Just a few months after my arrival in Phoenix, I was introduced to the rave culture. The positivity and spirituality that I discovered in this young generation reaffirmed my hope in the future of human kind. For the most part, ravers are intensely creative, highly intelligent and extremely responsible people. However, The rave culture has been accused of rampant drug use and mindless anarchy. This is not true. Ravers are not mutations of the disco and punk generation.
The media and conservative groups have unjustly sensationalized their negative portrayals of ravers. And the public, as usual, has bought it. I wonder how long it will be before a vengful parent will sue a techno DJ for the death of their child from drug overdose and claim millions in punitive damages. Blame will fall everywhere but where it's due. Next thing you know, 20/20 will do yet another shallow tabloid story on rave goers, congress starts passing laws illigalizing raves and the "concerned" parents will get together and form all sorts of acronymed groups against techno music and spend millions of tax payers money just to put advisory stickers on techno CDs. Oh, no! Here come the villagers with their torches, again!
Why is it that some of us can hold on to our sanity and live in peace only when we have created a common enemy? Would it be too much to ask if people could just contain their hatred in some sort of emotional capacitor for when they REALLY need it? Like tax time?
The spirit of rave is about PLUR (Peace Love Unity and Respect). That spirit is reflected inward and gives people respect for themselves. Which will, in turn, save them from abusing their freedom and self destruction. Most of the time, if you are allowed to make your own mistakes and learn on your own you will become wise much faster and survive and prosper just fine.
Yes, freedom is a risky business but, it will benefit all in the end if we are allowed to truely exercise it and learn from it. It's most unfortunate that some law makers push ravers around using cops. The police was created to protect the citizens. When they are asked to go and throw their weight around on young people, the impression they make will tarnish their image forever. Thus, the trust they need from future citizens to do their jobs will no longer exist.
The young generation today needs peace just as all other past generations. They need to know they are not the enemy and they strive to find peace in themselves if not from their elders. Besides, if you asked cops what they think of ravers most will tell you they have come to realize that the rave culture is not out to cause problems; that their gatherings are peaceful and respectable; that presence of sex and drugs at raves are hyped and exagerated by the media for the tiering, old usual reasons.
The PLUR message is clearly reflected in the music you hear and the behavior you observe at rave parties. I used to think techno was just a spawn of disco, a mechanical sound bereaved of heart and soul until I went to my first rave and actually listened to and absorbed the music and the vibe there. Almost all types of rave music have one thing in common: Soul. I'm not talking about the "Blues" kind of soul. Soul is soul. It is a sound that testifies to the passion and humanity in all of us. It's not about being happy or sad or melancholy. It's about being alive. When the rhythm rises and the volume penetrates your bones, you KNOW you are alive and you become a walking, dancing mass of celebrated energy.
All ravers have their own organic dance. Their own signature style of movement. They don't follow a grid pattern that you can study in a book. They don't paint shoe prints on the floor and practice their steps in a strict pattern. They don't line up together to step, clap, turn and spit in unison. They don't stand face to face in twos, swaying and limping in a drunken haze at night clubs. They let their souls take over. They wear the music like a body glove and glide across the floor as if chasing a note that got away. They all dance their own dance. They are free. Let them be.