Photos courtesy of Ethan Pham/The Paisano

Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.

PLUR is the four letter acronym that nearly everyone in the rave community knows by heart. PLUR is a term that transcends the dance floors and bass-ridden spaces of the rave community. What once started as a simple set of principles has manifested into an entire ideology and philosophy of its own. It has driven the empowerment and growth of so many people in the rave community and has the potential to do so on a universal scale.

PLUR is often credited as beginning its journey in the early ‘90s, but the history of PLUR is often complicated and debated. Many acronyms were used and at the time, but none had stuck yet. During the beginnings of modern raving, many thoughts about what the rave community represented were surfacing. Many were using peace, love, unity and respect, but not as the term “PLUR.” As one of the favored tales goes, during a show, DJ Frankie Bones stopped his mixing to break up a fight during his set; he stopped to say, “if you don’t start showing some peace, love and unity, I’ll break your f***ing faces.” He hadn’t mentioned respect explicitly, but after that moment the phrase began to gain more traction. Many also had opinions on what the rave community stood for, and they defined it in terms of peace, love, unity, respect, understanding and responsibility. After PLUR surfaced on promotional flyers, it became heavily used in the rave community. The term became a crucial part of rave culture.

While the history of PLUR is hard to narrow down to a single origin timeline, it speaks to the rave community itself. It has grown, not by a single person or entity, but by a collective of people, which is exactly what PLUR means to do.

Raves are ritualistic, tribal and communal activities. Ravers have a strong sense of “we” rather than “I”, and PLUR contributes to much of that. Ravers, like me, come together to embrace ourselves; we come together to dance, we come together to share an experience and we come together as one.

PLUR drives how we treat others both on the dance floor and in our everyday lives.

Peace. The first pillar; is the avoidance of conflict and negative emotions. It is the calmness that lingers in our hearts and with the hearts of others. It begins the story for the rest of PLUR.

Love. The next pillar is the showing and spreading of goodwill, as well as caring about others. It is the unconditional appreciation for everyone. It is loving ourselves and caring for friends and strangers the same way we would care for ourselves.

Unity. This pillar promotes coming together as a community regardless of our differences. It is appreciating the bigger picture rather than focusing just on ourselves. It is the coming together to appreciate happiness as one.

Respect. This final pillar ties it together. It is accepting each other and withholding judgment. It is respecting ourselves and treating others the way we want to be treated.

All of these pillars culminate to deliver a message. PLUR is a lifestyle that drives those who believe in it to be the best they can be for themselves and for others. You do not need to go to a rave or be a part of the rave community to take these principles to heart. PLUR has seen its main audience within the rave community, but it has the potential to surpass that and be a way we can all live our lives. It teaches us to come together, to love one another, care for each other and to make this world a better place.

PLUR believers understand that ultimately we are beings who want to feel loved, so we love everyone. We don’t care where you come from or what you look like, we accept everyone. And while this isn’t achieved every day, it is the virtue we strive for. Ravers will say that raves are the happiest place in the universe and it is because PLUR is part of the foundation we have used to build these places of freedom and acceptance.

PLUR has driven the rave community to create spectacles where people are free and blissful. We are empowered to shine in our own unique way. PLUR is liberation ways that are positive for all: it is a shared agreement that brings us happiness. PLUR is here to stay.

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