PLUR and how these raver ideals fit into glowsticking.com. I'm going out on a limb here. Just allow me to state that a guy who never could have imagined himself a raver or clubber or glowsticker a few years ago is -right here- going to attempt to explain a few of the ideals of our scene. By doing so I hope to share some insight into the scene as well as the idealistic microcosm of society that is our glowsticking.com community. And perhaps you can learn a little something about yourself along the way as well.
Keep in mind that this is my view and other's view of PLUR, and that you may have your own.
First off, some of you newbies may ask:
"What is PLUR?"
PLUR is an acronym widely regarded as the raver's mantra and highest ideal. It comes in many forms and guises, but most familiarly in this 4 letter version:
P - Peace L- Love U - Unity R- Respect
Some others add another R for "Responsibility" and etc. I'll stick to the simple four letter PLUR for this article.
Now that we know what it stands for, what does this actually translate into?
I'm going to quote some other opinions from www.hyperreal.org, in which we can find posts about PLUR dating back to the mid 1990s, about the time that PLUR was first becoming popular as a raver catchphrase.
Mon, 9 Oct 1995 05:43:54 -0400
Subject: Re: P.L.U.R.
This is Ecto's (Brad Finley's) definition of PLUR as printed in the July  issue of PLRM [Peace Love Rave Magazine]:
We are all connected. And do you know what connects us all? On the net it's called PLUR. No it's not a dishwater detergent, its an acronym that stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. These are big words and may be difficult to define but here are some ideas:
The calmness you find with those around you, and also inside of yourself. It's tough, we often have to work at it but when you're at peace with others, with ourselves and with our planet, only good can come of it.
The caring you feel for friends, for strangers, for those in need and also for caring you show for yourself. It's symbiotic, it's about sharing. Whatever energy you put into something will be returned to you!
This means we all share a lot of common things, regardless of our age, gender, race, orientation, whatever! We are all human beings, we all need other people, and we're all in this for the happiness experienced by being around others. Though we may have differences, we all arise from the same source.
This may mean respect for others, their ideas, their music, and their lives. It's also respect for one's self, one's body and the needs that it has (food, sleep, etc). Educating yourself on the substances you ingest shows love and respect for your body; passing on the knowledge to others shows respect and love for your fellow person.
Here is how Spike (Rafael C Gonzalez) from ne-raves chose to practice PLUR:
One more thing, as the hippie that I am I believe in PLUR for myself, in that I will practice it, and I know that it is an ideal. Not everyone follows it and not everyone believes in it, it is a personal choice I make in an attempt to continue to develop new morals and values as I continue on through life. That personal choice affects others and they react to my choice in a way which they personally choose also. This will not make me change my values for them, but it will cause me to react to their reactions of my actions. Thus, I will be forever changing my ideas based on the actions of others based on my initial actions. What does this mean? Well, it is just a way of saying that my views of PLUR are because I do feel it is possible for me to love until I am acting on someone’s belief that I am not to love. Basically, I give peace when given peace; I give love when given love; I am united with one when they seek union with me; and I respect when I am respected.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There is evil and there is good, and without one there can not be the other. It is a philosophy of balance and wholeness that I believe PLUR is. And no I don’t always see it, no I don’t think it exist everywhere, but I have it, and in a way that is all that matters, since if it is within me, it is possible to be everywhere. One is all. We are all connected.
And from Laura LaGassa (
The "four pillars" of the "house" or "rave" community are peace, love, unity, and respect. I'd always heard peace / love / unity around here (here being the East Coast) but it wasn't until I came in contact with Brian from San Francisco that I heard the fourth one, respect.
And then suddenly it all became clear to me. You can't have peace, love, and unity without respect. And even more importantly, each individual is responsible for finding, maintaining and giving peace, love, unity, and respect. It isn't just handed to you. It doesn't just magically appear because you've arrived at a rave or taken some acid or ecstasy. You have to find it and generate it for yourself, and then give it away to anyone and everyone to sort of "jump start" them into generating it. The "giving away" of it is what makes up, in my mind, the "vibe."
