Raves Essay, Research Paper
Raves are a special kinds of parties where people dance and socialize. At these parties there are a wide range of people who have a distinct style of clothing and life style. Because there are usually drugs and alcohol at raves, they remain illegal in most places. Due to the secluded locations and the underground nature of these parties, they are not usually raided up by the police. Although raves are relatively safe places to be because of the low number of incidents involving violence, they are dangerous for other reasons. Long term use of rave drugs such as ecstasy at raves, has the potential for causing permanent brain damage. Even though raves are still illegal in the US and most other countries, Rave Culture attracts people from all walks of life. Raves began in Europe within recent years, evolving from the disco dance clubs that had previously been successful. The two are different because the music played at raves was either techno, drum and bass, or house. Techno is a type of music involving electronically-created beats mixed with looped sounds, such as someone saying a phrase or a noise that the artist finds interesting and wishes to include in the song. This music and others like it can be created on a normal computer or when a DJ mixes bass, beats, and samples through several turntables where records are played and uses a mixer to control what sounds come from each turntable. All these types of music are variations of heavy electronic music that is easy to dance to. When this music was accompanied by drugs and alcohol, the underground rave scene had started. Word of upcoming parties was spread by word of mouth throughout the underground Rave Culture that was brewing in England, France, and Germany. The popularity of the rave scene grew and with the increasing popularity came expansion across the Atlantic and into the New York night life. Along with loud music and young people dancing, there are drugs at raves. The most common drug used at raves is ecstasy. Its medical name is MDMA, and long-term use of this and other rave drugs has been shown to cause brain damage. It is so widely used because it’s supposed to be a “euphoric blockbuster,” creating an enjoyable night by removing inhibitions and inducing euphoria. However, one consequence of erased inhibitions is, it can leave users waking up the next morning regretting decisions that they might have made the night before. Some other drugs that are common at raves are LSD, Special K (Ketamine), Speed (Methamphetamines), Cocaine, and Heroin. All these drugs are routinely taken along with ecstasy to prolong its effects, to make one more “hyper,” or to make it all seem “groovier.” Most, if not all, of these drugs are as dangerous or possibly more dangerous than ecstasy, and nobody knows what all the possible combinations might do to the complex network of the brain. On the other hand, Ecstasy is one of the least deadly drugs. It’s estimated that out of every 1 million doses of ecstasy that are taken, only 7 people die from it, and most of those deaths were related to the combined effects of ecstasy, other drugs, dehydration, and heat from the dance floor. Raves are usually held in out-of-the-way places such as warehouses, fields, and abandoned buildings. These are the most convenient places because there are usually no property owners to bother the ravers and parties attract the least amount of attention there. In Europe, where the police are more relaxed about the club and rave scene, there are “parties” that almost mirror a rave atmosphere which are legally held at club venues. Raves have always been illegal. They are not usually raided by police and, when they are broken up, only the drug dealers face serious charges. The people attending the rave parties are all relatively young. The oldest age is around thirty years old and there can be people as young as 13 there. These people come for different reasons; some are there to socialize, some come to dance, and a few come only to take drugs. Most of the people are “recreational drug users,” meaning they only do drugs at parties. This is contrary to what one would expect, but it’s true that most of the people there are not hardcore drug addicts. One problem with this recreational drug use, however, is when someone does develops a drug habit, they have no support group because their friends are still having too much fun to be of any help. One hears about positive experiences during raves. One of these is from a girl named Christie. She posted her spiritual rave experience on the Internet: “My eyes were almost shut at this moment. Then I opened them wide and gazed upon a brilliant spectacle. I was not frightened, but couldn’t believe I was seeing what appeared as an angel hovering over me. Just to the left of the couch was a creature (I say this because I truly don’t know what it was) with streams of pastel light flowing through its entire existence. I slowly blinked to sort of cleanse what couldn’t be possible before my eyes. As I did this, it blinked with me also. I actually watched its eyes blink