There is a famous question that asks, “Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?” I chose to tweak the question and ask, “Do drugs imitate music, or does music imitate drugs?” There is an obvious correlation between the two and each evolves over time while influencing the other. The reason I ask this question is because of the shift we have seen in music culture and drug use in society today. It seems like you can’t talk about one without the other when talking about electronic dance music or dubstep. It especially doesn’t help when new music festivals and raves are popping up on a monthly basis. Drugs are destroying our youth at an alarming rate and for someone who is sober, like me, it makes it almost impossible to go out and enjoy an electronic show. So now the question arises if there is such a strong influence between the two, can we really fully appreciate music separate the drugs? I believe we can.
Electronic music has taken over the industry. Even mainstream artists like Britney Spears have hopped on the bandwagon and have turned what used to be pop into dance/electronica. We now have “dubstep” artists like Skrillex winning multiple Grammy awards when only a year or two ago most people would be asking, “what’s dubstep?” We all know that the drug scene and the music fueled the 60’s. The summer of love was filled with groovy tunes and psychedelics, but under all of the free love and drug use was a deeper movement concerned with freedom and peace. The hippies were concerned with humanity and I consider their culture a bright spot in America’s history. I can’t say the same for today’s new rave scene. It actually infuriates me. I’m infuriated by the fact that the rave scene is now mainstream rather than underground, which has made drug use open and socially acceptable, much like the 60’s. People now post pictures of themselves “rolling” on Facebook much like they would post a picture of themselves holding a beer. I’m also infuriated with the fact that electronic music has such a strong drug following. Drugs run rampant in music culture, but would we have the same taste and preference for music if it weren’t for the drugs being made and used at the time? Would electronic music have the following it does if it weren’t for the mass production of ecstasy? Or is the music to blame? Couldn’t one go as far as to blame the electronic music industry for today’s youth drug abuse? Maybe not to that extreme but I believe the blame lands somewhere in between. Both parties are responsible, but the fact of the matter is that even though there is a correlation between the two, I believe music should not influence drug culture and vice versa. Music should stand free and be appreciated on its own for what it truly is. The drug scene has flooded and polluted music, one of the purest forms of expression. People need to realize that they do not need drugs to fully appreciate electronic music and the culture that surrounds it.
The most abused drug at raves is definitely ecstasy, which contains the main ingredient MDMA. I myself have had a lot of experience with this drug. What is so alluring and powerful about MDMA is that it does something to your mind where you experience a new depth of emotion in the music you are listening to. You are more receptive to the beauty and the feeling within the music and within yourself. There is something unexplainable about the connection you feel to everybody around you moving to the same beat and frequency. You feel one with the music and one with the people around you. I’m not going to lie, I love ecstasy, but in being a member of AA I have to stay away from all mind-altering substances. Then how do I find this same connection without the use of drugs? What I have found in sobriety is that you don’t actually need the drugs to reach this euphoric place of appreciation. Drugs give you just a brief glimpse into the connection that is possible through sobriety if you are willing to put in the work. What you’re really learning to do in sobriety is to achieve a state of being that is the focus and crossroads of many religions, spiritualities, and ideologies. It’s what the Buddhists achieve in meditating, it’s what the Taoists achieve in “fasting the heart”, and it’s what the positive psychologists document as “flow”. In this case it’s what ravers call “rolling”. These are all different perspectives on a single phenomenon in which we can tap into a great human potential that we all share, and in which we can achieve a deeper connection with music and ourselves without the use of drugs.
Filed under: Alcohol and Drugs, Celebrity, Featured, Recovery, Spirituality · Tags: 60's, Addiction, Addiction Treatment, drug addiction, dubstep, ecstacy, electronica music, mdm, MDMA, music, rave scene, raves, Recovery, Skrillex, sobriety