For years I have been trying to help develop some kind of community-based space for not only discussing and exchanging information and opinion, but also to help encourage various ways to increase general health and safety. It is a difficult undertaking due to so many various opinions, difficult to answer questions, and conflicting perspectives.
It is not my intention to tell people how to live their lives, but rather to try and help people find answers concerning how to improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones. I want to not only encourage people to actively think for themselves, but to actively grapple with life, and ask difficult questions, and challenge themselves.
This is a good thing to do because it is thorough: you only have one life, one body, and one chance, so why not optimize the heck out of it and literally ‘be the best you can be’… It is also a good thing because as we make progress as a civilization and learn ways to positively tweak and improve the way life works, we can pass on that information to others, and gradually increase the quality of life for everyone.
I am still developing the best way I can contribute to this cause, but in the meantime, I wanted to say some direct words about health and safety.
There are good and bad aspects to many things in life. And it is possible that something can be good in one context, but bad in another. I think that is pretty much obvious. But I feel it necessary, because as I attempt to offer some words of caution, I do not want to make anyone feel unfairly judged. My hope is to encourage you all to take the best possible care of yourselves and each other.
Like most people, I did my share of experimentation when I was younger. While I was much tamer and more reserved than many of my friends, I made a decision early on that I wanted to attain the clearest, strongest, most capable mind possible. And although I still enjoy some occasional vices (drinking wine and coffee), and of course if I have a head ache I take Tylenol or whatever, I never ‘get high’ or ‘party’ irresponsibly. This is just a personal decision (and I love it! I LOVE being clear, and I deeply believe that Bassnectar has grown as a successful project in a large part due to the clarity and focus of my mind)…
In the past decade I have seen several dear friends lose their lives due to drug abuse. And I have seen a large amount of friends’ lives deteriorate (sometimes to heart-wrenching levels) due to chemical dependency or abuse.
It is obviously difficult to balance a culture of celebration, a culture of art, a culture of high-energy activity of any kind with 100% health and safety. But I deeply believe in the positive benefits of music, art, dancing, and community. For me music and dancing have been an incredibly healthy release, and this has been without drugs, on multiple levels (spiritual, physical, emotional, etc) and I am often concerned that not enough people are being responsible or taking enough care of themselves or others.
This is everything from getting enough sleep & excercise; to drinking enough water, to being responsible with drugs and alcohol. There are positive moves (improving your diet, working with an awesome counselor to make positive changes in life, working actively on goals and seeing them through) and there are negative moves (quitting smoking, avoiding dangerous habits, etc) but I feel it is important to take an active role in improving all aspects of life… I am even concerned with ear safety (which is why I wear ear plugs every night, as does everyone on my crew, and why we give away unlimited free ear plugs every night) but each and every issue has it’s own particular nuance and detail, and takes a long time to respond to and expand on.
Tragically, a week ago, someone passed away after being at a show at the Aragon. I do not have all the details, but I am told he had ingested some kind of drug (potentially mdma?) and today his mother wrote into the site. I responded to her privately, out of respect. But I felt an even more pressing need to address this issue of ‘healthy & safety” with the rest of you.
I think it is important to not only show deep respect, but also to learn from this tragedy, and spread the word about how important it is to educate yourself on being careful and healthy.
I understand that in any counter culture environment there will be exploration and experimentation, and while I am not here to judge how any of you lives, I cannot possibly overstate how important it is to make wise decisions that prioritize education, health, and safety.
Getting sidetracked by the specifics (MDMA, molly, hydration) or even by the question of what classifies as “Drugs” and what does not, all of this detracts from how important it is to cherish your life, to take care of yourself and those around you. There are so many ways to do this (educating yourself, discussing with others, making safe and wise decisions) but here is another reminder of how fragile life is, and how important it is to treat your body with extreme care. I have seen many people’s lives destroyed by drug abuse. For me personally, life is just too short and precious to take unnecessary risks, plus I have learned to love and prefer a strong, clear mind over anything else.
Please all of you: educate yourselves about drug use from reliable sources. There are a lot of resources on the net with information about drug use/abuse like http://dancesafe.org/. As with all things in life please get educated before your decide to tamper with your body.
Obviously there are dangers everywhere: frat parties, night clubs, even sporting events and every day life. Instead of living in fear, I encourage you to give constant thanks for your life and show respect for yourself and others by making the most of all that life has to offer.
I have been preparing an information and discussion area for this site, regarding health & safety and general well-being. These things take time in part because so many issues are so complex and multi-faceted. Hopefully in the meantime you can find some of this helpful: