and bigger than our own group when our caravan becomes part of Black Rock City. We share, support, and protect each other, and give freely of our time and energy to create a city that we want to live in.
When you contemplate the future, think about the road you are on. If you are traveling alone, look around to see who else is moving in the same direction. Form or join a caravan with others who share Cleu values. Go camping or do other things that require you to share resources and work cooperatively. Give your Cleu circle wheels, and let it roll! Envision all our caravans coming together as one great caravansary to imagine and create the infrastructure of a better world.