with mine. It didn’t have the eyes of a human, and I don’t believe this was some sort of terrestrial. The eyes were human shaped, but there were no eyes in there. Just the blackness of the room. It a had a pleasant expression, and this pure flowing light throughout its face. It appeared to have the shape of wings and the light dissipated at all of its edges. There was a translucence about it and yet the rest of the room stayed pitch black, as it was not actually lighting the room. I saw this brilliant creature for approximately twenty seconds, watching its colors move and transcend into one another. Then it was gone.” Spiritual experiences like this can happen at raves but most people say that, when they started raving, it just changed them for the better. Raving has changed some people’s lives by making them more independent, loving, sociable, outgoing, and a better outlook on life. A young man posted his feelings of personal change through raving, which has made him a very happy person. “Raves have allowed me to “touch base” with reality and humanity. Capitalism sucks. People are beautiful. People ought to tell other people that they are beautiful more often. The love and bonding experienced at raves needs to be carried out into the world. We are the visionaries, and it is our job to slowly change society. There was a women’s movement, a sexual revolution, and many other giant steps made by previous generations. It is now time for the next revolution, the one back to realizing the beauty of humanity” (Internet #1). Based on these reports, one could assume that a rave party is a very happy place to be. People say there is lots of love, happiness, and warmth. It has been described as “…something you don’t want to walk away from.” However, there are also negative aspects of raves. There are some serious problems with the drugs at raves. Mind-altering drugs are unpredictable and there is no way to know how they will affect a certain person on any given night. For example, one guy described his experiences: “My friends and I did some shrooms (a chemical in some mushrooms, psilocybin, that produces LSD-like effects) one night and, as they started to see things they were describing to me, I started to feel ill. After 10 minutes more, my friend’s face became the scariest thing you could ever think of; I couldn’t describe it then or now. As the room started to melt, I became terrified. It was a good thing that some girl at his house held me and made sure I knew it was just a chemical and that it couldn’t hurt me. I was like a little baby in her arms, but if she hadn’t been there, I don’t know what would have happened…”. Other bad aspects of Rave Culture involve the law. Raves are illegal because of the drugs and illegal venues. People caught there can receive citations, trespassing violations, and drug dealers can receive severe penalties. New studies have also shown how long-term use of ecstasy and other drugs can cause mild to severe brain damage. These results have scientists pushing the panic button. But most importantly, a few very unlucky young people every year lose their future, hopes, and dreams by overdosing, or die under other circumstances at raves and clubs. Even through all the controversy, medical studies, media propaganda, and legal prohibitions, people still choose to attend and enthusiastically endorse raves, but this doesn’t make them bad people or make them totally different from the rest of us. A survey of the values of drug users reported some interesting findings. The survey showed that most drug users, “Trust and respect their families to a similar extent to other teenagers, are more independent and less introverted than those who do not use drugs, decide to use drugs themselves rather than through pressure, are not significantly more rebellious than others except in their attitudes towards police. They lead active lives without being dominated by drug usage, have a reasonably clear understanding of the risks involved, are optimistic about their futures and capable of thinking ahead, disapprove of behavior they regard as being out of control, are no less moral than those who do not use drugs, and finally, have similar moral and political concerns to non-users.” So ravers are different in some ways than normal people, but not in ways one would expect. The “Junkie” mold fits only a small minority of drug users. The future of raves is uncertain. One thing for sure is, they will still be around for a while or until they evolve into something else, much as they evolved out of the discos of the 1970’s. They will still be illegal for awhile everywhere, and it is almost certain that they will stay illegal in the US for many years to come. In contrast, the political leaders of Amsterdam, who have solved some of the problems of the past by legalizing marijuana and prostitution, have been considering introducing legislation that would provide a system of supervised ecstasy sale. This would be one step towards the legalization of raves, but they would still probably remain illegal, however, because of the presence of other drugs.