The Occupy Movement owes much to the Hippie Movement of the sixties. Now, the right wing has predictably started another round of “Hippie Bashing.” The hippie subculture was a youth movement that began in the United States during the early 1960s and was largely gone by 1973. The word hippie is from hipster (used to describe kids who flocked into San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Hippies inherited the counter-cultural values of the Beat Generation. They also created their own communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as marijuana and LSD to explore alternative states of consciousness. Above all, hippies were promoting the idea of peace, love, unity and freedom.
Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by mainstream society. The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance. Their adoption of Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts has now spread to a wide audience. The hippie legacy can also be observed in contemporary culture from health food, to music festivals, to contemporary sexual mores, and the cyberspace revolution. It is also clear that the well-established environmental movement owes a lot to the hippies (i.e., tree-huggers.)
This article includes recent reflections on the hippie movement in light of the occupy movement. Original writings about the hippies from the sixties are also included. This article includes quotes from Timothy Leary, Abbie Hoffman, Eldridge Cleaver and others. Finally, there are links to the best hippie videos on Youtube. Click below to learn more about why the hippies are more important now than ever.
Ongoing Conversations and Controversy Over Hippies
It has again become fashionable to Bash Hippies for all the moral decay and other problems facing America since the sixties. This nasty point of view was created by Tricky Dick Nixon when he pandered to a “Silent Majority” who wanted “law and order in the streets. In this part you will hear from the loudest and most representative voices on the left and right (excluding the recent republican and Fox clowns.) Come to understand the social controversy that has raged for almost half a century in America. If this sounds like the Occupy Movement taking on the One-Percent – that’s no coincidence. The hippies were the first to call this Deja Vu (meaning the sense that we have been here before.) Just like the Occupiers, Hippies held to a strong vision of a safer, freer, and fairer society.
Don’t Diss The Drum Circles: Why Hippie Culture Is Still Important to Our Protests By Danny Goldberg, October 25, 2011
Progressives and mainstream Democratic pundits disagree with each other about many issues at the heart of the Occupy Wall Street protests, but with few exceptions they are joined in their contempt for drum circles, free hugs, and other behavior in Zuccotti Park that smacks of hippie culture. …
Yet it is precisely the mystical utopian energy that most professional progressives so smugly dismiss that has aroused a salient, mass political consciousness on economic issues—something that had eluded even the most lucid progressives in the Obama era. …
The hippie idea, as used here, does not refer to colloquialisms like “far out” or products sold by dope dealers. At their core, the counterculture types who briefly called themselves hippies were a spiritual movement. In part they offered an alternative to organized religions that too often seemed preoccupied with rules and conformity, especially on sexual matters. (One reason Eastern religious traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism resonated with hippies was because they carried no American or family baggage.) But most powerfully, the hippie idea was an uprising against the secular religion of America in the 1950s, morbid “Mad Men” materialism, and Ayn Rand’s social Darwinism.
The hippies were heirs to a long line of bohemians that includes William Blake, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Hesse, Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley, utopian movements like the Rosicrucians and the Theosophists, and most directly the Beatniks. Hippies emerged from a society that had produced birth-control pills, a counterproductive war in Vietnam, the liberation and idealism of the civil rights movement, feminism, gay rights, FM radio, mass-produced LSD, a strong economy, and a huge quantity of baby-boom teenagers. These elements allowed the hippies to have a mainstream impact that dwarfed that of the Beats and earlier avant-garde cultures. …
In the mid-sixties rock and roll’s mass appeal fused with certain elements of hip culture, especially in San Francisco bands like the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company (as well as Seattle’s Jimi Hendrix). That mood was absorbed and expanded by much of the popular music world, including the already popular Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. John Lennon’s songs “Instant Karma,” “Give Peace A Chance,” “Across The Universe,” “Revolution” (“But when you talk about destruction / Don’t you know that you can count me out”), and “Imagine” are probably as close to a hippie manifesto as existed, and the Woodstock festival as close to a mass manifestation of the idea as would survive the hype. …
A YEAR ago, shortly before the 2010 mid-year election, a left-wing blogger on a conference call with President Obama’s adviser David Axelrod complained that dismissive comments by the administration about its left-wing base amounted to “hippie punching.” The phrase was used to emphasize the contempt that the administration had shown for the progressive base, but it was also a reminder of the disdain that most of the Left has for the word “hippie,” as if to complain, “You think that we are as irrelevant as hippies!” Like those who ostentatiously distanced themselves from the Wall Street drum circles, the bloggers wanted to distinguish the modern Left from actual hippies (or who they thought hippies were).
The anti-hippie ethos on the left runs deep. Many 1960s radicals claimed that the hippies had squandered a chance to mainstream left-wing political ideas. In Black Panther leader Bobby Seale’s book Seize the Time he quotes white radical Jerry Rubin as saying that he and others had formed the “Yippies” because hippies had not “necessarily become political yet. They mostly prefer to be stoned.” In the real world, the Yippies never got a mass following, but the Grateful Dead did.
Early in 1967 writers for the Haight-Asbury psychedelic paper the Oracle, along with local poets, musicians, and mystics, organized the first Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park. They were chastised by a group of Berkley radicals, including Rubin, for rejecting their proposal that the gathering should have “demands,” a suggestion that the amused hippie conveners saw as a contradiction of the whole idea. (There are echoes of this argument in criticisms of the Occupy Wall Street protesters as insufficiently specific in their demands—as if the interests of 99 percent are not a clear enough litmus test for any proposed laws or regulations.) …
It is possible that some non-racist, older, white Democrats switched sides because they were offended by aspects of hippie culture, but it seems likely that more of their children and grandchildren rejected conservative orthodoxy because of their attraction to that very culture. The Allman Brothers and other southern rock bands developed a following that dwarfed that of Haggard, and ended up being a source of funding for Jimmy Carter’s primary campaign in 1976.
Modern heirs to the hippie idea include millions of “New Age” believers, inspired by the likes of Baba Ram Dass, Joseph Campbell, Deepak Chopra, and in some cases Oprah Winfrey, whose non-hierarchal spirituality exists outside the confines of traditional churches and synagogues. Although very few neo-hippie groups have explicit political agendas, many in the progressive public interest world benefit from their largess.
WHAT POSSIBLE relevance does any of this have to American politics in 2011? For one thing, many of those young people who like to beat on drums and who devised some of the subtle infrastructure of Occupy Wall Street are clearly tuned into an energy that exists outside of the parameters of political science.
Spiritual movements do not adhere to “party lines,” which is one reason why conventional political activists find them so maddening. Martin Scorsese’s recent documentary on the life of George Harrison reminded us not only of the Beatle’s passionate embrace of Hinduism and the funds he raised for Bangladesh but also of his perverse anger at paying his taxes. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take a poll or a focus group to know that people who identify with the hippie idea are unlikely to vote Republican. (Ron Paul’s people are trying. They give out fliers at Occupy Wall Street while, as of this writing, Democrats still fear to do so.)
Conservatives have effectively peddled the notion that all politics are corrupt. The resulting apathy, and opposition to government, conveniently leaves big business more in charge than ever. The price that Democrats and progressives pay for belittling or ignoring contemporary devotees of the hippie idea, who share the opinion that politics are corrupt, is to reinforce the impulse to “drop out” in a cohort that would otherwise be, for the most part, natural allies.
Spiritual values can expand the reach of political action, especially at a time when progressives struggle to connect to mass consciousness. Their causes have been mired in phrases like “single-payer” and “cap-and-trade.” For all of their virtues, policy wonks didn’t come up with “We are the 99 percent.” People with drum circles did. …
As Martin Luther King pursued his strategy of nonviolent protest, the NAACP leader Roy Wilkins, who oversaw most of the legal strategy for the civil rights movement, mocked him by asking, “How many laws have you changed?” King replied, “I don’t know, but we’ve changed a lot of hearts.” Obviously, the civil rights movement needed both spiritual and legal efforts to achieve its goals. So do modern progressives. As Nick Lowe asked in the song made famous by Elvis Costello, “What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?”
The right wing reaction to the Occupy Wall Street movement, however, has sought to exploit this alleged fear of change in a qualitatively different way. The substantive messaging from the right has been confused with some on the right arguing that the demonstrators are too divisive during these bad economic times, others arguing that Wall Street is not to blame and that there are plenty of jobs for those who want them, and still others asserting that the occupiers don’t have any clear demands. While the substance of these messages may be inconsistent, the real heart of the conservative critique of Occupy Wall Street is clear, that the occupiers are a bunch of unkempt young people who are not good hard working Americans and are looking for a free ride.
