Twenty Reasons Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere

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You would be missing the forest for the trees, then, because they're almost identical in philosophies. The music is different, the clothes are different. The drugs aren't that different. The only major difference is time.

They're both full of people from a spectrum of financial and social classes, and while predominantly young, there's a wide age range there as well. There's art and culture there. There's information and skill sharing. Music. Dancing. Live art demonstrations. Writing. Poetry. The meeting and juxtaposition of people and things that wouldn't normally happen. There's also heavy amounts of libertine and anarchic politics and a hunger - no, starvation for social justice.

As a meme raves aren't new. These kinds of ecstatic gatherings have been happening for as long as we've had fire, food surpluses and weird plants and fungi to eat and learned to bang rocks and sticks together in pleasing patterns that activated and stimulated those psychoactive states of mind with complicated algorithms.

But as the modern incarnation, they're also a global phenomenon, perhaps a reaction to the excesses of modern civilization's quest for control and the unattainable ideal of "normalcy" and homogeneity You can find "raves" everywhere from Antarctica to Alaska and Siberia. You can find them in Iran, in Saudi Arabia. You can find them on the beaches of Thailand. The basements of Moscow city. You can find them anywhere where there's youth and electricity - and where there isn't electricity they're still partying and dancing.

And like cabarets and jazz were before they were co-opted and sanctified as acceptable modern culture - raves are vilified, attacked by law enforcement, banned, legislated against and otherwise misunderstood as though they were merely mindless orgies when the facts about what actually goes on is even more frightening: People get together and talk about things and think about how to make the world better and to manifest their dreams and will upon the often thoughtless and brutal world culture around them.

Discount the power of a good party full of young (or young-minded) people at your own peril. Music and the culture around it is powerful. Somewhere on the fringes or deep in the heart of every major revolution in the last 500 years that I can recall there's music and young people who suddenly realize, apparently during or after a nice party, that life doesn't have to suck all the time. That it could be more free, self governing and libertine, that people really can be nice to each other and get along, that it could be more comforting to the human soul.

And then, hopefully, they get mad as hell and don't take it anymore, and they do something about it.

posted by loquacious at 12:12 PM on February 6, 2011 [18 favorites]

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