- Peace – Letting go of fear and living at peace with oneself, one another, and the planet for a greater good
- Love – As one learns to love oneself, one is able to love everyone else unconditionally
- Unity – A mutual, corporate bond is formed resulting from the love and peace experienced with one another
- Respect – Because of peace love and unity, one can accept others regardless of their beliefs or background
Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. These are the ideals of ravers all over the world. Taking from the consciousness revolution pioneers of the 60s generation, the resurgence of these can be seen as an updated version of the previous generation’s longing for social transformation through the pursuit of happiness, as we delve into a post-modern era of human civilization. Although very well known in the rave scene, the idea of PLUR is not known by the rest of society that well. However, perhaps one day, the ideas of peace, love, unity, and respect will be evidenced as a societal reality where one small group here or there will not be the only one proclaiming them. Only good can come from an understanding and living of peace, love, unity, and respect.
In the 1960s there was a cultural revolution and a revolution of consciousness, primarily by those who had been dubbed hippies. What started in the late 1980s (although raves had technically existed in the 1960s as well) and exploded in the 1990s, there was another cultural revolution taking place. The modern rave was born. People who began going to these EDM (electronic dance music) events became known as ravers and created a manifesto that very closely resembled the hippie manifesto of peace and love. This time around, the ideals of unity and respect were added, to form the acronym PLUR. While the hippie utilized consciousness-expanding agents such as cannabis and LSD, ravers used the more recently-discovered MDMA/MDA (although MDA existed in the 1960s and was called “the love drug”), also known as ecstasy, as well as LSD. After going to a few raves in the years shortly before his death, Timothy Leary blessed the “high-tech hippies” that attended raves for “capturing the spirit of the Sixties.”
Upon going to California and seeing the epitome of the rave scene in the 21st century, I can attest to the fact that PLUR is still very much alive and well. It is an almost surreal experience, in that there is such an incredible amount of positivity being projected from everyone that you feel as if you get higher just being around them. There are of course those who do not go to raves with these ideals firmly encased within their consciousness. However, this is always a minority that does not take away from the sea of love and bliss that is the modern rave scene. When at a rave, a person feels one with everyone else there. You can walk up to anyone and start talking with them as if you knew them for your entire life. Friends are made instantly. Love and happiness are found everywhere. Ecstasy manifests itself both as a higher emotional frequency, as well as a molecular compound. Joy, bliss, and serenity permeate everywhere.
Origins of PLUR
I also had the wonderful experience of meeting Frankie Bones not too long ago, at a warehouse rave in Brooklyn. Among other things, what makes him so special is that he is the person from which the PLUR acronym came from. At a rave comprised of around 25,000 people, a fight broke out between two people. Frankie was spinning at the time and he suddenly stopped his set and he went on the mic and said if the people there don’t start showing some peace, love, and unity, then there’s going to be problems, to put it nicely. From then on, someone added on the R for respect and thus the Raver’s Manifesto was born. Since Frankie Bones is an integral part of PLUR, I will let him speak for himself concerning how it turned into what it is today. Some important parts of his message are below.
“Right from the very start of New York City’s underground rave scene, the mission was to make sure the people involved would be peaceful, have love for what we were doing and show unity if something was to go down. I reached out into the industrial wastelands of Brooklyn, New York and threw warehouse parties. I just kept sharing that experience, of the music and what happened. Once my closest friends experienced the music combined with the effects of Ecstacy, that was it. The message was clearly out, and there was no stopping us. The thing about Ecstacy is it breaks down everything society wants us to be and the minute you understand that, you look at things different. I think what it does to you is makes you find a common peace which exists in all people. It broke down things on many levels and combined with Electronic Music, it was like nothing else anyone ever experienced.
We always made sure our parties were safe. To insure that we would put the parties in really bizarre spaces. Way out to no man’s land in Brooklyn. We had several little problems, but from 1990-1992 everything was based on The Peace, Love and Unity Movement and most of the kids loved that because they never experienced anything like it. 15 years go by and people tend to forget. But I never decided I was going to start this thing called P.L.U.R. and everyone was going to live happily ever after. I mean the legend of STORMrave is not some kind of fairy-tale. With any tale or legend comes those people who try and change the actual story, or say it never happened in the first place. Take, Laura for instance (from Hypereal). Her name seems to come up whenever P.L.U.R. is mentioned and she goes into length about how she spun records at STORMrave in 1993. STORMrave ended on December 12, 1992. I never met the woman personally.
