Rave on! Dare to live fully during a "7D war"
The greater the chaos and destruction, the more vital it is to sing and dance
It took some seriously good techno music under a tent at 1am, but I was eventually one of the multitude on the dance floor. I haven’t been to any concerts, plays, movies, games, exhibitions, or conferences in the three years since the first lockdown in 2020, and it wasn’t exactly a frequent habit before then. As far as I can recall, the only ticketed event I have been to in that period was a sound and light show in Durham Cathedral, where I happened to walk past the Bishop, and felt an energy that was “off”. This was the exact opposite: a clean and pure joy of existence, with a musical journey that swept you along, blissfully entranced with only the present moment.
A few things struck me and stuck with me in my time of relaxed abandon. The first was the miracle of the DJs and VJ, who with nothing more than booms, bleeps, and blinking lights could get a crowd of people to forget all of their everyday worries. We laud the pioneering genius engineers of “logical” structures like bridges, and rightly remember them with statues and institutes. Those who can draw people into elaborate “emotional” structures are equally creative giants, and are rightly given elevated cultural status. There is a vast difference between music as a packaged digital product, and a live performance where we co-create a collective human experience.
I consider electronica artists like Jon Hopkins to be our modern “classical” composers — check out Open Eye Signal as an award-winning example. As it says on his Wikipedia page: “For a time Hopkins considered becoming a professional pianist, only to decide classical performance was too formal and unnerving to pursue full-time.” Software allows us to physically express anything the mind can imagine, breaking the limits of formality: computers are the ultimate psychedelic. We are explorers of the endless new programatic affordances that let us vibe together in novel ways. While technologies give us comfort and leisure, it is the creative arts that salve the soul.
That is a rather long introduction to what I really wanted to say. What really hit me hard on the dance floor, being with “friends, and friends of friends”, was that I could anticipate a time when this covert bio-information war will be over. We will be free to bop and bray to our heart’s content, released from tyranny and oppression. Through the corner of my mind’s eye — or maybe it was a stray ray of laser light hitting my heart — I could just about sense the euphoria that will come someday with truth, justice, and liberty. It is a reference emotion I can return to when I am down. Indeed, I am listening to the recording of the set right now, and the feeling of unbounded optimism comes rushing back.
On the way to the festival event, I got some bad news. A good friend was in hospital, and to respect privacy, let’s just say “had suffered painful harm and lasting loss”. My sense is that it is a consequence of immune system failure after multiple Covid vaccine boosters (on top of other compounding conditions), but I cannot be certain. It is not something I can really discuss. The last few months have been turbulent personally, the world portends upheaval this autumn. As an empath, this setback was a heavy load on my already saddened heart. It took some discipline to stay focused on my own needs, and not go on a rescue mission. Looking after a wounded and weary Martin is job #1; the unwise choices of others can’t be undone.
Up until around 2020/2021 the monomaniacal focus of many of us was to awaken those around us to the deadly lies and endemic corruption. We have since had to live through the prolonged nightmare of “stolen elections have nasty consequences”. Each day we endure the grindingly slow takedown of those who would have inflicted a full-blown totalitarian takeover upon us via the biosecurity state. Now, I am finding that my own focus has to change as a result. There is no shortage of things to write about in the world, but the fundamental battle is inside each of us: to take care of our mind, body, and spirit. The foe is pessimism that leads to us abandoning our self-love, and rejecting the innate joy of simply being alive.
Although 2am karaoke is one step beyond my own performance policy limit, midnight grooving to hardcore beats at a volume of a jet aircraft at takeoff is definitely my thing. (The neighbours will recover — eventually.) It is the single most restorative act I have done in years, as it meant stepping out of my funk and rejecting the tiredness and depression of this seemingly endless battle for the soul of humanity. Photography has been my principal therapy, as an extension of going for a daily walk. As you may have noticed, I love “visual electronica”: you don’t find many pictures that are “acoustic” natural colours. It always gives me a giggle when someone asks if my images are processed or filtered, as they all are!