Peace is what you use to chill out when the sound system blows and the music stops for ten minutes. It's what you use when some idiot keeps bumping in to you while dancing. It's sort of like serenity and being calm. Stuff happens, and you deal with it.
Love is an unconditional appreciation of something or someone. It combines with peace to allow you to think things like "Frankie Bones isn't a bad guy, in spite of his flapping mouth." The peace gives you the chill factor so you can get to the unconditional love.
Once you have peace and love, unity follows in that you can appreciate other people and other things, and this appreciation allows you to work together with them or spend time together with them, and otherwise support them even if you don't always agree with them. A sense of something "bigger" than just yourself and your own pleasure is part of unity -- in the case of us on the list, the "bigger" thing is an interest in the odd social phenomena known as "raving." Unity helps me to do things like throw good parties for the ne-raves list, even though there are people who are on the list and who might come to these parties who I'd rather not have anything to do with. It is in the spirit of greater unity that I chill with these feelings (peace again) and welcome everyone into my home so they can be together and have fun.
This, to me, is the key that is often missing in our scene. People get too much into flaming (and I admit, I've been guilty of this). People are more worried about being disrespected by others rather than concentrating on generating and giving respect. This is the most difficult one for me to explain because I've had the least amount of time to think about it. Respect includes things like not putting graffiti on walls at raves, picking up your trash, and giving whatever you can as a donation when the hat is passed at a free event. It also includes separating yourself from what you don't like, while allowing it to continue uninterrupted because people other than yourself are getting enjoyment from it. For example, take my feelings toward the majority of break beat - I really don't like it, so when it is played I go chill with some friends and wait until the set is over. I used to whine and complain, but then it sunk in to me that other people were getting something from it, and by trying to suppress their enjoyment I was showing extreme disrespect for them.)
Here's a story of PLUR that unites a raver with the cops:
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 1996 16:30:55 -0700 (MST)
So I went to Technique last night and had a semi decent time. At about three thirty I sat down with my friends and butt watched for a while (not really, but that's all you can see from that perspective). Anyway I noticed a cop walking by just jamming to the music in his own little way, and having never seen such an amazing sight before I reached out and grabbed his hand on impulse. He turned around smiled and squeezed my hand and proceeded towards the DJ. I just have one thing to say about this incident (keeping in mind that I am often prejudiced toward cops). What is probably the biggest danger to the rave world? Busted parties? Everything each one of us does while at a party reflects on everyone else, so when spreading the vibe around, please don't discriminate.
I'm not sure if I can word it any better, so I'll leave it at that (plus that was already long). But if you take the time to read them all slowly and analyze these varied definitions, you'll find some beautiful words and emotions. PLUR is not just an acronym for an ideal, it's a very way of life. PLUR does not come from all around us but from inside us. Ravers are the force through which PLUR is achieved.
History of PLUR:
Who actually coined the term "PLUR" is not known. However, PLUR is widely attributed to the well known DJ Frankie Bones. From an essay on the rave scene:
"Frankie Bones, a New York native, was one of the US DJs that was spinning in England. When he saw that the scene was moving into America, he wanted to bring it to his hometown of Brooklyn. He started a series of parties called Stormrave in early 1992. The parties started out small, 50-100 kids, and Frankie resorted to projecting videos of the massive raves in England to show kids what it was all about. It was during this period of Stormraves that many DJs made their debuts. Now household names among ravers, Sven Vath, Doc Martin, Keoki, Josh Wink and many others began their careers at Frankie's Stormraves. It was in December of 1992 that the rave scene started growing. Frankie held a party at an abandoned loading dock in Queens that drew over 5,000 kids from New York and neighboring states. According to rave myth, this was when Frankie made his speech about peace, love, unity, and respect, which were to become PLUR, the foundation of the American rave scene."
Other sources mentioned that a fight broke out during one of the Stormraves, and Frankie was heard to ask the crowd 'where was the Peace, Love, and Unity' and even verbally threaten the brawlers.
