It went through many different names. But, by and large, you can easily tell a goth from other movements that may look gothic, but are not.
This is one of the biggest challenges in the gothic movement because there is really no one set of shared values. There is no one founding document that establishes what the goth lifestyle, the goth outlook, as well as the goth sensibility is and is not.
This is very different from art movements like surrealism or pop art or abstract expressionism. This is very different also from the beat or beatnik and hippie generations of the 50s and 60s. In fact, if you think about the elements of goth and how it has changed throughout the years, it should become fairly obvious that this movement, just like most other youth movements, is one of a kind. It is unique.
It’s very easy to kind of pigeonhole and stereotype goth culture, at least in the past 40 years, to a specific type of music. If you are into the goth lifestyle, you probably already know this. You probably have heard of Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, and other similar bands.
But unfortunately, to stereotype or otherwise summarize the whole goth experience, lifestyle, sensibility and world outlook based solely on a strain of music would be to do a big disservice to the movement at large.
There is something sublime about the fact that life can only be sustained if death is part of the picture. In other words, when you look at the nitrogen cycle, for example, an organism has to be born, grow, get sick, die, and then its nutrients fuel the next cycle of growth.
And it’s very easy for people with modern sensibilities to develop a sense of entitlement. It really is. There’s really no other way to describe the kind of mindset people have.
Because people can easily focus on the things that look good. People can easily focus on the growth. People can easily become attached to the green things that are growing. But you have to understand that the decay, the death, the pain, the suffering, and being forgotten, that is part of the life cycle.
And that is the distinct goth perspective. They see that not as something to run away from, not as something to recommend or celebrate, but to accept.
They see that there is beauty in the whole cycle. They see that, while it may seem depressing, it is just part of the process. As the old saying goes, this, too, shall pass.
And that is what’s so compelling about the goth mindset. And this is reflected in the movement’s preference for everything and anything related to Dracula.
The interesting thing about Dracula is that popular culture likes to paint and dismiss him as some sort of villain. He is some sort of freak that drinks blood.
But when you look at how Dracula manages to exist, despite the fact that the world hates him and the fact that this is the kind of life destiny condemns him too, he still finds meaning. He still finds the drive, the will, the purpose, to wake up, to fly and to celebrate life each and every day.
Because the media image of Dracula is essentially just a parasite. It is really a distortion of what life is supposed to be.
Because it’s easy to get all excited about the baby being born or the baby getting bigger and enjoying the best things in life, but what about the other parts of reality? What about getting old? Getting sick? Dying? What about being the victim of a random, senseless crime? What about those things?
In other words, when you’re looking at the life cycle, it’s easy to get all caught up in the plant growing, but you have to understand that there is also manure that needs to be put on the plant for it to grow. The plant also will die after it has given seed.
This is the essence of the goth mindset, and goth fashion by extension. It really is a celebration of the whole human condition without any of the corny attachment to the “good things.”
Instead, they choose to see, with wide open eyes, and to embrace with wide open arms, all the beauty, the tragedy, the sublimeness, exhilaration, as well as defeat, depression and anxiety, of what makes humans humans. Welcome to Drac-in-a-Box.