In his CairoScene debut, Seif Bibars - a true champion of Egypt's nightlife and music scene - philosophises on Cairo's collective conscious and the impulses, guilt and misconceptions of letting loose.
We, and by “we” I mean a handful of Egyptian social elite, are fortunate enough to be born into a life where our most worrying dilemma is how will we have fun and enjoy ourselves; how we will reach the highest level of “bliss” or “ecstasy” on a regular basis and in a sustainable way that won’t pose a threat to our wellbeing. In other words, how to party and take drugs every week (alcohol is a also a drug) without ruining our lives. We strive to balance out our normal lives (jobs, relationships, health, financial security etc.) with our make belief fantasy worlds that exist only in our collective conscious on weekends. Every end of the week, we join forces to initiate the start of a hedonistic, semi-occult ritual otherwise known as clubbing where we celebrate ourselves and this life and all that is beautiful around us. On a weekly basis, we attempt to indulge in this ritual with more passion and dedication than we do with most other things in our lives. It is our one escape from the gloomy reality we live in; the unrealised utopian aspirations of most of those who are enlightened amongst us exist in our fantasy weekend wonderland. This ecstasy does exist and, even if it’s short lived and fleeting, it’s the nearest thing to a perfect world where everyone loves one another, where judgment doesn’t live, instead replaced by tolerance and acceptance. It’s a mystical world that is fueled by smiling faces, enthralling music and copious amounts of the narcotics and booze that drive these parties and help us break away from our realities. Yet, somehow, an awkward feeling is prevalent and you feel it more in this country more than in any other place… The feeling that you’re doing something wrong.
There is a cognitive dissonance that exists in the minds of many, I couldn’t point out exactly who, as I believe we are all guilty of it, since we were raised in a society that has managed to instill a relevance between extreme pleasure and the feeling of guilt, where our innocent shenanigans have been described as “debauchery” or in Arabic “fogr”; a very dangerous description and a threat to our lifestyle. This gives you the feeling that you’re setting out to do something wrong and if you perceive it that way and go through with it then “doing something wrong” doesn’t concern you anymore (at least for the remainder of the weekend). By that you have broken the boundary of doing something wrong for the sake of pleasure or having fun. So any opportunity that arises and could potentially lead to you having fun is considered carefully. Slowly the atmosphere changes and other factors come into play.
If you start out by breaking the boundary of doing something ‘wrong’ then you will no longer stop yourself at the thought, be it taking the piss out of some poor guy who isn't at his best or taking advantage of a girl that you know you will have no interest in the next morning. I understand that people doing these things have no intention of harming the other person but, deep down inside them, they have this horrible feeling that they're doing something wrong and – worse – can’t muster the willpower to themselves. I also was guilty of this until I discovered that the moment you stop listening to this internal voice and go against it is the very same moment that it will stop alerting you. You are basically shutting down your gut instincts. It’s important to break free from this and let your feelings flow naturally or else you will find yourself in situations that are awkward and un-natural.
In my opinion, this is happening because people have a misconception that if they stop listening to their inner-voice, if only for a night, then they’re pretty much fucked. This is especially abundant in countries like ours since values and traditions instilled in us by society have conditioned us to feel guilty of our impulses. However, there is no reason for it to be this way. Nowhere in my studies of religions and spiritual beliefs have I found a statement that condemns people to hell if they let loose a bit. Even in the most conservative religions, like Islam for instance, there is not one single phrase that says that you will be committed to hell fire if you do a specific action. On the contrary, what is said is that god is merciful and gracious and that even if you commit a wrong doing you are easily forgiven so there is no reason for anyone to lose his consciousness and leave his spirituality behind to be able to have fun.
A greater power is directing us all and this greater power is our collective consciousness and naturally it is present during all times. What we all process and submit into this world is what drives this collective into being, so, if some of us are driving this collective into negativity, we are all affected, especially as spirituality is a great part of our lives as Egyptians. If, however, like myself and many other people who have found a way to balance out their karma and enjoy a tight relationship with God, yet are still able to let loose and have fun and still not lose their conscious amidst all the debauc.. umm, festivities, then you are on the right track. Always remember that if you feel un-easy about something, it's wrong and if you feel something flows easily, it's right. Upon understanding this, you will no longer derive enjoyment from judging another person just because it’s fun. You won’t take advantage of anyone else because your inner consciousness won’t let you. Although these things may seem small, they have a big impact on society and are the things that make all the difference.
In my own evaluation, and with what’s been happening in the world lately, I do not see that things like partying is against religion. The problem doesn’t lie in religion, it lies in the fact that we compare ourselves to people around us and what society says we should be doing and as long as we do this, we will always have mixed feelings and emotions about ourselves and everything around us. Instead, we should focus that what is good in this world is beauty and those who appreciate it. If you put these values in mind when you are out partying, you will find that the reason behind your outings is not "debauchery" but to celebrate yourself by performing a mystical dance. You will want to be beautiful not because of the CairoZoom cameras or to impress a girl on the dance-floor, but in order to celebrate beauty itself. Only then will you become a true hedonist; a weekend warrior that is guided by one set of cognitive beliefs and that is to value beauty and the life force that drives us all.