Thank the American Library Of Congress for the copyright of my 1990 record release called P.L.U.M. (The Peace, Love and Unity MOVEMENT). And that was the beginning. In 1993, I released a track called “Peace, Love, Unity” (The STORMrave Story). The first word written after the title credits says “Respect”. To the German band Genlog. So whoever thought of sticking the eighteenth letter to make it into P.L.U.R. must of been looking at that record. The first actual ‘rave’ in America was on June 30, 1990. Called “Atmosphere” in New York City. On September 7th, 1990, Los Angeles had its first actual ‘rave’. Movement rather then Respect. Because you cannot have Peace, Love and Unity without Respect, yet without MOVEMENT, you cannot have Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. What good is it without movement?
And it started out as violence actually. But there is no such thing as a peaceful revolution. “You better start showing some Peace, Love and Unity, or I will break your $%^ing faces”. That is how it started. The fight that broke out was a couple, boy and girl having a domestic problem which happened like a tornado, right into the main rig where I was spinning. And my reality clashed with the one thing I was trying to prevent from day one. So I took it personal. Being at ground level, I jumped up onto the office desk which had the turntables and mixer on it, to give me a four foot height advantage, and yelled into the Mic to stop the fight. I told the crowd, “You all need to respect each other and if you see something happen, get involved to stop it.”
There are very few uplifting experiences such as today’s raves. The peace is there, the love is felt, the unity is seen, and the respect is understood. Just as the (genuine) hippies of the 60s believed wholeheartedly in peace and love, so do the ravers of the 90s and today. Likewise, this website is called Peace and Loveism, thanks to a song with the same name produced by Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era in the heart of the raver generation in the early 1990s. Perhaps there will be yet another resurgence and revival of these elements sometime in the future when the raver ideals in PLUR subside and are seen less frequently. However, at the current state of things, PLUR is going strong and has no signs of leaving anytime soon. Naturally, there will be those who are experiencing nostalgia about how in the 90s, raves and ravers were all about the ideals of PLUR and these individuals will berate the present-day rave scene and sometimes even act in an antithetical manner that goes against the very ideals they are talking about. As long as even one person embodies these ideals, they are alive. Have hope that society, as a whole, will shift to the consciousness levels that are experienced by those in the rave scene who truly embody Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect.
Manifestos, Handshakes, and Kandi
What perhaps started out as a comment by a warehouse DJ towards a fight has turned into a multifaceted expression of higher levels of consciousness that embody the reality of interconnectedness and oneness. The Raver’s Maifesto was born. The PLUR Handshake was created, and the trading of kandi became a ritual that has spread like wildfire. These aspects of the rave culture all have at their core the ideals of peace, love, unity, and respect. By elaborating on these things, it is my hope that you will be able to understand how the rave culture, just as the hippie culture, is not some superficial fad but an underlying drive by human beings all over the world towards the creation of a realized unified collective consciousness. I would just like to insert a disclaimer here about the manifesto, since I have not written was unsure as to who originally had written it until a woman by the name of Maria Pike contacted me and let me know that she had written A Raver’s Manifesto back in 2001. It’s a pretty good open letter to humanity concerning the rave culture and what the beliefs and ideals are.
The Raver’s Manifesto
Our emotional state of choice is Ecstasy. Our nourishment of choice is Love. Our addiction of choice is technology. Our religion of choice is music. Our currency of choice is knowledge. Our politics of choice is none. Our society of choice is utopian though we know it will never be. You may hate us. You may dismiss us. You may misunderstand us. You may be unaware of our existence. We can only hope you do not care to judge us, because we would never judge you. We are not criminals. We are not disillusioned. We are not drug addicts. We are not naive children. We are one massive, global, tribal village that transcends man-made law, physical geography, and time itself. We are The Massive. One Massive. We were first drawn by the sound. From far away, the thunderous, muffled, echoing beat was comparable to a mother’s heart soothing a child in her womb of concrete, steel, and electrical wiring. We were drawn back into this womb, and there, in the heat, dampness, and darkness of it, we came to accept that we are all the same. We came to accept that we are all equal.
Not only to the darkness, and to ourselves, but to the very music slamming into us and passing through our souls: we are all equal. And somewhere around 35Hz we could feel the hand of God at our backs, pushing us forward, pushing us to push ourselves to strengthen our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. Pushing us to turn to the person beside us to join hands and uplift them by sharing the uncontrollable joy we felt from creating this magical bubble that can, for one evening, protect us from the horrors, atrocities, and pollution of the outside world. It is in that very instant, with these very realizations that each of was truly born. We continue to pack our bodies into clubs, or warehouses, or buildings you’ve abandoned and left for naught, and we bring life to them for one night. Strong, throbbing, vibrant life in it’s purest, most intense, most hedonistic form. In these makeshift spaces, we seek to shed ourselves of the burden of uncertainty for a future you have been unable to stabilize and secure for us.
