3 Things: The Collected Wisdom of Burners at Burning Man 2013

Imagine that I handed you a microphone; when you speak into it, the whole world can understand and hear you at the same time.  You can make 3 statements. What would you say?

I posed this question to people I met at Burning Man 2013. Here are their answers:


_DSC2620 _DSC3723 _DSC3702 _DSC3327 _DSC3315 _DSC3296 _DSC3251 _DSC3101 _DSC3085 _DSC3040 _DSC3032 _DSC3018 _DSC3007 _DSC2927 _DSC2894 _DSC2879 _DSC2873 _DSC2674 _DSC2659 _DSC2642 _DSC2637 _DSC2632 _DSC2629 _DSC2624 _DSC2615 _DSC2322 _DSC2317

 P.S. Check out more photos, videos, and some essay-ish writing about Burning Man 2013, my virgin year on the playa. Click here to check it all out.




  1. Most (thought not all) of these people only address ideas that can only belong in the minute western world… It’s hard to be objective, but if everyone in the entire world could hear and understand me… I would try to say something a little more humbling and a little more uniting. I think it conceited to glorify ideas that really hold no place in the grand scheme of things.

      • 1. Never lose perspective. As perception is the key to your happiness and how you see the world and those around you. Things are not always how they first appear.
        2. Eat less meat, it is one of the most important things you can do for your environment and your mood!
        3. If only once in your life, you must experience Burning Man!

      • Celebrate what you love, not what you hate.

        Rhythm is life, life is rhythm.

        Smile. 🙂

  2. Dear Mr.Dane,

    Good Project. Next time please take pictures of us non sparkle ponies too. At this point your project seems no better than those art cars who don’t let anyone but pretty people on them.

    • I can’t decide if your comment is a compliment (“good project”) or an insult (“no better than…”). May I suggest you learn to be more clear in your communication? And if I ever encounter you on the Playa, I’d be happy to do your portrait, regardless.

    • Most of these folks don’t really look like “sparkleponies” to me, but how can you tell who a sparklepony is by appearance alone, anyway? Seems to me like you’re doing a lot of book-judging based on looking at the cover.

    • Zom Bee, your thoughts are so poisoned by self-loathing and a pernicious us vs them mentality that your eyes can’t actually see. Look at the people in the portraits: do you actually see nothing but sparkleponies? I’m not going to single any of the people in the portraits out (as the beauty of their messages is the important part, not their looks) but I think it safe to say that quite a few didn’t come from the media-promoted molds of “beauty”, much less the Burner art-car sparklepony set (which is another can of worms entirely, and not nearly as simple an issue as your comment makes it out to be).

      Learn to love yourself first. Then we’ll talk about others.

  3. Most of these folks don’t really look like “sparkleponies” to me, but how can you tell who a sparklepony is by appearance alone, anyway? Seems to me like you’re doing a lot of book-judging based on looking at the cover.

  4. Strange… I don’t see sparkle pony in any of your portraits. First comment must have a terrible self esteem. Too bad, Burningman is an amazing place to feel beautiful! Your images must just bring out the beauty! <3

  5. Paul, you really did well for your first Burn with these blogs and projects. Well done and bravo sir. You are exactly what this community needs to reaffirm the values as this event gets larger. Thank you for contribution and I look forward to seeing how you top yourself next year.

  6. It truly was a great burn, my first as well. Your project captured the essence of what makes the event so special, the people.

    My three things:
    1.We are vibrations.
    2.Sync Up and

  7. Amazing and Touching .
    i say these three :

    I AM .
    YOU ARE .

    Thank you very much for this , its beauty full .

    • Really. Twenty-eight people sharing the wisdom of life, and exactly one over 30. Way to be diverse and inclusive, Paul.

      • I’m impressed at your ability to guess ages. 36 myself now, and the majority of these folk look like they could be anywhere between 25-42, possibly from a wider range. Laughter keeps folk young. Try it.

  8. Thank you for this. It is a wonderful project. I am in awe of its simplicity and power. Bravo!

    This was my second year. I was so blown away by projects like this last year that I build a large Mutant Vehicle as a gift this year. EVERYONE was welcome to join us and hundreds took a ride at some point.

    Like the comments here, many offered ‘improvements’ to our art. I am thankful for all comments (no matter how mean spirited some were) because they helped us grow. Sometimes it is hard to hear but it is always welcomed.

    As for the ‘Western World’ comment, I find it interesting as a majority of our camp were ‘Western’ foreigners. Their energy was often quite different than those of us from the USA and I would love to hear their comments.


    1) Know yourself. Learn who you truly are and what you really want.

    2) We don’t need money. We don’t need exchange. There is a better way for us to organize.

    3) The more you give, the more you get. But you get the most when you give without the desire to receive. Gifting is the greatest joy of all. Be the gift.

  9. My 3 at this moment:

    1. May You Enjoy & Appreciate abundant clean water, fresh & nourishing food, a safe comfortable place to rest, music in your ears or heart, laughter, companionship, and as much quiet as you need, each and every day.

    2. May your life surprise you pleasantly.

    3. Build an art car!
    Build one with your friends and you too can then revel in the privilege of welcoming anyone at all on board, anyone with whom you feel at ease! That is, unless you’re all already waaay over the maximum load which the craft is designed to support. But don’t wrinkle your brow if you are, no no, don’t sweat the small stuff like destroying your cArt’s means of locomotion because you are passing another important walking person who appears to want to jump on. Noooo, no. no. no. If you are past critical max, just grope, kiss & push the prettiest 3 people off (ok, nix the grope & ask for the kiss) and as the dust instantly clears from them catching the next car, then you won’t have to wave off any waiting potential passenger that peaks your curiosity! Just a first friendly tip as you embark upon your very own build-an-art-car journey. 🙂 But, psst, heads up, be sure and keep off that one who looks at your skull like it’s lunch. Unless of course, that’s your thing.


  10. Paul, thank you for bringing yourself and your project to the playa and then sharing your photos with the world via the internet. I send you dusty hugs to offset the snarky and/or negatively myopic comments that some people have left in this comments section. My 7 time time burner mind and eyes did not recoil at your photos. In them I saw neither ageism nor preferences for sparkle ponies and playa hotties. As for the critique that the authors of the signs in your photos were expressing sentiments that could only be expressed in the “western world” I politely call bullsh*t on that. 😉

    I hope that you make it back to BRC sooner than later. Dusty hugs!

Leave a Reply