PLUR Is Not Dead! Why it’s Important to Keep This Mantra Alive and Well
I think it is about time to begin a discussion on something I have held near and dear to my heart since the beginning of my raving career: the principles of PLUR. By PLUR of course, I mean the four most important tenants of raving – these are Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect.
One of the best aspects of the Rave community as a spiritual and profound one is that PLUR is a very simple concept, open for interpretation yet important to follow. This allows those who participate in the the Rave/Electronic/EDM/Techno (or however else you may want to call it, no judging!) to have a set of guidelines for their way of life and to continue spreading their love and passion for this music scene to others who are just entering it. When I first began going to underground raves and festivals alike, the people who brought me into this culture expressed the importance of these four words, and since then I have tried my best to live by them.
I will start off by saying that I strongly believe that this slogan is not dead! I have seen many disheartened veterans of the scene saying it is “fake” or that it “doesn’t exist anymore.” Sure, many people are now entering the scene without learning what it is, but that is why it is more important to spread the message to these souls who do not know its meaning and keep the stigma of our unique and wonderful culture alive. I’d also like to add that again, PLUR is open for interpretation – everyone may have their own ideas behind it, and no one is right or wrong! No one can be absolutely and 100% “PLUR” by any means, but that’s ok. Even I am guilty of quite a few “imPLURfections,” and I have been a part of this scene for a very long time and have listened to the music even longer. Part of this culture is that you grow and learn to love more as you go along, always working to improve yourself and helping people see positivity in life. We are sort of like new-wave hippies after all!
Back to the main topic at hand: What exactly do we mean when we say “Peace, Love, Unity, Respect,” and how can we try to live by these guidelines? Below I am putting my definition of it based off my own experience, and I encourage others to think of what it means to them as they read this post.
Peace to me means being a peaceful person. In a rave or festival, this means being caring and gentle. Moshing, pushing others to the side, or saying rude comments that instigate an angered and violent reaction are all things that I would consider as going against this aspect of PLUR. If you’re at a show and you see someone making a scene or disrupting the peaceful vibe of the show, do what you can to remind these people that it is important to keep a calm attitude and to be kind to their fellow ravers. If a fight breaks out, try to calm those who are fighting down and maybe treat them to a massage to keep the peace! A friend of mine did that once when we saw a fight at an event and by the time she was done the two angered individuals were hugging it out. Now that’s peace if I haven’t seen it! Outside of the event, I believe that following Peace also means keeping a level head. As cliché as it sounds, try to use words and reason to solve a conflict rather than violence! Use peace as you would in a show, then apply it to the outside world. In the end, keeping calm and polite usually ends up getting farther than using a more aggressive or manipulative method to get where you want in life.
Love, in my opinion, is the most important part of this mantra. After all, our entire culture is based around love for the music, right? Love can mean many things. For me, this means coming to a show with an enthusiasm for the music and an open mind. We all come to shows because of a mutual love for whoever we’re seeing, and that in itself is a solid foundation for a prosperous friendship. I have met many lifelong friends based off the fact of pure love for the music alone, and I am always open to meeting new people. If you open yourself up to what’s going on around you, you will find a plethora of friendly people with interesting life stories. Not to mention, memories from shared events you went to or podcasts you might follow serve as great conversation starters! Even if you don’t particularly “love” a certain DJ at a show, be open and receptive to the people around you who do – they could show you a new side of the music that you may not have discovered yet and may come to like a lot.
Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – Thing Called Love (Club Mix)
Sadly, I think a lot of people have been forgetting about the love, myself included. Many people are starting to feel a bit weary of certain types of people who come to shows not knowing the music and maybe only wanting an excuse to partake in illicit activities. Sometimes we might even despise the fact that DJs we really like seem to be changing their entire styles to fit to these new masses of people joining the scene. I for one have been disappointed a lot lately at these developments and have been guilty of judging people – as I said, I am not perfect. However, as I also stated earlier, PLUR is about growing as a person and that certainly that applies to the aspect of Love. Perhaps my disappointments themselves won’t change, especially in the musical aspect, but I try to look on the bright side and know that music these DJs have produced in the past will always be awesome. As for the people described above, I try to bring them on the right path by further educating them on the beauties of this music and teaching them about PLUR; while some people cannot be changed, many end up being eager to learn about the rave culture and end up being some of the coolest people I know at shows.
The definition of unity is “the state of being united or joined as a whole.” Despite all the genres and sub-genres of EDM, we are one community and we must stick together! As I said above in the love category, a fair chunk of our members are feeling disillusioned with the culture and disappointed in things that have happened since it blew up, and this has caused a lot of fracturing. However, we must remember that we are here to enjoy the music and the wonderful culture associated with it. Always make sure to watch your friends’ and fellow ravers’ backs; if you see someone who is in trouble, come to their aid. If you feel like someone is being unfairly targeted, stick up for them. Be humbled by your roots and help out fellow fans; if you help out a fellow raver, for example giving them a ticket if you have a spare or a ride to an event, your good deed will be paid in full! If we can promote unity and togetherness, we will be stronger than ever and able to combat any negative things others (*cough* the media) are trying to propagate about the rave scene in general.
Not to be forgotten is respect. Another thing I have noticed in more recent times is that difference in opinion has led to blatant lack of respect for someone who opposes a certain point of view; for example, if one person posts an opinion on a subject that does not go with the popular view, I have seen the poster of this opinion be shamelessly judged and belittled by others. It is sad to see others being called “un-PLUR” or arrogant just for speaking their minds. While we may not agree on everything, it is important to try to see a situation from the other side, not just judge or say rude things if they think differently from you. Everyone has their own realities and unique point of view, and it is important to acknowledge this. Again, even I will admit to having a lack of respect sometimes; I used to be on a high-horse and silently judge people in my mind who only liked top 40 artists like Skrillex and Hardwell. However, as someone who strongly believes in PLUR, I realize that what I was doing was going against my own personal principles. Now if an urge to judge comes up, I tell myself that again, everyone likes different things and perhaps they haven’t discovered many artists yet. I have no right to think people are wrong for liking artists I’m not a fan of or for posting something that I consider to be against my own beliefs, and neither does anyone else. We all must work toward being accepting of all types of ravers and again, stay unified as a culture.
So…what’s your point?
Bottom line of all of this: PLUR does not need to be dead or fake if you don’t want it to be! In fact, I don’t think it will ever “die” as long as people keep doing what they’re doing and loving the music! Maybe we all have our differences, it is important for each and every person who takes part in this culture to try to approach it with an open mind and eagerness to connect with others. Part of this means communicating in a kinder manner with each other; if you think someone is not being peaceful, loving, promoting unity, or respectful, then maybe try to figure out what makes them so and show them your point of view in a kind way! Keep your distance from someone if you feel that they are not someone you can click with. But please people, try to embody PLUR in your lives and keep our culture as spiritual and healing as I know it can be! Educate each other, learn from each other, connect, and help each other out. We are the ones keeping the scene alive in the end, and it is our job to promote these values. Together we can rise and make it as wonderful as it once was before it became “mainstream.” Cheers!
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