Here I am, chipping away at my first column for Dream Creation having comfortably assumed I'd already missed the deadline during my recent impromptu trip to Goa - heartland of the trance-dance experience. What to write about? This season I departed in traditional Goa style - catching a taxi from the party to the airport, hugging all friends in sight as I left the happening dance floor overlooking Spaghetti Beach, passing through the chai shops and the motorcycle corridor to where a car could reach. Something's coming on now, yes... this last party takes my mind back to the first in 1992 - the first one in Goa, that is - after only a small handful of TIP parties in London to prepare me. It was also the first time I had taken Albert to any of these parties with me - and one particular galvanizing insight on that night made me recognize just how important these parties were. It was a big message to me, and motivated me to enjoy as much of this cosmic partying as I could from then on.
Allright, everything's cool, we're off with a subject, and will not deal much at all with the music or dj's (possibly covered elsewhere in this issue). "A New Church" is the title of the chapter in my book, Uncommon Sense, describing the new style of party (trance or otherwise). In it, I make valid comparisons between the spiritual experiences shared at parties and those on offer from established churches, between direct revelations and those handed down via committees, between the borderless party community and the disintegrating geographical community.
After writing Uncommon Sense, I received surprising corroboration in the form of a quote sent to me from a book by neurophysiologist and anthropologist Michael Adelberg, discussing tribal community building through group-reinforced activities. He writes: "Most of our social activities, and all of our explanatory activities, I will interpret as consisting of rhythmic activities in groups. The simple example is a dance: everyone moving, swaying, shaking, jerking together, in a coordinated fashion. It is not only at the heart of culture, it IS the heart of culture, and is to be found, wherever sought, as the central coordinating, socializing activity of every tribe ever described."
In Uncommon Sense, though, there is little mention of what I first saw on that beach in Goa as the key factor that makes these blasted parties so important. I share it now with dream creators.
At every good party, there are a few hundred, or thousand people, in an elevated state of consciousness, rhythmically dancing their hearts out and celebrating the joy of existence - actually stamping their feet in a co-ordinated pulse on the earth, to the rhythmic beat of a music that elevates spirits. These vibrations are very real. Though we can measure atmospheric pollutants in parts per billion, and get our entire drug history from a strand of hair, we have few tools to measure consciousness itself (as opposed to its effects upon brain chemistry). I don't even know of a device that can detect what alerts us to our partner's eyes being opened in a face-to-face close situation.
I have been acquainted since my teens with the strong effects that can be achieved by applying subtle energies to the human body, becoming familiar with acupuncture, healing, homeopathy, shiatsu, and the ever-growing field of health management that achieves results through subtle and gentle actions on the body, its aura, chakras or other energy fields, however described. It was not a big leap for me to recognize the importance of sending a clear and loud message of love to the planet - of demonstrably showing our gratitude for the wonder of the world itself. Maybe this function too, was part of the reason for Stonehenge and other sites - vibrational acupuncture points to the earth.
At other points of this globe, there are men with hard hats blasting away mountains and clear-felling virgin forests, pumping pollution into the air and pouring toxic wastes into the oceans. It is no wonder, if I can safely refer to "karma," that the planet seems to be striking back at our species with ever more natural disasters, dangerous microbes and climate changes. I mean, if the earth is managed by one all-embracing Gaia consciousness then it is probably smarter than us and also concerned with self-preservation.
By partying anywhere (and perhaps especially outdoors and on ground floors) we set up a feedback loop to the planet, sending an appreciative message that might well counteract some of the greater horrors our race visits upon it. In doing so, we could be mitigating the karmic payoff - and bringing something positive into the balance when our mother Gaia deliberates on how long she can safely endure this disrespectful offspring.
As a fall-back position at least, I feel that most bets are covered by this strategy. You can have fun, whilst playing a part in protecting and balancing the planet. One of the principles I have developed through going to parties and protests, call it Greg's Maxim #1, is that "ONLY FUN CAN SAVE THE WORLD. Greed doesn't seem to be the right approach, and fun certainly has a motivational factor all of its own - providing an inbuilt reward, as long as you never start thinking it's something you stop having when you "mature" - trading it off for security or the sake of your children.
Then again (from a doomster position) if the aforementioned conjectures are total twaddle, and our extinction on this planet is past prevention, then I am having one heaven of a good remaining existence. And undoubtedly much of the substance use will be preparing my consciousness for any oncoming transition.
And if my concerns or impressions are unfounded, and we can look forward to a stable and healthy future without changing anything much in the cultural status quo, then I will not be at all disappointed and shall take great comfort in having followed Gellert's maxim "Live as you will have wished to live when you are dying."
(Published in mar/apr 1999 Dream Creation Magazine - UK)