What got me hooked on anthropology was the idea that humans are basically animals. We are given life, taken care of by our guardians, grow, adapt to our surroundings, reproduce, and eventually leave this world just like any other species in the animal kingdom. Simple right? What sets us apart from other animals is that humans have the ability to reason and form complex thoughts. If we were as simple as other animals, life wouldn’t be as interesting. We wouldn’t be competing against one another with our mental prowess, but rather only with physical strength or appearances; for example a male peacock’s tail pattern and size determines how attractive they are to females. Despite this difference our inherent reason for competition, social or scientific, is what you know as “survival of the fittest”.
Rave girls then vs. now / The evolution of ravers over time [ Photo by Buzzfeed]
When I first came across this term I interpreted it to mean that you had to be physically strong to be able to survive in this world. I believed this to be the definition for a long time until I started college where I studied anthropology and learned the deeper meaning. To be considered successful in being one of the fittest, you must meet these criteria: to survive and reproduce.
But what does “survival of the fittest” have to do with raving?
The media portrays us as druggies spending money recklessly on music festivals that will eventually lead us to overdosing and dying; we are pictured as the weakest link on the food chain. I don’t think that’s true at all, in fact I think it’s the opposite; we should be some of the most successful.
To survive, we have to be able to adapt to the rave life. Stepping into our world may seem just like a place to party and have fun, get turnt up, and lose yourself for a night or two, but it’s so much more than that. You’re about to become a part of a community that thinks of one another as a family, a rave isn’t just a party, it’s a family reunion. You also have to understand our mantra, PLUR. It’s more than just a way of trading kandi with one another, it’s also a way of life. In order to be accepted into this world we have to live by PLUR as well. I know for a fact that people gossip behind my back and make fun of me for believing an incredibly cheesy motto, but I don’t care. In fact, it makes me stronger as a person because I stand behind what I say. Why waste time following what is considered normal? Choose your own path instead. Raving is also an expensive hobby; with festival/event prices increasing every year we need to be able to be able to adapt to those prices and either become financially stable or a thrifty spender. A lot of us party hard, but we work hard in order to be able to afford all of the luxuries in the raving life. I work 10 hours a day, Monday through Friday, just so that I am able to pay for these events and it is worth spending every single penny.
Left: Ready to go to work / Right: Ready to rave! I work hard to be able to afford festivals
When we reproduce, we bring in new ravers into our culture and teach them the responsibilities of being a raver and the meaning behind PLUR. I love bringing friends to their first rave because I want them to see that raves aren’t what they appear to be. The media paints a very different picture of the rave community. news outlets publicize deaths that occur at festivals giving not only raves a bad representation, but also ravers. Raves aren’t the reason why there are deaths, it’s the lack of information the person has about what they’re taking, individuals who don’t know their limits, the lack of help from others, or even (unfortunately) freak accidents. If my friends choose to experiment, I’d want them to be responsible about what they plan on doing. I will be there to take care of them every step of the way, but I will not promote raging irresponsibly or pushing yourself past your limits. New ravers should also learn how to look after others who may be a little too turnt up, because a simple act of kindness could influence others to do the same in the future. That is what PLUR is all about, caring not only for your friends, but fellow ravers as well. Sometimes when things don’t affect a close friend or someone you know, you start to think that it would never happen to you, that your friends would be more responsible. The fact of the matter is that it definitely can happen to you and your friends. So when you bring friends into our world teach them what it means to be a raver: come in peace, love one another, stand united, be responsible for one another, and respect each other’s differences. The only reason why people think PLUR is dead is because we don’t have enough people practicing what they preach. Be the change and guide the new ravers.
Tragic death of a fellow raver at Beyond Wonderland. Accidents happen, but let’s help one another out as well!
In the end, would I claim to be one of the fittest? The PLURest? The answer can only be determined when it’s my time to pass after successfully surviving and reproducing. But to be honest, I’m still working on being PLUR; I still have setbacks, times where I judge someone and then I realize, “Whoa! I know better than to judge others like this,” then I move on. I don’t focus on who I used to be, but rather who I can be. Survival of the fittest in today’s world may refer to those who have the most money, happiness, success, or material things. Survival of the PLURest refers to keeping a culture alive in a cutthroat environment. I’d rather be hard working, struggling financially, and kind-hearted than rich, doubtful, and constantly being let down by friends.
So my fellow ravers, always remember that we are more than what the media and other haters say we are: we are the PLURest and we are a surviving race.
POP NYE 2014: Survived another year with friends and ready for more years to come!
Living life like a breeze in the Bay Area, sharing the love to my fellow ravers