Some other alternate theories of the origins of PLUR:
From: Laura LaGassa
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 11:29:33 -0800
I saw that article when it was posted a year ago, and posted a reply explaining a lot more about where PLUR really originated, but I can't seem to find anything but this. Anyway, my point is that the "Frankie Bones" story is wrong.
Here's what happened:
Lots of people in the New York area, Frankie Bones included, were saying "peace / love / unity" all the time in 1992-1993.
In about May of 1993, Brian Behlendorf came out to visit the East Coast from San Francisco. He brought along a bunch of literature, including Geoff White's booklet, "Cybertribe Rising." In it was an essay -- by Geoff I believe -- about the "4 Pillars of the House Community." One of those pillars was "respect," which I had never heard uttered in combination with "peace / love / unity" on the East Coast. Sure, I'd seen "respect" on it's own, especially on flyers where people would give "shout outs" to people who helped put on a party, but it was not really prominent.
So in very early June, 1993, Brian and I were at a renegade party held at RFK stadium's parking lot in Washington DC, and we started talking about the spirits and feelings behind raving. I said something about "peace / love / unity" and Brian immediately added "and don't forget respect." From there it hit me that a lot of people would say "peace / love / unity" and not mention respect. So, I went and wrote the essay you have at http://www.hyperreal.com/raves/spirit/plur/PLUR.html
When I wrote it, though, I didn't have the acronym "PLUR" attached to it. I wrote the essay and posted it to ne-raves, in early June of 1993. Very shortly thereafter, one ne-raver, Rishad Quazi (who now lives in SF), signed an e-mail to the list with "PLUR." It caught on like wildfire, and Rishad's encapsulation is now in extremely common use.
Now, getting back to Frankie Bones:
In late June of 1993, I spun at a party that the old Storm Rave crew (Frankie Bones, Adam X, Heather Heart) were putting on in conjunction with the New Music Seminar in New York City. During that party, a scuffle broke out between rival gang members. Frankie jumped up on the turntables and started shouting "If you guys don't show some peace, love and unity right now I'm going to break your faces." He didn't mention "respect" explicitly.
I've been to all the Storm Raves except for those in early 1992, and Frankie made a lot of speeches. In April of 1993 he made one in a warehouse after an extremely good night (it was the STOP party held the night before Easter). He did say why he brought raves to NY, and talked about the first party he spun at outside of London, and said "we're about bringing music and dancing to places where there's no music and dancing." And when he finished, people did roar and wave their hands in the air, but he didn't articulate PLUR as such.
And it wasn't Dan Freelove who was the first ne-raver to use PLUR as an acronym. I'm about 99% sure it was Rishad Quazi. And if it wasn't Rishad, then it probably was Dan, but I'm still mostly sure it was Rishad.
So there you have it, the story from someone who was actually there. I think a lot more of the credit goes to Geoff White and Rishad Quazi than to Frankie Bones is all I'm getting at. And some goes to me and Brian. :-)
Regardless of whoever first came up with the idea of PLUR, it's impact is significant. PLUR is now part of the vocabulary of ravers from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast.
PLUR and Glowsticking.com:
Glowsticking.com (GS.C) is a section of the Rave community as a glowsticking website and I am glad to say that we at GS.C are highly dedicated to maintaining the spirit of PLUR.
You may look around yourself - the world is filled with hate, fear, and suffering and you may find yourself asking how anything will ever improve or change. Even at some raves you may see it, and on the GS.C forums.
The Rave Scene at it's most idealistic is a unique case, changing one person at a time. Everyone is welcome to come. Raves are hedonistic parties where tolerance is practiced, hopefully without infringing on other people's rights. People gather to dance and listen to music and chill, and the only worry is when the party will end and whether the cops will break it up. The Rave Scene is a neo-hippie movement, with a simple life of enjoying dancing and music.
So is GS.C; a place for people to chill. Tolerance is a virtue, friends and strangers gather, glowsticks are broken and friends made. No one is judged by how good they are but by how open their heart is. PLUR is a philosophy that is not always said but is always on the mind.
PLUR is a simple thing. It's just a vocalization for what is, in my mind, another definition for having loving-kindness for all people and all things. If all people lived by PLUR, then we'd achieve heaven on earth.