We seek to relinquish our inhibitions, and free ourselves from the shackles and restraints you’ve put on us for your own peace of mind. We seek to re-write the programming that you have tried to indoctrinate us with since the moment we were born. Programming that tells us to hate, that tells us to judge, that tells us to stuff ourselves into the nearest and most convenient pigeon hole possible. Programming that even tells us to climb ladders for you, jump through hoops, and run through mazes and on hamster wheels. Programming that tells us to eat from the shiny silver spoon you are trying to feed us with, instead of nourish ourselves with our own capable hands. Programming that tells us to close our minds, instead of open them. Until the sun rises to burn our eyes by revealing the distopian reality of the world you’ve created for us, we dance fiercely with our brothers and sisters in celebration of our life, of our culture, and of the values we believe in: Peace, Love, Freedom, Tolerance, Unity, Harmony, Expression, Responsibility and Respect.
Our enemy of choice is ignorance. Our weapon of choice is information. Our crime of choice is breaking and challenging whatever laws you feel you need to put in place to stop us from celebrating our existence. But know that while you may shut down any given party, on any given night, in any given city, in any given country or continent on this beautiful planet, you can never shut down the entire party. You don’t have access to that switch, no matter what you may think. The music will never stop. The heartbeat will never fade. The party will never end. I am a raver, and this is my manifesto.
The rave culture adores and embraces all the colors of the rainbow. The reasons for this can range from the simplicity of them being beautiful, to the esoteric symbolism that each color of the visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) corresponds to specific vortexes of energy within the localized subtle fields of human beings, usually called by their Sanskrit name, chakras. Whatever the reasons, ravers embrace all the colors of the rainbow and express them in what they wear. Being as multicolored as these bracelets are, the term ‘kandi’ is used and it seems quite fitting. One distinct accessory that ravers wear is such a bracelet known as kandi. This term is used to describe bracelets that ravers make and trade with each other. There are those (mostly in California at the moment, but in all parts of the country and perhaps world as well) who take this expression of PLUR further and do an multi-faceted handshake just prior to trading bracelets, as will be explained later.
Each piece of kandi is meaningful in its own way. Since every bracelet is home-made, they have special meaning and are created with positive emotions flowing through the person’s being, since the intent is to give freely and trade with others. By trading or giving kandi with/to another person, a person is giving a piece of themselves to that individual. Whenever that other person wears that piece of kandi, he or she will have the memories and positive feelings associated with that person with them. Trading kandi is a ritual that creates friendships, strengthens one’s conviction that interconnectedness, oneness, and empathy are quite real, and is an aspect of the rave culture that keeps it alive, because of the deeper meanings behind it. Making kandi is quite simple once one gets into the habit of creating more and more. Simple “singles” can take just a few minutes whereas intricate 3D bracelets and cuffs can take hours. All one needs is string that stretches and beads. The most common beads are plastic ones that are available in arts and crafts stores or online. There are many tutorials online as well, in case you feel you are having difficulty creating kandi. It may seem as a silly idea to those who do not understand the PLUR philosophy or for those who have never experienced a rave or a kandi trade themselves, but trading kandi is something that strengthens peoples’ understanding that interconnectedness and oneness are fundamental aspects of reality and have to be realized by all, if we truly wish to have an global evolution of consciousness.
The PLUR Handshake
Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. These are expressions of a person, group, or society that realizes the reality of oneness and empathy and has found many ways to express this. One such way is by doing a special handshake with another person. Admittedly, this is a modern invention in the rave scene, specifically kandi ravers, and many individuals who have been going to raves for several years are usually very confused as to what is going on when someone starts going through the motions of handshake. This has been called the PLUR Handshake because of the hand symbols used that stand for each letter of the PLUR acronym. The way this handshake works is that when a person wants to trade kandi with another, he or she makes a peace sign and puts it up to the other person’s peace sign, makes half of a heart with one hand and connects it to the others’ half-heart, puts his or her palm to the others’ palm, and finally interlocks his or her fingers with the others person’s fingers. After this handshake is created, and both individuals still have their hands interlocked, the trading of kandi ensues. After both individuals trade bracelets, sometimes it is followed by giving each other a massive “raver hug” and then both people will usually continue to dance in the sea of bliss that is called a rave.
Given the nature of the PLUR Handshake, there is quite a bit of physical contact involved and this very aspect of the handshake is significant in itself. A recent study has found that a warm touch seems to set off the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps create a sensation of trust, and to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The Unity aspect of PLUR truly does come to manifest into a beautiful reality. It is a wonderful expression of oneness and unity that can touch a person’s being so deeply that he or she can even experience a consciousness shift to a higher level. So go out to a rave, trade kandi, do the PLUR handshake, and experience a heart-centered consciousness shift like you never thought was possible.