This critique, which could be called the “dirty hippies narrative” is offensive and misleading, but it is also almost quaint, harkening back to a bygone era when it was considered notable if men wore hair past their collars or if women wore dungarees. What is perhaps most interesting about this narrative is that it demonstrates that even though the year is 2011, the Republican Party still seems to think that attacking the other side for how they dress, wear their hair and the like is both a legitimate, and more surprisingly, effective means of building political support.
Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and other right wing ideologues may be so obsessed with their myopic world views that they believe that Americans will dismiss important nascent social movement, offering a resonant and relevant economic critique, simply because they look funny to some. However, it is clear that much of the country has moved beyond that. This isn’t 1967 when long hair and radical politics were something found only in a few urban neighborhoods and campus towns or when tattoos were only found on sailors; and the longer it takes for the right wing to realize that, the better it will be for Occupy Wall Street.
The growing support for Occupy Wall Street suggests that the American people are more interested in substance and real economic issues than with cheap shots about drum circles, long hair and hygiene. The right wing has all but run out of substantive arguments because the American people who are living through this economic downturn understand that the unemployed are not simply lazy and that the enormous disparity between wealthy and poor is not insignificant, natural or sustainable. Moreover, the nefarious activities in which the finance sector engaged leading up to the crash, and for which there have been almost no legal or regulatory repercussions, have been on the front pages of too many newspapers and too many websites for ordinary Americans to remain unsympathetic to those protesting these actions.
In its very amateurism, Occupy Wall Street represents something new. Although it’s attracted some celebrities and well-heeled supporters, participants come chiefly from outside Wall Street. Many are unemployed or poorly employed. These are not bankers or reform-minded professors; these are also-rans in the capitalist race, upset with the system itself. Their chief weapon is neither eloquence nor argument, but their physical presence.
As critics have noted, the protesters are not in complete agreement with each other, but the overall message is reasonably coherent. They want more and better jobs, more equal distribution of income, less profit (or no profit) for banks, lower compensation for bankers, and more strictures on banks with regard to negotiating consumer services such as mortgages and debit cards. They also want to reduce the influence that corporations—financial firms in particular—wield in politics, and they want a more populist set of government priorities: bailouts for student debtors and mortgage holders, not just for banks.
In its grassroots and leftist character, Occupy Wall Street bears a superficial resemblance to protests from the ’60s and early ’70s. But the Woodstock Era was different in ways that tell us important things about the current siege. Then, radical students preached an affinity with the “working class,” but it was rare that the students and any members of the working class actually joined arms. …
Economically, the U.S. is a different country than it was in 1970—and it will remain so regardless of how long the Occupy Wall Street protests endure. In the America of the early postwar decades, economic progress and a plenitude of jobs were axiomatic. Today they are not. Then, blue-collar jobs in steel, autos, machinery, and similar industries lifted families into the middle class; today, new workers at General Motors (GM) are hired at $29,000 a year, and even people with college degrees are hurting. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, is no higher today than it was in 1989. During the just-ended economic cycle (ending before the bust), median income actually fell. Capitalism may have triumphed in China—even in Vietnam—but in America it’s in a quagmire. This is what has brought the protesters to Wall Street. …
Far from battling unions, Occupy Wall Street has their active support. David Martinez, a shop steward for Teamsters Local 814, has been shuttling between Zuccotti Park and Sotheby’s (BID), the Upper East Side auction house that’s in a labor dispute with its art handlers. Martinez, in a green Jets cap, says the workers have been locked out and replaced by temporary staff since their contract expired in July. According to the union, Sotheby’s has offered 1 percent annual increases on the hourly wage, increased health-care premiums (which will match rising benefit costs), and continued contributions to the 401(k) program, but wants to cut back on hours, tighten overtime, and gain flexibility to hire nonunion workers. “The most evil part is that they want future workers to be temporary, not union,” Martinez says. Sotheby’s spokesperson Diana Phillips says, “We offered a fair contract with wage increases in every year. We very much want our union colleagues to come back to work.” …
Martinez’s cohorts in the park speak a dialect (or dialectic) unrecognizable to the financiers who work in the neighborhood. Capitalism teaches that personal ambition is a social good; it does the work of the invisible hand, achieving gains for the one and growth for society. People in the park do not believe this. They have not seen the gains, and they do not think the top 1 percent should earn a fifth or so of the total income while others go without. They resent that corporations are organized for profit; indeed, they see “profits” not as the return on capital invested well, but as evidence that companies are overcharging their customers. At an emotional level they nostalgically yearn for a less “financialized” country—one in which markets are more regulated and with fewer opportunities for speculating on financial assets. Most bankers—probably even most people who regulate banks—think it’s good for the economy that banks have the ability to package mortgages into securities and trade them. The protesters do not. …
There are now protests flourishing around the country, including my hometown. Occupy Boston is at the foot of the financial district in Dewey Square, which is given over to scores of closely packed, brightly colored camping tents. On the same day I toured the site, Ben S. Bernanke visited the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, right across the street, though no one on the square seemed to know it. Nor did Bernanke wander over.
The message in Boston is the same as in New York, but with a more desperate edge. Stan Malcolm told me he had been working in flooring—an industry hit hard by the real estate slump—until 18 months ago, when his employer shut down. “There ain’t no work anywhere,” he said. Since then he has been doing day labor and eating at soup kitchens. I asked what he will do when the cold weather comes. Wasting not a syllable, he replied: “Bundle up.”
A lot of us have to confess something about the Occupy Wall Street protests: we have a hippie problem. As a post-boomer, I’ve been trained to giggle at them my whole life. …
And yet this time, the goddam hippies, as South Park’s Eric Cartman famously calls them, have slowly drawn me back in. Maybe it was seeing a more diverse crowd in D.C. than I expected, or absorbing online testimonies from 99 percenters, or reading yet another story about how corrupt the banking system has become (Citigroup was the latest to have me fuming). Maybe it was seeing the same kind of phenomenon popping up in Frankfurt and Madrid or Tel Aviv or outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. From the massive crowds in Madrid, bursting at one point into a mass singing of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” to the tent cities in Israel, bringing right and left together against poverty, it all suggested a much deeper shift in consciousness than a mere pop-cultural fad. So somewhere along the line, my skepticism began to falter. And in a strange kind of way, Occupy Wall Street made me think more fondly of the Tea Party as well.
The theme that connects them all is disenfranchisement, the sense that the world is shifting deeply and inexorably beyond our ability to control it through our democratic institutions. You can call this many things, but a “democratic deficit” gets to the nub of it. Democracy means rule by the people—however rough-edged, however blunted by representative government, however imperfect. But everywhere, the people feel as if someone else is now ruling them—and see no way to regain control. …
The revolts in the West require nothing of the courage displayed by Egyptians or Syrians or Tunisians standing up to tanks and bullets and torture. But they have a similar dynamic. They have occupied public spaces in the center of cities, as if to reclaim ownership of a society they feel has been privatized into nonexistence. This is not Protest Wall Street; it is Occupy It. It does not march through; it stops and sits and waits—as if the genie of Tahrir Square could not be kept bottled up in Egypt for very long.
The very act is empowering, a form of theater as well as politics. But the theater works only when it reflects underlying truths—truths that cut through cultural divides. Because this is not the 1960s. These are not the children of the affluent acting out for sexual and personal liberation. They are the children of the golden years of hyped-up, unregulated, lightly taxed capitalism—now facing the same unemployment and austerity as the rest of the world.
And that’s why polls have shown unusual support for the basic complaints of the hippies. The Occupy movement has, according to recent polling, significantly more general support than the Tea Party, and its specific demands are highly popular. Huge majorities agree that corporate special interests have too much clout in Washington, that inequality has gotten out of control, that taxes can and should be raised on the successful, that the gamblers of Wall Street deserve some direct comeuppance for the wreckage they have bestowed on the rest of us. Polling data do not show a salient cultural split between blue-collar whites and the countercultural drum circles in dozens of cities around America. And the facts are behind the majority position. Social and economic inequality is higher than it has been since the 1920s, and is showing no signs of declining. …
What we’re seeing today, I suspect, is a natural swing back against the excesses of the last 30 years of roller-coaster, globalizing capitalism and those who are still trying to co-opt the spoils. It’s not so much a matter of left or right, but of balance. I supported the Reagan reform as a counterweight to liberalism’s overreach in the 1960s and 1970s. But for the same reason, I find Occupy Wall Street strikingly relevant today. Tax revenues, after all, haven’t been this low in half a century; tax rates remain well below what they were under that radical, Eisenhower. And the only way we will achieve serious cuts in entitlements—the other half of the equation for fiscal balance—is if people believe that everyone is sacrificing something. That includes the rich. That isn’t ideology. It’s common sense.