GS.C strives to spread all those ideals and PLUR through glowsticks and people. Teaching glowsticking with non-competitiveness and no battling is a big part of maintaining the PLUR. GS.C’s take on PLUR can be seen in our glowsticking meet-ups and ultra circles.
I'm going to end with an inspiration of mine. Many of iloveraving.com- GS.C's predecessor forum (ILR)- offered this wisdom:
"Ultra circles were for ILR to unite and show the world what ILR is about. ILR is not about glowsticks and glowstickers. Glowsticks were just the means to get people interested in ILR. ILR is the real light. A light that sends a message of a community; peace, love, unity and respect. And yes I am one that believes in PLUR. PLUR not just for raving, it's a way of life."
That is the sort of thing that is inspiring to me and many other long time members of GS.C. And we continue to pass on that message to anyone who wishes to learn.
- Article written by Kaelgotrice
- Edited for grammar, spelling and easier reading format by Ph0toN and as such quotes are no longer 100% directly quoted; 09-23-09
Glowsticking.com has existed since 2002, with its roots tracing back to 2000. What kind of a web site is this? Is it a "dance" site? Is it a "rave" site? Is it a "urban" popping and locking type of web site? Is it some sort of performance art specialization site? Just what is glowsticking.com, and who is welcome?
Glowsticking.com has evolved into all of the above and more. Our roots are in the rave culture-- thus we share the values of tolerance, openness, and further progression of the arts. We may be realists and we may be pragmatic, but optimism is our guiding light.
But foremost is the thought that art isn't done alone. It's done with others. To make us smile. To expand our horizons. To laugh, to smile.
The glowstick is a great metaphor. A cheery luminescent light that provides a safe and effective light for soldiers, for fisherman, to protect kids at Halloween, a night light, emanating out into the vast expanse of the "real world", or in case of an emergency... A glowstick is an effective tool and intrinsically brings a smile to even a child’s face.
Do you remember the first time you cracked a glowstick? No? Perhaps you should. I don't know anyone, not even an adult, who doesn't have a small smile when seeing the soft glow of a glowstick for the first time.
Are we strictly a "rave" site? Of course not. We share influences from many other disciplines and cultures and we pay respect to different ways of thinking. Are we strictly a technically orientated "dance site"? No, of course not. Many members of our site don't even glowstick.
So what is glowsticking.com?
Glowsticking.com is... the best I can describe.. an ideal. It's a community in which there are few rules, but the rules are intended to help everyone. Glowsticking.com is a community, made up of all kinds of people from all sorts of backgrounds. We try not to label and we try to be open-minded. Glowsticking.com is about helping each other and helping each other push the art of glowsticking forward. But really... the glowsticking is an afterthought-- it's the community spirit that truly drives us, with meet-ups held around the world, with friendships and relationships made every day, inching us closer to that ideal of a perfect world...
Because of this ideal, some tenets, such as aggression, hostility, cheating, arrogance and negative competition, are frowned upon. Some people use the term "battling", a word that comes from hip-hop culture, to describe friendly competitions. We do not. We prefer to use terms such as collaborations, sessions, exchanges, and circles. The competitive spirit is strong within humanity, and why not? It has made us push forward the arts and sciences and makes us reward our audiences and our friends.
But negative competition, at the expense of others? That's where we draw the line, and that's where we choose to turn our backs from that darkness and into the soft glow that is GS.C. Glowsticking.com promotes this ideology, and we try to push towards being fair in our every day lives as well.
Our members are some of the most talented, knowledgeable, and open-minded people in the world. Glowsticking.com isn't about just glowsticking-- it's about interacting with a community of individuals who see the world with all of its inadequacies, turmoil, troubles, wars and battles, and choose to see the life behind it all. Aside from that small commonality of either being a glowsticker or enjoying glowsticking, we are a pretty diverse group of people.
Glowsticking.com is a lot of things. But above all, it's definitely one thing: A positive, active, community, and if you can fit into that, then you will find we have much to offer.