Saturday, January 18, 2003
Saturday night at home adding an entry to my blog.
There was a time in my life when Saturday night meant going to at least two or more rave events. This was during the trietary coming of my adolescence, which occurred between my 28th and 37th years, my "rave" era.
But that doesn't mean I don't approve of the activity anymore. Most of my good friends and many people I admire I met in the context of the rave culture. The small gatherings and parties I attend today almost always have a dj lineup, and about half of my friends in the SF bay area could be on the list.
I used to get a lot out of raves. They were a group hug at a tribal gathering held in a psychedelic church's revival tent on the set of Saturday Night Fever being used to shoot an episode of Sesame Street. We were convinced the raves would change the world, that they would bring unfettered psychedelic spirituality to the masses. We had all got the spirit right there on the dancefloor, at parties called ToonTown and Osmosis.
Sure we were high as kites, but that didn't pollute the truth of the spirit there. To look across a room of 800 or so and see every face beaming joy was breathtaking. Introductions were unnecessary at these events. Everyone was tuned to that channel with call letters L-O-V-E.
But that didn't last too long. The problem was habituation. Too many nights of psychedelic splendor will take their toll. As real as it was on the dancefloor in the throes of serotonin enhancement, it usually didn't last through the refractory period. Fortunately for the promoters and djs, there were always new people with virgin brain cells begging to be ravished.
From the early days of the nightclub establishment to the evolution of the rave community and finally to the emergence of a rave church, spirituality has always been a centerpiece of raving.
It is a transideological spirituality, and that is its best feature. As long as you're not hurting anyone with it, believe whatever you want. It made each rave a symphony of belief and devotion to whatever higher power each person was beholden to, and that is the oneness that we all are.
Unfortunately, as habituation set in and people started chasing the high, things got a bit out of hand. There were many flaming re-entries in those days, and it stopped being spirituality at all for the most part. After a while it morphed into a kind of pillow parlor hedonism, with freeform altars remaining as tokens of spirituality.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm all for it in fact. But the oneness that we are is not in a psychedelic experience any more than in a bathroom experience. But many rave people made the psychedelic experience their spirituality in toto, and their practice became the quest for the highest peak high, and also the cause of their continuing ignorance. Many got stuck in the honey pot without ever coming to much real inner understanding.
The oneness that we are is not a peak experience. It is an ongoing awareness that lives in each one of us. Right now, each one of us is in the presence of that awareness. It's not something that's attained after an awesome drug or meditation experience, but it does seem to discover itself after a lot of personal transformation has occurred.
That's the plus side of the psychedelic experience, it can greatly accellerate personal transformation. But accellerating transformation this way has its own risks, and it usually takes something of a toll from your life.
So feeling one on the dancefloor can be a memory to cherish forever, especially if you make it beyond the lightshow dazzle and spun out mornings to the real truth of your own being, as close in the common and mundane as it might seem in the throes of excessive and glorious bliss.