In that respect, these goddam hippies are not as radical as they might seem. They are asking for a return to an older America that the Greatest Generation would have instantly recognized and approved of—fiscally sound, socially balanced, politically stable. Behind the patchouli and nose rings is an argument: that we have to be in this cycle of transformative, destabilizing world history together, or we will fall apart. We can achieve this civilly … or, at some point, violence, as in Greece or, worse, Libya, could unfold.
And so Obama’s promise is finally achieved without Obama—which was the point in the first place, remember? We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, as he put it. Cringe-inducing dreadlocks and all.
Definitions of “HIPPIE”
The term hippie derives from “hip” or “hipster” used during the late 50s and 60s to describe someone who was a part of the Beat scene (i.e., someone who was hip to the scene, or in the know.) One of the first recorded uses of the term hippie was in a Sept 5 1965 article about the San Francisco counter-culture by writer Michael Fallon. His comment was the young people were like junior hipsters (i.e., hippies.) Webster’s defines a Hipster as “a person who is hip. a person, esp. during the 1950s, characterized by a particularly strong sense of alienation from most established activities and relationships.” The term became popular with the media in the mid- to late-1960’s as young people flocked to San Francisco (and all over the world-LH), but also picked up negative connotations for many “straight” Americans. Another popular term was “Flower Child” which refers to a hippie who advocates love, beauty, and peace
- a person, esp. of the late 1960s, who rejected established institutions and values and sought spontaneity, direct personal relations expressing love, and expanded consciousness, often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and of beads, headbands, sandals, used garments, etc. [WEBSTERS UNABRIDGED ]
- a person who rejects the mores of established society (as by dressing unconventionally or favoring communal living and advocates a nonviolent ethic; broadly : a long-haired unconventionally dressed young person. [WEBSTERS ]
- a person who, in a state of alienation from conventional society, turned variously to mysticism, psychedelic drugs, communal living, etc. [WEBSTERS WORLD ]
- someone who rejects the established culture; advocates extreme liberalism in politics and lifestyle [HYPERDICTIONARY ]
- a person whose behaviour, dress, use of drugs, etc., implied a rejection of conventional values (esp. during the 1960s) [WORDREFERENCE.COM ]
- [realdictionary.com ] youth subculture (mostly from the middle class) originating in San Francisco in the 1960s; advocated universal love and peace and communes and long hair and soft drugs; also favored acid rock and progressive rock music
- [miscellaneous ] a person who believes in peace, love, freedom and happiness.
When people talk about the 1960s they generally refer to the heavy use of drugs and unkempt fashion style that was the trademark look of most young people known as hippies. This young group of patchouli and vintage clothing wearing people might seem part of an era of bad fashion, but they made positive changes in America. These young people took risks to work for civil rights and an equal society. Their struggles often inspired lyrics to popular songs to their era, as much as the music inspired the Hippie movement.
Many of them faced expulsion from colleges and the possibility of a criminal record just for expressing their ideas of an equal and non-segregated society that kept their young men out of a foreign war such as Vietnam. Thanks to their efforts we are able to live in a society that allows freedom of speech and more opportunities for all ethnic and social groups. The young people of our society share more benefits than the youth in the 1960s. The sense of hygiene and personal care of young people might have improved in comparison to that of the hippies in the 60s, but their interest in social and political issues has declined considerably since the 1960s. Our youth apparently has no appreciation for the freedom and a fair society that the generation of some of their parents or grandparents struggled for.
The motivation of the youth in our present era tends to be inclined towards financial success. The stress of attending a good college or the apathy to obtain an education seems to be the two divisions of the modern youth. The commercialization of education could also be the culprit of the apathy or the stress to get a college education. Some young people stress over obtaining enough funds to pay for their education, while others just lose their hopes of a higher level education because they have no means to pay for it. …
One of the most influential activists for freedom of speech in the 60s was Mario Savio. In 1964 he was arrested for expressing his point of view in public at University of California Berkeley. Savio was against banning public expression racism and oppressive college policies that controlled the freedom of professors to educate young adults openly without the scrutiny of educational institutions.
The result was that the students blocked the police car that was going to take Mario Savio to jail for exercising his constitutional right of freedom of speech. These early youth student movement was the birth of student activism and the hippie movement. Many of the young people that followed the hippie lifestyle were students that disillusioned with the controlling educational institutions decided to withdraw from college in order to follow their own path of learning. Others joined the movement to avoid being drafted to fight in Vietman.
During the 1960s, so many people were involved in the hippie movement that era is usually identified by them. It is true that some joined the movement to have an excuse to follow a hedonistic lifestyle and to indulge in the use of drugs. These group of people that followed a hippy lifestyle as a fashion trend diverted the attention from the real statement that the hippies wanted to set. Their statement was to create a better society totally different from the establishment in the 60s era.
The hippie movement had an utopian view of society. Their ideas were based in creating an anti-materialistic society in which everyone, regardless of gender, race, beliefs, and sexual orientation had the opportunity to leave in peace. The reality of the idea of constitutional civil rights that supposedly shaped America is what the youth in the Sixties wanted. Instead, they lived in a society in which segregation and unfair treatment of minorities were still the norm.
The hippies and young college students that followed the movement were determined to take the idea of a free country from a paper and ink statement into a reality of society. The new trend that was growing in San Francisco would influence history. The hippie movement that was created in the San Francisco area of Haight-Ashbury offered in 1966 and 1969 a serious though not well articulated alternative to the conventional social system.
Although the hippie lifestyle was seen by some as an excuse for permissive behavior, the truth is that the root of the movement saw its beginnings in an organized student movement that originated in 1962 with the creation of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society).
This group of students envisioned a non-violent youth movement transforming the United States into a ‘participatory democracy’ in which individuals could directly control the decisions that affected their lives. SDS assumed that such a system would value, love, and creativity and would end materialism, militarism and racism.
The hippie movement in the 60s educated people about recycling and organic farming. Many environmental problems in our present time could have been avoided if the hippie’s ideas would have been taken more seriously. According to Adam Rome: “In many cities women worked aggressively to stop air pollution. The New Yorker Hazel Henderson organized the group Citizens for Clean Air by passing leaftlets to mothers walking their children in the park. The group soon had more than twenty thousand members and about 75 percent were women.”
This movement that promoted awareness about environmental issues such as clean water and clean air was known as the grassroots movement. This organization stemmed from the concerns of the nature oriented hippie group about the nuclear waste threats and the growing population and economy. This group also promoted natural vegetarian diets and breastfeeding during an era in which many women preferred commercial baby formula to breastfeeding. It is of common knowledge in our era that breastfeeding is healthier for both babies and their mothers.
They also knew that following a vegetarian diet helped to preserve natural resources and resulted in the ability to feed more people instead of overfeeding farm animals with the sole purpose to eat them. The hippies also practiced recycling, even for the fabrics that they used to sew their clothes. Recycling is being introduced as a fairly new concept in our era, but when the hippies promoted it the idea seemed like and eccentricity of this colorfully attired group.
The most important legacy from the hippie youth is from the 60s is the freedom to work for justice. They proved that they had the possibility of turning society into a better one. Women were empowered to become an active part of the political and social issues of society. Our modern society is moved by materialism, the need to be successful, and body image issues, but our youth knows that when they see injustice they can speak against it.
The term “hippie” remains true to its original meaning. It refers to a person or a group who belongs to a certain social environment that sprang in the United States during the 1960’s. As the term continued to increase its popularity, the number of people who fit the description also grew considerably larger. Along with other movements, the “hippies” of the past became a counterculture, an entirely complete lifestyle that ruled the lives of its members in every aspect.
What the hippies lived for was to counter the dominant culture in the society with another culture that was somewhat more liberal. Their main purpose was to go against the realms of the society that is in place by rejecting it. Hippies were mostly on the opposing side of what had already established. They opposed nearly everything that is accepted by the society. Their oppositions were not negative. They were against nuclear weapons and wars. Their main doctrine revolved around love, peace, and freedom of self-expression, Hippies believed that there was more to life than what the norms state. This is why they opposed restrictions above all else. And in the spirit of opposition, they, in turn, promoted what the society is opposed to and what was dominant in the world. Examples of what they advocated were the liberal use of what they called “psychedelic drugs” and freedom of sexual expressions as well.
