A burner is open, open-hearted, open-minded, open-handed. But paired with that is the hidden ... costumes, masks, playa names. An enigmatic dichotomy, just as BurningMan defies explanation, escapes description, and requires the experience of participation, a burner is someone you must meet and interact with rather than define. Some folks have apparent burner potential, others have it hidden. I've met people at the burn, and they're in costume and telling all about this artist and that they know, all take and no give, I just got the oddest feeling they were trolling for in-crowd status, like club kids. I kept thinking, " Gee, this is such, well, unburnerly behavior." Then I wondered if it was just me being tired, weird and paranoid. Probably.
A burner is on a continuum, someting akin to any of the following terms in their time: bohemian, hippie, beatnik, etc.. Some folks are, some ain't, and some more so than others, but who is to say overall? I stayed at Project Artaud in the 70s, and that was so (pre?)-burningman in spirit and daily life, that when I fianlly attended burningman, it was like a flashback. I kept expecting to see Summerwind and Aquarius, Birdie and Chastity Antoinette. Maybe I did. Welcome home indeed.
A burner is a person who is at home/whose home is in Black Rock City, whether in the flesh or in spirit, whether they have always attended or have never heard of the event.
Like the old definition of obscenity: I knows it when I sees it. (yeah, misquoted, I know)