Raver Memes

Dancing is good. No, it’s great. It may be the original first art of humankind. It’s freedom and expression. People usually only dance when they feel good and hopeful, and dancing makes you feel good and hopeful, and it’s a positive loop. But dancing is also political. Wait, no, bear with me. Dancing is political, there’s a reason why so many governments have tried banning it and new forms of dance. And the kids and newer dancers of today need to know and understand this – because dancing is power, and some day soon you might actually need to harness and exercise that power. It’s the power to entertain yourself, and your friends and family, and your tribes – for free. Unlike music, a dance is really difficult to steal and record a dance and sell it back to someone. (For now. Technology may change.) But dancing is more than entertainment or art. Dancing is the freedom of self expression. It’s a deeply vulnerable, intentional act of sharing. Yeah, everyone feels pretty goofy at first, like people are watching. Because they are so totally watching, even if you’re dancing like no one is watching. You feel goofy because you’re vulnerable and you’re having an unmediated experience with other fellow humans. It’s incredibly empowering. It’s not even democratic – it’s straight up anarchic. Dancing kills fascism more than music does. That vulnerability is power. That vulnerability and sharing builds tribes and families and trust and love. It’s the power of not giving a fuck about what other people think while still caring for them as individuals. Dancing breaks down your ego and helps you get over being a goofy human meat-sack while still supporting the good and useful and healthy parts of that ego. That’s right you goofy human meat sack, when you feel good dancing you usually look good, too – and people feel it. Love does funny shit like that. Music faci litates the collective dancing experience, but dancing itself requires no music at all, or whatever you’d like to imagine in your own head. Again, dancing is powerful. And dangerous – dangerous to people who like to control other people. And history has shown us over and over again that the people who really like to control other people are usually just plain dangerous to other people. Awful, really. They don’t like vulnerability or sharing. They don’t like trust. They don’t like the chaos of real communities and the uncertainties of relationships, they like order and rules and strict explanations for everything and the total banishment of the very idea of magic. The universe is terrifying to these people, so they don’t want to see it moving beyond their control. Because they’re threatened. Because the universe is, in some very strange ways, rather magical. And often threateningly chaotic, too. But dance can heal even these people. I’ve seen i t happen. But they’re absolutely frightened by it, by being so small and vulnerable and mortal and impermanent in the grand scales of time and Cosmos itself. Their egos can’t handle just being one among many, they want to be the One over all. And, of course, there’s no such thing. All things fade and change. The Universe is constantly moving, out of our control, all the time, whether we’re here to watch it or not. And we’re puny in the face of it. And that’s ok. Dancing and vulnerability and community makes the Universe a much calmer, nicer place. It’s much easier to dance to your grave than march to it, especially in the company of friends. So, yeah, keep dancing. Dance your motherfuckin’ ass off. Just don’t pay money to the wrong people for the freedom to do it, because they just want to steal your mojo and energy and pervert it into well-designed mazes and channels where you just buy things and spend money for their own profit. Not yours. Not your tribes. Theirs. And you already have the freedom to dance. You don’t need to pay for permission. You always have had permission since the day you were born or even earlier. And it can’t be taken away because you dance with your heart and soul and mind. Because you can dance without ever moving. You can also learn to DJ and make music. There’s plenty of legally free music available to DJ with and throw parties. You can even build your own sound systems and bass cabinets. Or you can buy them, or raise money for them by throwing fundraising parties with rented sound. You can learn how to run a nice little sound systems, and if you like dancing it’s one of the nicer and more entertaining things to do. It’s not that hard. I promise! Do it! That’s kind of the main, original point of raves – Do It Yourself. Work for it. Build it just how you like it. It’s more fun when you build it yourself and it’s your friends or tribes. D rag that sound off into the forests or deserts for you and your friends and have a nice little party and camp out. Clean your camp, leave no trace, respect the earth and the locals. Take care of your tribes and friends and family. Don’t let them abuse drugs instead of fixing what they’re trying to self-medicate. Don’t let them hurt or abuse each other, either. But accept them and encourage them to be. Tribes and families are essential parts of good raving. They take work to build and hold together, but it’s so much better when you actually get to know the people you’re dancing with and you actually care deeply about them. Because you’re vulnerable to them, and you actually care about what they think about you because they care about you, and you care about them. And ideally you help each other realize your dreams, to better yourselves, to write better music, to learn new things, to become nicer people, or to go to school or back to school, or be bet ter parents. Or even to provide for the sick and poor in your community, to throw dance parties that did food bank drives. (Those used to happen a LOT at raves. They still do, but not so much anymore.) To try and leave the world a better place than you found it. To give more than you receive. To express yourself and share, and be vulnerable. To share your own dance, and to enjoy the unique dances of others. That’s really what raving is and was to me. It wasn’t escapism or entertainment. It was building tribes and families that didn’t suck. Seeing people take care of one another, and accepting each others gifts as they were. Yeah, that’s some crazy hippie shit right there, but it’s all true. There’s a reason why historic or modern indigenous tribes dance together – it’s because it’s healthy and tribal glue. It’s something we’re missing in the Industrialized world, and it’s one of the reasons why our culture is so sick an d so disposable, even when it comes to disposing of other people. So keep dancing people. Dance hard and free.

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