They also rallied for the environment, and most hippies were vegetarian. As an entire culture, they also had their own ways of expressing themselves through music and art. They maximized the use of these cultural tools in expressing what they believed in. Since they are also pro-peace, they do not engage in violence in demonstrating their views. Instead, they used other ways to be radical and to make their mark and be heard.
Two of the well-known forms of expressions that the hippies used are music and their clothing style. The hippie music, which revolved mostly around what was called “psychedelic rock” was one of the most popular ways of how these hippies lured people into their radical society. Their music also became popular.
Their clothing styles and the way they carried themselves, however, were more radical than their music. The hippies kept their hair long, regardless of gender. In breaking societal norms, they also chose to forego some of what people usually regard as necessities. Some hippies go braless and some go barefoot. They liked to use bright, bold colors to express freedom. They showed their independence through the unhindered use of colors and unusual clothes.
The hippies were the advocates of the bell-bottom pants, long flowing skirts, and peasant blouses. Another clothing trend that claimed popularity, not only during their time, but up to the present as well, are the tie-dyed t-shirts they used. To avoid supporting the corporate society, hippies liked designing and making their own clothes. The same is true with the tie-dyed theme. Tie-dyed shirts can easily be made at home, and they always come out differently every time. The colors would mix differently, and the patterns would be unique for each shirt.
As the society embraced the other hippie trends such as bell-bottom pants, long skirts, and peasant blouses, the tie-dyed shirts still stand out as truly hippie. It is still, up until now, closely associated to being a hippie. Tie-dyes shirts still remain a distinct symbol of being part of the hippie counterculture. However, no matter how commercialized the hippie fashion statement may get, in truth, it is still closely linked with hippie values.
One sociologist calls them “the Freudian proletariat.” Another observer sees them as “expatriates living on our shores but beyond our society.” Historian Arnold Toynbee describes them as “a red warning light for the American way of life.” For California’s Bishop James Pike, they evoke the early Christians: “There is something about the temper and quality of these people, a gentleness, a quietness, an interest—something good.” To their deeply worried parents throughout the country, they seem more like dangerously deluded dropouts, candidates for a very sound spanking and a cram course in civics—if only they would return home to receive either.
Whatever their meaning and wherever they may be headed, the hippies have emerged on the U.S. scene in about 18 months as a wholly new subculture, a bizarre permutation of the middle-class American ethos from which it evolved. Hippies preach altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy and nonviolence. They find an almost childish fascination in beads, blossoms and bells, blinding strobe lights and ear-shattering music, exotic clothing and erotic slogans. Their professed aim is nothing less than the subversion of Western society by “flower power” and force of example. …
From the promise of the “Hashish Trail” came something more exciting — and more dangerous — than any adventure offered by travel agents, was born the cult of hippiedom. Its disciples, who have little use for definitions, are mostly young and generally thoughtful Americans who are unable to reconcile themselves to the stated values and implicit contradictions of contemporary Western society, and have become internal émigrés’, seeking individual liberation through means as various as drug use, total withdrawal from the economy and the quest for individual identity.
Only last year, many sociologists and psychiatrists dismissed the hippie hegira with a verbal flick of the wrist. The use of mind-changing drugs such as LSD, said National Institute of Mental Health Director Stanley Yolles in 1966, was a fad, “like goldfish swallowing.” City officials blandly waited for the hippies to go away; indeed, a year ago they had established scarcely half a dozen inchoate colonies in the U.S.
Today, hippie enclaves are blooming in every major U.S. city from Boston to Seattle, from Detroit to New Orleans; there is a 50-member cabal in, of all places, Austin, Texas. There are outposts in Paris and London, New Delhi and Katmandu, where American hippies trek the “hashish trail” to get cheap but potent hallucinogens and lessons in Buddhist love. Though hippies*consider any sort of arithmetic a “down trip,” or boring, their own estimate of their nationwide number runs to some 300,000. Disinterested officials generally reduce that figure, but even the most skeptical admit that there are countless thousands of part-time, or “plastic,” hippies who may “drop out” only for a night or two each week. By all estimates, the cult is a growing phenomenon that has not yet reached its peak—and may not do so for years to come. …
Despite such dire predictions, perhaps the most striking thing about the hippie phenomenon is the way it has touched the imagination of the “straight” society that gave it birth. Hippie slang has already entered common usage and spiced American humor. Department stores and boutiques have blossomed out in “psychedelic” colors and designs that resemble animated art nouveau. The bangle shops in any hippie neighborhood cater mostly to tourists, who on summer weekends often outnumber the local flora and fauna. Uptown discotheques feature hippie bands. From jukeboxes and transistors across the nation pulses the turned-on sound of acid-rock groups: the Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, Dow Jones and the Industrials, Moby Grape (there is also a combo called Time). …
San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district is a throbbing three-eighths of a far-from-square-mile and the vibrant epicenter of the hippie movement. Fog sweeps past the gingerbread houses of “The Hashbury,” shrouding the shapes of hirsute, shoeless hippies huddled in doorways, smoking pot, “rapping” (achieving rapport with random talk), or banging beer cans in time to ubiquitous jukebox rhythms. The tinkle of Indian elephant bells echoes from passing “seekers”; along the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park, hollow-cheeked flower children queue up for a plateful of stew, dispensed from the busy buses of the Diggers, a band of hippie do-gooders. Last week the sidewalks and doorways were filling with new arrivals—hippies and would-be hippies with suitcases and sleeping bags, just off the bus and looking for a place to “crash” (sleep). Wise hippies wrap themselves in scrapes against the San Francisco chill, or else wear old Army or Navy foul-weather jackets and sturdy boots. One way to identify the new arrivals is by their mod clothes: carefully tailored corduroy pants, hip-snug military jackets, snap-brimmed hats like those worn by Australian soldiers (also known as Diggers). …
Difficult as it is to take precise bearings on the hippies, a few salient features stand out. They are predominantly white, middle-class, educated youths, ranging in age from 17 to 25 (though some as old as 50 can be spotted). Over-endowed with all the qualities that make their generation so engaging, perplexing and infuriating, they are dropouts from a way of life that to them seems wholly oriented toward work, status and power. They scorn money—they call it “bread”—and property, and have found, like countless other romantics from Rimbaud to George Orwell, that it is not easy to starve. Above all, as New York’s Senator Robert Kennedy (“the best of a bad lot” to hippies) puts it: “They want to be recognized as individuals, but individuals play a smaller and smaller role in society. This is a formidable and forbidding arrangement.”
To alter that arrangement, the hippies hope to generate an entirely new society, one rich in spiritual grace that will revive the old virtues of agape and reverence. They reveal, says University of Chicago Theologian Dr. Martin E. Marty, “the exhaustion of a tradition: Western, production-directed, problem-solving, goal-oriented and compulsive in its way of thinking.” Marty refuses to put the hippies down as just another wave of “creative misfits,” sees them rather as spiritually motivated crusaders striking at the values of straight society where it is most vulnerable: its lack of soul. In a sense, hippiedom is a transplanted Lost Horizon, a Shangri-La a go-go blending Asian resignation and American optimism in a world where no one grows old.
It is in the hope of settling that precious state, and defining his position in it, that the hippie uses drugs—first for kicks and then sometimes as a kind of sacrament. Anti-intellectual, distrustful of logic, and resentful of the American educational process, the hippie drops out —tentatively at first—in search of another, more satisfying world.
Follow the River. “The standard thing is to feel in the gut that middle-class values are all wrong,” says a West Coast hippie. “Like the way America recognizes that Communism is all wrong.” They feel “up tight” (tense and frightened) about many disparate things —from sex to the draft, college grades to thermonuclear war. Hallucinogenic drugs like marijuana and LSD, they believe, are the knives that cut those knots. Once unleashed, most hippies first become insatiable hedonists, smoking and eating whatever can turn them on in a hurry; making love, however and with whomever they can find (including “group grope”) that “feels good and doesn’t hurt anybody”; saturating the senses with color and music, light and motion until, like an overloaded circuit, the mind blows into the never-never land of selflessness. The middleclass ego, to the hippie, is the jacket that makes society straight, and must be destroyed before freedom can be achieved. One East Coast hippie recently held a “funeral” for his former self. “You must follow the river inside you to its source,” he said, “and then out again.” …
If there were a hippie code, it would include these flexible guidelines:
- Do your own thing, wherever you have to do it and whenever you want.
