Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yippee, I’m A Hippie!!!

What is a Hippie? Some say it’s the way people dress, and behave, a lifestyle. Others classify drug users and rock 'n' roll fans or those with certain radical political views as hippies. The dictionary defines a hippie as one who doesn’t conform to society’s standards and advocates a liberal attitude and lifestyle. With all these differing definitions and views, how can we define hippie or know if we are one?

Well it seems to me that these definitions miss the point. By focusing on the most visible behavioral traits these limited descriptions fail to reveal what lies in the hippie heart that motivates such behavior. To understand the true hippie, we must look at those circumstances that preceded the birth of the hippy movement, the important events that changed our lives, our resulting frustration with soc
iety, and the philosophy that developed from our spiritual maturation.

Hippy 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.

Timothy Leary (The Politics of Ecstasy) 1967

My view is that being a hippie is a matter of accepting a universal belief system that transcends the social, political, and moral norms of any established structure, be it a class, church, or government. Each of these powerful institutions has its own agenda for controlling, even enslaving people. Each has to defend itself when threatened by real or imagined enemies. So we see through history a parade of endless conflicts with country vs. country, religion vs. religion, class vs. class. After millennia of war and strife, in which uncounted millions have suffered, we have yet to rise above our petty differences.

I’ve been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one.
And I believe it could be, someday it’s going to come.
Cat Stevens (Peace Train)

A hippie is adverse to all repressive hierarchical power structures since these go against the hippie goals of peace, love and freedom. This is why the “Establishment” feared and suppressed the hippie movement of the ’60s, as it was a revolution against the established order. It is also the reason why the hippies were unable to unite and overthrow the system since they refused to build their own power base. Hippies don’t impose their beliefs on others. Instead, hippies seek to change the world through reason and by living what they believe.

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people sharing all the world.
John Lennon (Imagine)

To be a hippie you must believe in peace as the way to resolve differences among peoples, ideologies and religions. The way to peace is through love and tolerance. Loving means accepting others as they are, giving them freedom to express themselves and not judging them based on appearances. This is the core of the hippie philosophy.

If you want to be free, be free, because there’s a million things to be.
Cat Stevens (If You Want to Sing Out)

The hippy movement erected signposts for all to see. Some warn us of impending danger, others direct us towards richer, more fulfilling lives, but most show us the road to freedom. Freedom is the paramount virtue in this system. Freedom to do as one pleases, go where the flow takes you, and to be open to new experiences. This embraces an attitude that allows for maximum personal growth.

I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road towards freedom - external freedom is a way to bring about internal freedom.
Jim Morrison

Many beliefs have sprung from our core philosophy such as an earthy spirituality, the Green movement, and even shamanism and vegetarianism. These philosophical and political views reflect a respect for nature and the planet as a whole, something lacking in our capitalistic and materialistic societies. The world needs hippies to point out alternatives to the entrenched system and warn of the impending disasters that await us if we don’t change our lifestyles. The goal is not to make everyone a hippie (what would we have to protest?). Rather we can try to influence others by example, through tolerance and love and teaching the virtues of the hippie way.

You create your own reality.
Seth (Seth Speaks)

So being a hippie is not a matter of dress, behavior, economic status, or social grouping. It is a philosophical approach to life that emphasizes freedom, peace, love and a respect for others and the earth. The way of the hippie has never died. There have always been hippies from the first time society laid down rules, to Jesus, to Henry David Thoreau, to John Lennon, to you and me. I believe there’s a little hippy in all of us. It’s just been repressed by our socialization process. We need to find that hidden hippie and cultivate it from within.

I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost (The R
oad Not Taken)


Dawson said...

Wow! This post is a perfect manifesto for hippies. You do an excellent job of not only defining what a hippie is, but also what they are not, and why they view the world the way that they do.

Worth pointing out is that this viewpoint is just as important and appropriate right now as it was in the 1960s. Imagine if rather than focusing on pointless ceremonies and traditional bigotry the LDS church had handled the events on main street with believing that "peace is the way to resolve differences among peoples, ideologies and religions. The way to peace is through love and tolerance."

If people generally took this approach to life we would find war, hate crimes, genocide, and oppression all but wiped out of the repertoire of human actions.