I believe that to be creative for benevolent ends is to be in communion with the divine. Earlier in the day I had given my talk on divinity and technology. My ending note was that gatherings of like-minded people such as this are the new “divinity school”, and the event lived up to its billing. I had more conversations with enlightened and open-minded people than I have had in a long time. The formal public institutions have (nearly) all be infiltrated and corrupted, so it is informal and private events such as this that fill the void. It took enormous generosity, work, and dedication of the hosts, and has inspired me to re-up my own efforts in the world. I got an uplift a week earlier visiting a “respectable” Biblically-minded friend; this was a different kind of spiritual buoyancy.
On the long drive home afterwards, I reflected on the whole experience. As an introvert, being around lots of people can be tiring. As an “autist”, very loud and bright things can be too much at times — even the over-strong light in my parents’ kitchen drives me out of the room! I can’t stand TVs on in the background, as it’s a kind of neurological torture. Yet I was reinvigorated from being immersed in the most intensely collective and loud experience safely endurable. How so?
Well, we have to first unpack the struggles of being at war, which are the “7 Ds”:
Discernment — learning to separate moral acts (i.e. aligned to the divine natural order) from wicked ones (that oppose it)
Drive — the motivation to act (even if alone) on our discernment and say no to colluding in wrongdoing
Determination — the perseverance to maintain that drive even when it results in economic hardship or social rejection
Danger — the recognition of possible or likely serious physical, financial, material, or familial losses from persecution
Damage — coping with the non-fatal injuries the enemy inflicts upon us when that danger turns into actual harm
Demoralisation — overcoming the pain of hurt and exhaustion of fighting and the accumulation of damage
Death — final redemption through belief in, and service to, an immortal soul, offering life beyond this temporary meat suit, even if we are damaged so badly we die.
That’s a lot of Ds to take on, and we need rests to recover and restore our fighting spirit. Taking breaks has been one of the greatest challenges of the last few years. It requires faith we can safely step back from the digital battlefield and return when ready. Missing a week of events via social media won’t kill us. Last week I dragged myself out on some day trips, including a visit to a local heritage railway. It leaves me better off than hours scanning Telegram channels, or feeling guilty about doing nothing and lying in bed. I don’t need to worry about not giving financial supporters value for money, as they are helping me to live, not paying for essays as piecework.
While it might be a minority taste, responsibly raving to trance music in a field is (in my view) a good use of the gift of a body. We are meant to have pleasure, in balance with other experiences. This was spiritual healthcare, not just hedonism. To counter the damage, demoralisation, and death we must increase our focus on our drive and determination to “dance” in any form that restores us, come what may. Whatever brings you joy in just being, and isn’t destructive to your future, is a divine calling. This particular crowd was carefully curated, so I also felt safe from being lured into “demonic devil worship”, as there are public events and venues I do not trust one iota.
As a closing thought, many of the people who are into “alternative” ways of living don’t fit into the conventional view of recognised or respected warriors for peace. I haven’t been to a traditional church service since I was a child, barring the odd wedding, baptism, or funeral. I have spent years hanging out with the junkies, party people, squatters, hookers, cryptomaniacs, and seriously lost. Many of those in this fringe community of misfits take high risks, and stray away from the ideal path. Yet they are also the people who “dare to live life” — to the fullest possible. It is noteworthy that the only “industry” that turned up to protest against tyranny, as a collective, were the clubbers. Not a single church group marched through London, as far as I know!
Even those who are of a conventional church mindset will recognise the admonitions against sitting at home and perfectly preserving ourselves, refusing to take any risks or engage with life using the resources we have been gifted. The dancers felt the greatest loss of access to their lifeblood, and their protest in 2021 was uniquely joyous too. While much of the music scene has become painfully woke, there are a few corners that have preserved the punk ethos — and form the foundation for a cultural renaissance. The ravers and rappers seem to be the ones who dare to live life at full volume, and that fact should be widely noted.
So rave on! Defeat the despots with dance.
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