- Drop out. Leave society as you have known it. Leave it utterly.
- Blow the mind of every straight person you can reach.
- Turn them on, if not to drugs, then to beauty, love, honesty, fun.
As a result, there are hippies of every stripe: city and suburban hippies, who can do their thing only in urban environments; beach hippies and mountain hippies, Indian hippies and neo-Polynesian hippies, desert hippies and river hippies, musical and poetical and light and sound hippies, all doing their thing as they see it to be done, some alone and some in “tribes” of like-minded thing-doers. A swelling sense of utopianism pervades the hippie philosophy. …
The hippie philosophy also borrows heavily from Henry David Thoreau,* particularly in the West Coast rural communes, where denizens try to live the Waldenesque good life on the bare essentials—a diet of turnips and brown rice, fish and bean curd —thus refuting the consumerism of “complicating wants” essential to the U.S. economy. Historically, the hippies go all the way back to the days of Diogenes and the Cynics (curiously, no rock combo has yet taken the name), who were also bearded, dirty and unimpressed with conventional logic.
The hippies like to relate to such ancient figures as Hillel, the 1st century B.C. Jewish prophet of modesty and peace, and of course to Christ (“a groovy cat”). Buddha, they recall proudly, was a dropout from a royal family who later came back to the palace and turned on his father, the king, with nothing more than sincerity and a mendicant’s bowl. St. Francis of Assisi, who left a rich Italian merchant family to live in poverty among the birds and beasts, is another hero, along with Gandhi (for his patient nonviolence), Aldous Huxley (for his praise of hallucinogens in Doors of Perception), and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbits (with their quirky gentleness and hairy toes).
The key ethical element in the hippie movement is love—indiscriminate and all-embracing, fluid and changeable, directed at friend and foe alike. SUPERZAP THEM ALL WITH LOVE! prOclaims a sign in Los Angeles’ Sans Souci Temple, a hippie commune. Manhattan hippies whose skulls were zapped by police billies during a Memorial Day “bein” in New York’s East Village are now trying to arrange a picnic for the cops’ kids, as well as a Mantovani record concert for the officers them selves. Charges against the hippies were dismissed last week by Criminal Court Judge Herman Weinkrantz, who said: “This court will not deny the equal protection of the law to the unwashed, unshod, unkempt and uninhibited.”
The immediate progenitors of the hippies were the beats of the 1950s, but there has been a startling transformation in bohemia. Many of the same elements were present in the Beat Generation: scorn for prevailing sexual mores, a predilection for pot and peyote, wanderlust, a penchant for Oriental mysticism on the order of Zen and the Veda. Yet the contrasts are even more striking. San Francisco’s North Beach was a study in black and white; the Haight-Ashbury is a crazy quilt of living color. Black was a basic color in the abstract-expressionist painting of the beats; hippiedom’s psychedelic poster art is blindingly vivid. The progressive jazz of the beats was coolly cerebral; the acid rock of the hippies is as visceral as a torn intestine. …
Except for a few spiritual gurus and swamis, the hippie movement is leaderless and loose. The Beatles—forerunners of psychedelic sound and once again at the forefront with their latest album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—are the major tastemakers in hippiedom. (Beatle Paul McCartney admits to taking acid trips.) Yet another guru, Indian Sitar Virtuoso Ravi Shankar, who now has a burgeoning music school in Los Angeles, is dead set against drug use as an enhancement to music. He recently lectured the Monterey Pop Festival audience, chiding them for being stoned while listening to his music, which he claims should be sufficient to turn them on. Timothy Leary, a former Harvard psychologist who coined the “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out” slogan central to hippie philosophy, was once a major guru but has lately fallen into disfavor with a large majority of hippies, who feel that he is trying too hard to “put his trip” on everyone. …
Central to the drug scene is marijuana, the green-flowered cannabis herb that has been turning man on since time immemorial. Virtually every hippie uses it—sometimes up to three times a day. Known as khif or hashish in the Middle East, bhang or ganja in India, ma in China, maconha or djama in South America, pot, grass, boo, maryjane and tea in the U.S., it is ubiquitous and easily grown, can be smoked in “joints” (cigarettes), baked into cookies or brewed in tea (“pot likker”). …
Usually marijuana produces a feeling of euphoria and exaltation; subjective judgments of time, distance, vision and hearing are prolonged. It can also cause paranoid episodes. According to medical experts, the pungent smelling weed does not result in physical dependence, and once the user learns the number of puffs necessary to reach his “high,” he rarely takes more. Some medical authorities and federal officials believe that the drug will eventually be legalized. Hippies, who pass a joint like a peace pipe, quote Genesis I—”Let the earth bring forth grass”—as justification for its use. And, invariably, they argue that marijuana is less deleterious than liquor and does not bring on hangovers. “Juice is a down trip,” says a New York hippie. “Grass brings you up—up and away.”
In The Hashbury, grass can be had for $10 to $15 a “lid” (a one-ounce lot, capable of producing up to 40 joints); the finest variety is “Acapulco Gold” from Mexico, undiluted and selling for $1 a joint ($5 for a matchboxful that can produce about ten joints). Lately, hippie chemists have learned to synthesize THC, which seems to be the active mind changer in marijuana, in a complex 17-step operation. Their formula, says a Government chemist, is “crude but effective.”
Intense Perception. If grass is the staple of hippiedom, then lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is its caviar. Derived from a parasitic fungus that grows on rye, lysergic acid is mixed with volatile diethylamine (used in vulcanizing rubber), then frozen; the resulting LSD is extracted by using chloroform or benzine for fractional distillation, or else by means of a simple vacuum evaporator. Now available in pill form, or else as a soluble crystalline powder (the liquid-dunked sugar cubes of yesteryear are out), LSD produces an eight-to-twelve-hour trip highlighted by profound changes in thought, mood and activity. Colors become heightened, sounds take on preternatural shades of meaning or unmeaning; the trip passenger feels he can see into his very brain cells, hear and feel his blood and lymph coursing through their channels. It is this sense of intense perception that stays with most hippies and, in part, sustains their fondness for bright colors, flowers and bells. “Have you ever heard yourself move?” asks Hippie Poet Richard Brautigan. …
For all the hippies’ good works and gentle ways, many Americans find them profoundly unsettling. One reason is that straight society finds it difficult to argue with people who, while condemning virtually every aspect of the American scene, from its foreign policy to its moral values, offer no debatable alternatives. By contrast with the rebels of every previous generation in the U.S.—from the “wobblies” of 50 years ago to the New Left activists of the early ’60s—the hippies have no desire to control the machinery of society or redirect it toward new goals. They have no urge to reform the world, if only because its values seem irrelevant to them.
What offends, perplexes and yet also beguiles the straight sector is hippie-dom’s total disregard for approbation or disapproval. “Do your own thing,” they say, and never mind what anyone else may think or do. Yet this and many hippie attitudes represent only a slight and rather engaging distortion of the Protestant Ethic that they purport to reject.
Indeed, it could be argued that in their independence of material possessions and their emphasis on peacefulness and honesty, hippies lead considerably more virtuous lives than the great majority of their fellow citizens. This, despite their blatant disregard for most of society’s accepted mores and many of its laws—most notably those prohibiting the use of drugs—helps explain why so many people in authority, from cops to judges to ministers, tend to treat them gently and with a measure of respect. In the end it may be that the hippies have not so much dropped out of American society as given it something to think about.
*The term derives from the pre-World War II jitterbug adjective “hep”: to be “with it”; hep became “hip” (in noun form, “hipster”) during the bebop and beatnik era of the 1950s, then fell into disuse, to be revived with the onslaught of psychedelia. *A 14th century English troubadourian vision, the Land of Cockaigne was inhabited by precooked “larks well-trained and very couth who cometh down to man his mouth.” The larks were eaten by hooded monks, who prayed through psychedelic church windows that “turn themselves to crystal bright.” A new U.S. postage stamp of Thoreau, designed by Painter Leonard Baskin, was under fire last week on the ground that it makes bearded, long-haired Henry David look like a hippie.
The post war “baby boom generation” was something of an anomaly both to parents and to the children they would eventually raise. Growing up amid the contradictory conditions of prosperity and paranoia that prevailed during the 1950s, as they grew into adults this young generation tired of abundance and yearned for a more “authentic” life. Their quest initiated outlandish fashions and tastes, broke taboos, and, together with an eager television and music business, monopolized the culture industry, saturating public discourse with hedonistic and sentimental idioms. With the objective of a new classless society of sincerity and trust, some of these young people adopted the term “hip” from beatnik slang and donned the flowery, flamboyant posture of “hippies.”
