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Roger Griffin

This nOde last updated April 29th, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
(2 Chuen (Frog) / 4 Uo - 171/260 -
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Dr. Roger Griffin is Principal Lecturer in History at Brookes University, Oxford.  He has written books on his subject and lectures all over the world.  He is also a compulsive raver.  This is his story...

I am old enough to have lived through the last collective bid by a counter-culture to regenerate the West in what people call the hippie era.  Vital seeds of a new way of life were sown and lives were changed but the revolution of internal linkconsciousness failed to go further than the minds of white, middle class internal linkyouth.  My own response to this failure was to become a perpetual student, to use my academic career to investigate history, culture and alternative internal linkrealities from the safety of lecture halls and libraries.  I ended up analysing the political equivalent of cancer, fascism, in a protracted case-study of how vital spiritual and mythic energies can be mischanneled into destruction.

Then I discovered something that, for someone who had who had taken the idealism of the 60's literally, was a internal linkdream come true: the rave.  Big raves, small raves, expensive raves, free raves: going to raves, it became luminously clear that something very special is happening, not just to those who go, but to modern society.  Essentially, I saw people going back to one of the original meanings of music, to the root experience of internal linktrance and internal linkdance: transcendence.  It is dangerous to theorize about rave culture.  It atkes many forms.  It has sides that are pseudo, commercial, empty, boring, cynical, self-destructive and tragic.  It can be no more than a pretext to take drugs.  It may act as a superglue holding together lives that are otherwise full of despair and emptiness.  Not everybody has a good time all of the internal linktime.  But perhaps that is all part of rave's internal linkalchemy.

It takes the private energies, negative and positive, sorted and unsorted, co-ordinated and unco-ordinated, and transforms them into a whole internal linkinfinitely greater than the sum of its parts.  When the music, the setting and the people gel, when a internal linkcritical mass of collective energy and euphoria is reached, then the raver enters a state the Greeks in their internal linkDionysian rituals called "internal linkenthusism", or "revealing the god within".

At the point when the darkness of the rave becomes enlightenment, some of the vacuous cliches of the 60's counterculture turn to internal linkreality.  Class, generation, gender, ethic and political conflicts melt, individuals are temporarily reborn.  They become participants in something much greater than themselves.  The microcosm of the small self moves to within sparking distance of the macrocosmic Self.  The old personality is temporarily destroyed to give rise to the new, laying bare the deeper meaning of 'recreational' experience.  The neo-cortex is reconnected to the limbic brain, the mind teams up with the body instead of behaving like its master.

The human brian has three different genetic layers: old, middle and new.  The limbic is the oldest, dealing with the fright, flight and andrenaline necessary for basic survival.  It is also the part of the brain that responds to rhythm.  The newest part of the brain, the neo-cortex, is where the higher cognitive powers of math, awareness and abstract thought are formed.

One of the things that happens at a good rave is that these two parts of the brain get properly internal linkwired up.  There's a coming together of mind and body.  With this union the regenerative experience of years of therapy are packed into a few hours of release and internalized deep within the body internal linkmemory as a reservoir of hidden psychic strength.  Historically internal linkJungian, re-birthing and most non-Freudian therapies have attempted to find a harmony between the inner and outer, the animal and higher brain.  What can happen in a rave is that you temporarily get a sense of oneness with you mind, body and the people dancing around you.  It's like a mainline to a state that is theorized about but difficult to achieve.

With dance and music temporary neuroses get suspended - it's like a sustained glimpse of a higher state of being.  If this internal linkforce could ever permeate society as a whole, the cancers of greed, materialism, nationalism and ecological destruction would finally be reversed.

Through a internal linksynergy between technology and creativity, avant-garde and popular music, alternative and popular culture which could never have been anticipated and never happened at any other point in history, rave culture has rediscovered the deepest significance of the dance.  Not through books but through experience.  Dance originally had a deep ritual significance.  Dance originally enacted the eternal rhythm of creation and destruction that lies at the heart of life, energy and matter itself.  Dance was the door that opened into paradise, perpetually present as a internal linkvirtual reality but invisible in "normal", non-ritual life.  Dance was the means of communicating directly with the goddess.  Dance was performed in the original labyrinth in Crete as the magical act that would enable the spell of the Minotaur to be broken.

In its ritual manifestation dance turned existence (from the Latin, meaning being outside) to internal linkecstasy (from the Greek, meaning being beyond).  It made possible the journey from the private experience of life to a vantage point beyond individual reality.  This is the deeper significance of internal linktrance, a word which originally meant "going across".  The rave of today still internal linkresonates with this ancient ritual power.  Experimental psychologists at Birmingham University have recognized that the rave experience induces a state of 'non-specific happiness'.  They also proved that the more often people have the experience the easier that happiness is accessed and sustained.  The source of this happiness may be physically connected to hyperventilation, of getting internal linkconsciousness literally out of the neo-cortex and into the limbic brain so that dancers are 'out of their heads'.  And when external drugs are used in the right doses to help release the internal linkpsychedelic drugs naturally secreted by the brain, the endorphins, the euphoria can be further enhanced (though it's good to remember the motto of the visionary William Blake: "No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings").  But the happiness is, for many, also something more primitive, more spiritual, more sacred: it is the internal linksubjective experience of communion; it is the suspension of ordinary, individual time and the entry into special internal linktime.

The Greeks even had two words for these two types of time:  khronos, meaning clock-time, and kairon for this other, suspended, magical, party time.
Return To The Source - Deep Trance And Ritual Beats

Rave culture allows the internal linkhologram of another internal linkdimension to shoot out of the two-dimensional poster of everyday existence.  When the lone internal linkdancer connects with the collective experience by moving to the music, the latent internal linkmagic of life becomes blatant.  It is an experience accessible to anyone prepared to let their 'self' go.  The ravers keep their individual identity but simultaneously behave like the pixels of colour forming the internal linksurreal patterns generated on computers by the equations of internal linkchaosHail Eris! theory.  This is also spiritual democracy.  Every 'good' rave offers the chance to visit an Edenic time before time, to re-enter the paradise of integrated being.  The meaning of any of these words about rave culture cannot be discovered by simply reading them.  You have to dance to the music and find the collective rapture that has inspired these words.  In the beginning was not the word, but the dance.   In a few generations, a twinkling of the cosmic eye, technology has succeeded in destroying the balance of earth's eco-system.  It is a sublime paradox that, as the end game of human history plays itself out, an offshoot of this same technology is providing a growing number of those condemned to live in this blighted civilization with a way to re-establish our harmony with creation, to achieve transcendence, to internal linkreturn to the source.

- from the liner notes of _Deep Trance and Ritual Beats_ CDx2atomjacked inventory cache on Return To The Source

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