I've been to, and have friends who are, but I never "drank the Kool-Aid" and "joined together in the band." It was always just a little too blissfully carefree and non
-intellectual to appeal to me for more than a half-day at a time. However, on a positive note, many of ladies in attendance were certainly pretty and...um...friendly
I think a lot of it was a phenomena of the times the Dead were decanted
in. They were the distillation of several societal trends and experiments of the late 60s and early 70s. And hallucinogens may have been a significant part of it - being the communal sacramental
metaphor so to speak. But that doesn't explain it all. Drugs were also a large part of the short-lived "rave" culture. And that didn't spawn what is effectively a quasi-nomadic church like the Dead did.
What I really think the Dead provided was a sense of community during a time when the entire notion of 'community' seemed to be in full retreat. Now there's a new generation, which is more comfortable living in an electronic cocoon than their elders ever were (or likely ever will be) and who don't seem to have that need. Or if they do, it's a for very
different species of 'community' than any that existed (or was able to exist) before the advent of Internet.
The internet changed everything. On a very profound and personal level. So much so, that the basic notion of what it means to be a 'human' being living in 'human' society is very different - and more importantly, uniquely different
- than it has ever been before.
Have the Dead outlived their time? Not so long as there are believers. But like the Egyptian deities, once the last believer has gone to their eternal reward, or punishment, or next stage of existence, or perhaps just simple oblivion, the Dead will likely fade into history, then become legend, and then become myth -as Galadriel observed all things must, in Lord of the Rings. We now return our souls to the creator,
as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness.
Let our chant fill the void
in order that others may know.
In the land of the night
the ship of the sun
is drawn by the grateful dead."
-- Egyptian Book of the Dead
What a long strange trip it's been.