By the mid-1960s, hippies began to appear in high schools, colleges, and enclaves around the country. Their unique combination of hedonism and morality depended on the spin they placed on the “generation gap” that separated them from their elders: in high moral gear, hippies projected every conceivable social and ethical defect of society onto their parents–the generation who, having survived depression and war, clung to middle-class prosperity and values like drowning sailors to a life vest. From the perspective of the young, this “materialism” was evidence of the bleak life of “straight” society, and of the moral bankruptcy that spawned war, environmental damage, racism, and sexual persecution.
Starting around 1964 and increasing steadily into the early 1970s, hippies began gathering in lower income, inner city neighborhoods (the same areas their parents had worked so hard to escape) such as New York’s East Village and, particularly, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, and later formed communes and settlements in the countryside. Largely white, middle class, and educated, hippies whipped up their own philosophy of natural living, easy sexual and social relations, sincerity, and hedonism through a blend of Eastern mysticism, left-wing social critique, and Beatnik appropriations of African-American slang. To the hippies, “squares” were “uptight,” out of touch with their feelings and with each other, and it was this isolation from human feeling which had made them such aggressive, authoritarian, and often brutal people. The hippie lifestyle, on the other hand, was not only more fun, it was morally superior. …
In 1967, the Monterey Pop Festival provided the first in a series of major outdoor rock concerts, and in 1969, the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival provided the movement’s thrilling climax. Hundreds of thousands of hippies clogged the region around the concert trying to get in, and, after airlifts of food, water, and flowers from state troopers, the event subsided without incident, a testimony to the solidarity and mutual goodwill of a counterculture guided by feelings of love and peace. However, over time, the climate of the counterculture changed: hippie urban frolicking turned into serious homelessness and poverty, and the drug culture grew into an organized and dangerous underworld. Petty criminals, drifters, and profiteers overran many of the hippie hangouts and communes. The Manson murders and a violent outbreak of violence and murder at a concert at Altamont, California, in 1969 brought to the fore a growing tension within hippie culture between middle class and idealistic hippies and a growing criminal drug culture with no idealistic pretensions to speak of.
In the 60s kids grew up with the world. At his inaugural address, President John Kennedy proclaimed: “Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike that the torch has been passed to a new generation.” In the UK conscription and capital punishment ended. Jobs were plentiful, oil was cheap and the safety net of the welfare state caught the cultural warriors who stumbled on the road to nirvana. Baby-boomers came of age during this period of political and social revolution, in parallel with the space race, in step with the banishing of borders by Boeing and pregnancy by the pill.
The concurrence of historical events and individual lives convinced many of them that by changing themselves they could change the planet. They abandoned their parents’ Kingdom Come of postponed pleasure to catch hold of the living, transient world. They sang love songs and never doubted the reach of their grasp. They set out to find that better place, hitching alone to West Bank kibbutzes, drifting through Afghanistan, welcomed as honoured guests in Baghdad.
Now a western passport, once respected, is a liability in many parts of the Middle East. No sane tourist holidays in Mosul or Kandahar. Tragically the ultimate failure of the 60s – idealism – and the subsequent aggressive assertion of reactionary forces in both east and west – has made cynicism, selfishness and irony the currency that dominates our consciousness to this day.
The Hippie Movement – History, Culture and Legacy by Astral Anveshta and Divine Tattva – August 31, 2010
The hippie movement was for promoting the idea of peace, love, unity and freedom and for growing your consciousness to a whole new level, where mere materialistic concepts of life do not affect the way you perceive the world anymore. This group of individuals were called the Hippies. Their ideas of life and love amazed almost all the people across the Globe. Hippies were strange but at the same time funny and got connected with the people very easily. Trying to make the world a better place where there are no wars, no violence was the main motive.
The Hippie movement basically started from San Francisco California where they initially got settled. San Francisco, corner of Haight Street and Ashbury Street – The place where the whole world got their first glance of this unique group of people with their colorful attire and funny but influential ideas. This place came to be known as the Haight Ashbury District. …
Early Hippies were basically musicians and artists. This new tribe or religion or group of people was so strange that people from conservative middle class could not relate to them initially and saw them as aliens. Hardly did they know the fact that all that these hippies ever wanted was and ever stood for was peace, love, unity, freedom, respect, dance, bliss, joy and a feeling of oneness with the world. They had an immense love for nature.
Hippies were known for their belief in ideas of peace, never ending parties with enormous supplies of psychedelic drugs, music and dance. They believed that life is a gift to embrace and enjoy it. They filled their lives with colors of love for everyone. They would socialize during the day and would party all night in their funny and lively clothing. They would drink beer, sing songs of love, unity and danced on different numbers of various genres. …
Hippies were the people who believed in intimacy, knowing everyone on the streets and trusting everyone who knew them was a habit. They believed in peace and lived a life of purity filled with vibrant colours. Share and care with good intentions was a belief. If you know a hippy you will never be alone. They offered homes to homeless and food to hungry. They were selfless who believed that everyone was a part of them. Hippies opened free clinics, shelters, food joints and gave away all the materialistic possessions. …
But the fact remains, that these bunch of tribes all over the world stand for peace, love, unity, respect and freedom. They don’t want to disturb anybody or harm anyone. They are just true lovers of music and dance, and nature who would rather want to make love than wars, who would rather drop acid, not bombs!
The legacy of the hippies still continues in our contemporary culture in countless forms – from organic goods, organic paper and health food to giant music festivals, to contemporary sexual habits and to the cyberspace revolution, we call Cyber-Age.
But all that is lacking today is the spirit of oneness and the feeling of a one united tribe. The golden age of Eighties and Nineties of the hippie era has gone but the memories still remain fresh and even when I think of those times, I can see a unique group of pure energies with a beautiful aura. Times are changing, and with time, the psychedelic vibes are being felt by most of the people around the world. The transformation has started and a new-age psy revolution has begun – all in the best spirit of psychedelic freedom, love, music and for the one love of nature.
What happened around the globe in The Hippie Movement?
- In Mexico, the jipitecas formed La Onda Chicana (Spanish term for hippies) and 200,000 gathered at Avándaro (Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro),
- On the other side of the planet, in New Zealand, alternative lifestyles were practiced by nomadic housetruckers and promoted energy, enough to sustain energy at Nambassa which is a hippie festival that was held between 1976 to 1981 in Waihi and Waikino in NZ.
- In the United Kingdom, mobile “peace convoys” of New age travelers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge. Britain’s pay & free music festivals and other outdoor Festivals and Events from 1970 to 1979 including a number of European events.
- In the Ozzyland (Australia), hippies gathered in large numbers at Nimbin (a small township in New South Wales), for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the Annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally, also known as Madigrass.s.
- In Chile, “Festival Piedra Roja” was held in 1970 (following Woodstock’s success), and was the major hippie event in that country.
The foundation of the hippie movement finds historical precedent as far back as the counterculture of the Ancient Greeks, espoused by philosophers like Diogenes of Sinope and the Cynics. The article also claims that the Hippies were influenced by the ideas of Jesus Christ, Hillel the Elder, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, and others.
In fin de siècle Europe, from 1896-1908, a German youth movement known as Der Wandervogel began to grow as a countercultural reaction to the organized social and cultural clubs that centered around German folk music. In contrast to these formal clubs, Wandervogel emphasized amateur music and singing, creative dress, and communal outings involving hiking and camping. Inspired by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, Hermann Hesse, and Eduard Baltzer, Wandervogel attracted thousands of young Germans who rejected the rapid trend toward urbanization and yearned for the pagan, back-to-nature spiritual life of their ancestors.
During the first several decades of the twentieth century, these beliefs were introduced to the United States as Germans settled around the country, some opening the first health food stores. Many moved to Southern California where they could practice an alternative lifestyle in a warm climate.
In turn, young Americans adopted the beliefs and practices of the new immigrants.
One group, called the “Nature Boys”, took to the California desert and raised organic food, espousing a back-to-nature lifestyle like the Wandervogel. Songwriter Eden Ahbez wrote a hit song called Nature Boy inspired by Robert Bootzin (Gypsy Boots), who helped popularize health consciousness, yoga, and organic food in the United States.
Like Wandervogel, the hippie movement in the United States began as a youth movement. Composed mostly of white teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 years old, hippies inherited a tradition of cultural dissent from bohemians and beatniks of the Beat Generation in the late 1950s.
