Monday, August 11, 2014

I'm going back to being a hippie

I often think about the 1960s. If you lived through that wondrous era, I'm sure you think about it, too. It was too big and way too colorful to forget. I'm glad I was a part of it.

One of the things I sometimes wonder is why kids aren't doing the same thing today: quitting school, abandoning society and running off to have fun. There are a lot of answers to this question. For one thing, the internet exists now and it causes people to fall into small, segmented "social" groups. And when kids want to see the world, all they have to do is push a button and there it is. That can kill your urge to explore, as in first-person exploration -- living through an experience instead of watching someone else have the experience in a video. Video's fun but it ain't life.

And of course, a huge reason for the original birth of hippies was marijuana, which was new to us back then. It was the releaser, the thing that set us free. It's still around and from what I hear, kids are enthusiastically taking it up again. But they're not talking about cosmic reality when they get high; they're not searching for meaning or trying to "expand their mind". They're just gettin' high, with no goal in sight. Expanding consciousness? That's so tired. Cosmic consciousness died in the early 1970s.

But the biggest thing that's missing now is naivete. We hippies didn't know one damn thing about the world. That's why we were always saying "Wow!" -- because everything came as news to us. We were the opposite of jaded. You'll never get that now. Everyone's "been there, done that". (Or at least they think they've been there and done that. More likely, they just saw a video about it and adopted the "experience" as their own.)

These are the reasons why hippies dispersed to the winds. We were, and then we weren't. Our time ended. Or so we thought.

But the world is too boring, again. Just listen to talking-head TV if you doubt me. Bor-ing. And the United States has gotten much, much uglier in the intervening years. In the 1960s, no one celebrated torture. That's an "advance" we only recently achieved. And opportunity, everpresent in the 1960s, is over and done with. Forget about earning what your parents earned and buying a house. That ship has sailed.

I think that, more than anything, the lack of empathy in the current batch of money-mad Americans will be a driving factor in the creation of a new generation of hippies. As in the original hippie days, there's little reason to stick around, to live in the squares' world and suffer under their nitwit rules. Perhaps it's once again time to tune out and go our own way. Maybe kids will become hippies again, despite their lack of naivete, and they will rise up and create their own society. We do this on the internet but I suspect we'll have to do it in real life, too. We need to separate ourselves from the pinheads.

After all, what benefit is there to remaining with the status quo? I know it's a bit of a pipe dream, but I'm hoping hippie will rise again. And to this end, I've hauled out all my old, beaded jewelry and I'm wearing it every day. I even got a new pendant: a blue rhinestone peace symbol. Heck, no one talks about peace anymore. It's time to raise the banner anew. Hail peace!

Since we're not seeking nirvana this time, I figure our slogan should be: Tune out, drop out and play. There's no hope out there; we'll just have to make our own.

Had any hippie urges lately? Give in to them. G'wan, it's fun. (I know some of you still have your hippie duds in the closet. Haul 'em out and put 'em on!)