Beats like Allen Ginsberg crossed-over from the beat movement and became fixtures of the burgeoning hippie and anti-war movements. By 1965, hippies had become an established social group in the U.S., and the movement eventually expanded to other countries, extending as far as the United Kingdom and Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil.
The hippie ethos influenced The Beatles and others in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, and they in turn influenced their American counterparts. Hippie culture spread worldwide through a fusion of rock music, folk, blues, and psychedelic rock; it also found expression in literature, the dramatic arts, fashion, and the visual arts, including film, posters advertising rock concerts, and album covers.
Self-described hippies had become a significant minority by 1968, representing just under 1% of the U.S. population before declining in the mid-1970s
Quotes by Timothy Leary
Dr. Timothy Francis Leary (22 October 1920 – 31 May 1996) was an American writer, psychologist, campaigner for psychedelic drug research and use, 1960s counterculture icon and computer software designer. He is most famous as a proponent of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD. During the 1960s, he coined and popularized the catch phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
- Hippie is an establishment label for a profound, invisible, underground, evolutionary process. For every visible hippy, barefoot, beflowered, beaded, there are a thousand invisible members of the turned-on underground. Persons whose lives are tuned in to their inner vision, who are dropping out of the TV comedy of American Life.
- Civilization is unbearable, but it is less unbearable at the top.
- My advice to people today is as follows: if you take the game of life seriously, if you take your nervous system seriously, if you take your sense organs seriously, if you take the energy process seriously, you must turn on, tune in, and drop out.
- There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory, and I forget the third.
- Think for yourself and question authority.
- We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. But they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.
- Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
- You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
- We always have urged people: Don’t take LSD unless you are very well prepared, unless you are specifically prepared to go out of your mind. Don’t take it unless you have someone that’s very experienced with you to guide you through it. And don’t take it unless you are ready to have your perspective on yourself and your life radically changed, because you’re gonna be a different person, and you should be ready to face this possibility.
- People use the word “natural” … What is natural to me is these botanical species which interact directly with the nervous system. What I consider artificial is 4 years at Harvard, and the Bible, and Saint Patrick’s cathedral, and the Sunday school teachings.
- I declare that The Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species, a young race of laughing freemen.
- If you want to change the way people respond to you, change the way you respond to people.
- Turn on” meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. Drugs were one way to accomplish this end. “Tune in” meant interact harmoniously with the world around you — externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. Drop out suggested an elective, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. “Drop Out” meant self-reliance, a discovery of one’s singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean “Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity.”
- Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities (the political, the religious, the educational authorities) who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing (forming in our minds) their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness, chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself.
- I am 100 percent in favor of the intelligent use of drugs, and 1,000 percent against the thoughtless use of them, whether caffeine or LSD. And drugs are not central to my life.
- The drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key — it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures.
- A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The scope and content of the experience is limitless, but its characteristic features are the transcendence of verbal concepts, of space-time dimensions, and of the ego or identity. Such experiences of enlarged consciousness can occur in a variety of ways: sensory deprivation, yoga exercises, disciplined meditation, religious or aesthetic ecstasies, or spontaneously. Most recently they have become available to anyone through the ingestion of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, etc. Of course, the drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key — it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures.
- Each religion has got their own way of making you feel like a victim. The Christians say “you are a sinner”, and you better just zip up your trousers and give the money to the pope and we’ll give you a room up in the hotel in the sky.
- We saw ourselves as anthropologists from the twenty-first century inhabiting a time module set somewhere in the dark ages of the 1960s. On this space colony we were attempting to create a new paganism and a new dedication to life as art.
- At one point consciousness-altering devices like the microscope and telescope were criminalized for exactly the same reasons that psychedelic plants were banned in later years. They allow us to peer into bits and zones of Chaos.
- Seven million people I turned on, and only one hundred thousand have come by to thank me.
- The language of God is not English or Latin; the language of God is cellular and molecular.
- The only abuse of drugs is the control of drugs by other people. …The only control is self-control.
- What I feel or believe or experience is my business, and what I do is all our businesses; and reward or punish me according to whether I play the game well — ethically and rightly — or unethically.
- That intermediate manifestation of the divine process which we call the DNA code has spent the last 2 billion years making this planet a Garden of Eden. An intricate web has been woven, a delicate fabric of chemical-electrical-seed-tissue=organism=species. A dancing, joyous harmony of energy transactions is rooted in the 12 inches of topsoil which covers the rock
- Actions which are conscious expressions of the turn-on, tune-in, drop-out rhythm are religious. The wise person devotes his life exclusively to the religious search — for therein is found the only ecstasy, the only meaning. Anything else is a competitive quarrel over (or Hollywood-love sharing of) studio props.
- Drugs Are the Religion of the People — The Only Hope is Dope
- If you are serious about your religion, if you really wist to commit yourself to the spiritual quest, you must learn how to use psychochemicals. Drugs are the religion of the twenty-first century. Pursuing the religious life today without using psychedelic drugs is like studying astronomy with the naked eye because that’s how they did it in the first century A.D., and besides telescopes are unnatural.
- My advice to myself and to everyone else, particularly young people, is to turn on, tune in and drop out. By drop out, I mean to detach yourself from involvement in secular, external social games. But the dropping out has to occur internally before it can occur externally. I’m not telling kids just to quit school; I’m not telling people to quit their jobs. That is an inevitable development of the process of turning on and tuning in.
- My advice to people today is as follows: If you take the game of life seriously, if you take your nervous system seriously, if you take your sense organs seriously, if you take the energy process seriously, you must turn on, tune in, and drop out.
- John asked what he could do to help my campaign for governor. “Write a campaign song,” I replied. “Okay,” said John, “what’s the theme?” I said “Our campaign slogan is ‘Come together, join the party.'” John said “Great title,” and grabbed his guitar and started improvising.
Come together right now.
Don’t come tomorrow, don’t come alone,
Come together right now, over me.
- While sitting in my prison cell, I was astonished to hear the local rock station play a new song by the Beatles entitled “Come Together.” Although the new version was certainly a musical and lyrical improvement on my campaign song, I was a bit miffed that Lennon had passed me over this way. (I must explain that even the most good-natured persons tend to be a bit touchy about social neglect while in prison). When I sent a mild protest to John, he replied with typical Lennon charm and wit: that he was a tailor and I was a customer who had ordered a suit and never returned. So he sold it to someone else.
- Drop Out means to detach yourself from the external social drama which is as dehydrated and ersatz as TV. Turn On means to find a sacrament which returns you to the temple of God, your own body. Go out of your mind. Get high. Tune In means to be reborn. Drop back in to express it. Start a new sequence of behavior that reflects your vision.
- We cannot study the brain, the instrument for fabricating the realities we inhabit, using the mental constructs of the past.
- Higher has always been the trajectory of intelligent evolution.
- Fundamentalist Christianity appeals to pre-civilized, prudish tribal people who are not ready for urban feudal pleasures.
- Nobody ever understands what a pioneer is doing.
- Now, LSD is a dangerous drug because it’s basically a post-terrestrial experience. And for caterpillars to start taking a butterfly drug, it gives you perspectives, and forecasts what’s to come.
- There’s perhaps less than ten percent of the population who should even consider, under the best circumstances of disciplined control, to take this drug, because LSD is not a hedonistic, laid-back, multi-orgasm drug. It really isn’t. It’s a neurological experience. It’s a sixth circuit neuroelectric experience, and it’s basically preparation for post-terrestrial life.
- To summarize, I’m an evolutionary agent using electromagnetic energies to broadcast evolutionary signals. The signals are ‘leave the planet’, ‘get smarter’, and ‘learn how to live as long as you want’.
QUOTES BY ABBIE HOFFMAN
Abbot Howard “Abbie” Hoffman (November 30, 1936 – April 12, 1989) was a political and social activist who co-founded the Youth International Party (“Yippies”). Hoffman was arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot as a result of his role in protests that led to violent confrontations with police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, along with Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner and Bobby Seale. The group was known collectively as the “Chicago Eight”; when Seale’s prosecution was separated from the others, they became known as the Chicago Seven. While the defendants were initially convicted of intent to incite a riot, the verdicts were overturned on appeal. Hoffman came to prominence in the 1960s, and continued practicing his activism in the 1970s, and has remained a symbol of the youth rebellion of that era.
- A modern revolutionary group heads for the television station.
- Expedience, not justice, is the rule of contemporary American law.
- Free speech means the right to shout ‘theater’ in a crowded fire.
- Never impose your language on people you wish to reach.
- Once you get the right image the details aren’t that important.
- Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit.
- Structure is more important than content in the transmission of information.
- The ’60s are gone, dope will never be as cheap, sex never as free, and the rock and roll never as great.
- The key to organizing an alternative society is to organize people around what they can do, and more importantly, what they want to do.
- The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.
- To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.
- Understand that legal and illegal are political, and often arbitrary, categorizations; use and abuse are medical, or clinical, distinctions.
- When decorum is repression, the only dignity free men have is to speak out.
- You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
- The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it. The second duty is to eat breakfast. I ain’t going.
- All you kiddies remember to lay off the needle drugs, the only dope worth shooting is Richard Nixon.
- In this state, dig it, you get twenty years for sale of dope to a minor. You only get five to ten for manslaughter. So like, the thing is, if you’re selling to a kid and cops come, shoot the kid real quick!
- I feel like a famous Indian Chief of the Fagowee nations, who led his tribe for 40 years in the desert amidst starvation, hunger, famine, strife, plague — finally staggered up to the top of this mountain, drug crazed, looked out and pounded his chest and said, “Where the fuck are we? Where the fuck are we?”
- For six years, the only consistent thing about our national drug policy has been its inconsistency. Harsher penalties, urine testing, hysteria, budget cuts and the simplistic “Just Say No!’ campaign (the equivalent of telling manic depressives to “just cheer up”) have returned drug education and treatment to the Reefer Madness era.
- I see Judaism as a way of life. Sticking up for the underdog. Being an outsider. A critic of society. The kid on the corner who says the emperor has no clothes on.
- In the nineteen-sixties, apartheid was driven out of America. Legal segregation — Jim Crow — ended. We didn’t end racism, but we ended legal segregation. We ended the idea that you can send a million soldiers ten thousand miles away to fight in a war that people do not support. We ended the idea that women are second-class citizens. Now, it doesn’t matter who sits in the Oval Office. But the big battles that were won in that period of civil war and strife you cannot reverse. We were young, we were reckless, arrogant, silly, headstrong … and we were right! I regret nothing!
- Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them.
- Structure is more important than content in the transmission of information. It is the same as saying “the medium is the message.”
- The key to organizing an alternative society is to organize people around what they can do and more importantly what they want to do.
- The best way to educate oneself is to become part of the revolution.
- I believe in compulsory cannibalism. If people were forced to eat what they killed, there would be no more wars.
- The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.
- The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free.
- Your body is just one in a mass of cuddly humanity. Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them. The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps. A revolution in consciousness is an empty high without a revolution in the distribution of power.
- Above all, what you have as young people that’s vitally needed to make social change, is impatience. You want it to happen now. There have to be enough people that say, We want it now, in our lifetime. We want to see apartheid in South Africa come down right now. We want to see the war in Central America stop right now. We want the CIA off our campus right now. We want an end to sexual harassment in our communities right now. Be adventurists in the sense of being bold and daring. Be opportunists and seize this opportunity, this moment in history, to go out and save our country. It’s your turn now.
- Usually when you ask somebody in college why they are there, they’ll tell you it’s to get an education. The truth of it is, they are there to get the degree so that they can get ahead in the rat race. Too many college radicals are two-timing punks. The only reason you should be in college is to destroy it.
- There is absolutely no greater high than challenging the power structure as a nobody, giving it your all, and winning!
- Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburgers.
QUOTES BY ELDRIDGE CLEAVER
Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998) better known as Eldridge Cleaver, was a leading member of the Black Panther Party and a writer. His book Soul On Ice is a collection of essays praised by The New York Times Book Review at the time of its publication as “brilliant and revealing.” Cleaver was a prominent member of the Black Panthers. As editor of the official Panther’s newspaper, Cleaver’s influence on the direction of the Party was rivaled only by founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.
- All the gods are dead except the god of war.
- I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare.
- If a man like Malcolm X could change and repudiate racism, if I myself and other former Muslims can change, if young whites can change, then there is hope for America.
- In prison, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
- Respect commands itself and can neither be given nor withheld when it is due.
- The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.
- The Twist was a guided missile launched from the ghetto into the heart of suburbia. The Twist succeeded, as politics, religion and law could never do, in writing in the heart and soul what the Supreme Court could only write on the books.
- There is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people’s safety and greatness.
- Too much agreement kills a chat.
- What America demands in her black champions is a brilliant, powerful body and a dull, bestial mind.
- You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.
- You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.
- History could pass for a scarlet text, its jot and title graven red in human blood.
- The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.
- The Twist was a guided missile launched from the ghetto into the heart of suburbia. The Twist succeeded, as politics, religion and law could never do, in writing in the heart and soul what the Supreme Court could only write on the books.
- There is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people’s safety and greatness.
Quotes about Hippies’ Values and Vision
- There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first. – Jim Morrison
- Never doubt that a small group of thoughful, committed individuals can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Meade
- He who takes a stand is often wrong, but he who fails to take a stand is always wrong. – Anonymous
- If I’m free, it’s because I’m always running. – Jimi Hendrix
- You’re either on the bus or off the bus.- Ken Kesey
- The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” – Jack Kerouac
- Old hippies don’t die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again. – Joseph Gallivan
- His hair has the long Jesus Christ look. He is wearing the costume clothes. But most of all, he now has a very tolerant and therefore withering attitude toward all those who are still struggling in the old activist political ways…while he, with the help of psychedelic chemicals, is exploring the infinite regions of human consciousness. – Tom Wolfe
- Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope. – Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
- Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. – Joseph Campbell
- I do my thing, and you do your thing. I am not tin this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful. – Frederick E. Perl
- We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it” – John Lennon
- The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. – Jim Morrison
- Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. – Jim Morrison
- Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, Live the life you’ve always imagined.- Henry David Thoreau
- I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost
- A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. – Jim Morrison
- Growing up I played in garage bands and cover bands with my older brother, and he got us a gig opening up for some hippie jam band. I was 15. I felt like such an adult! – Charles Kelley
- Guess what, I might be the first hippie pinup girl. – Janis Joplin
- I grew up in a hippie commune so I have a real hippie part of me. – Patricia Arquette
- I was a little too young to be a hippie. – Gale Norton
- It was 1967, and the hippie thing was happening. I got into experimenting with drugs while I was in college in Michigan. – Glenn Frey
- The hippies had in mind something that they wanted, and were calling it freedom, but in the final analysis freedom is a purely negative goal. It just says something is bad. Hippies weren’t really offering any alternatives other than colorful short-term ones, and some of these were looking more and more like pure degeneracy. Degeneracy can be fun but it’s hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation. – Robert Pirsig
- A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah. – Ronald Reagan.
- Hippies are lots of fun, as long as they are not involved in commerce. – Phil MacNutt
- When we heard about the hippies, the barely more than boys and girls who decided to try something different .we laughed at them. We condemned them, our children, for seeking a different future. We hated them for their flowers, for their love, and for their unmistakable rejection of every hideous, mistaken compromise that we had made throughout our hollow, money-bitten, frightened, adult lives. – June Jordan
- Generally, men of this group have a socio-critical attitude. They like to discuss problems, and in doing so, they often question societal norms. In addition, they stand up for their ideals. They are entirely able to show their feelings. Fashionable clothes are not important for them, rather, they have the opinion that clothes should be comfortable and serve their purpose. They may leave the house in the morning unkempt and unshaved. – Ursula Athenstaed
Videos about the Hippies from YouTube
For your convenience and viewing pleasure I have collected and reviewed lots of video clips off Youtube. Here in one place are the ones I like the best. Hope you laugh and learn lots.
The song “Hippie Life” was written by James Rado, Gerome Ragni, and Galt MacDermot. It was written for the film version of Hair but not used.
Hippie Temptation (1967 Documentary)
CBS TV Documentary about the Grateful Dead and the growing hippie scene in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco.
Hippies from the Sixties
Short outline of hippies and there importance relating to cultural revolution throughout the 1960s.
Hippies, Cops, and The 1960’s (Protest & Response)
A video montage of varied protest marches against The Vietnam War and the American Draft. Draft Card burning, sit ins, marches… police response, National Guard intervention – true footage of the times and events. Set to “Summertime” by Janis Joplin.
Scott McKenzie – San Francisco
Video montage of hippies set to “If you’re Going to San Francisco” by Scott McKenzie – San Francisco. Original BW footage
Images of the 60s, including the Black Panthers, Jerry Rubin, Woodstock, Abbie Hoffman, and random hippies. Set to “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon.