I remember way back in 1970, when I was 22 years old, having a talk with my mother. My mother was a kind of free thinker, liberal, and just a tad opinionated, which is fine, for who isn’t. I certainly am, and sometimes down right cranky about it, or at least some of my friends tell me that I am.
People usually think that I am a liberal, and I can’t seem to understand why that is so. True I have a live-and-let-live philosophy, for after all we do live in a democratic republic, where people are allowed to say and believe what ever they want. I’ve taken this to heart and for the most part am not bothered by the beliefs or the non-beliefs of others, as long as they don’t get overly aggressive in trying to get me to share their views. Even if that happens I just listen and smile and then go my way. A few times I have had to be a little blunter in my view of their pushiness, but that does not happen often. I have found that if you give someone a fair hearing then their defensive stance tends to drop away and they in turn will listen, even if an agreement is not reached.
People will think and believe what they will, and they often have good reasons behind what they believe, at least in their opinion, and I respect that.
OK, back to my talk with me mum. She was praising the hippie movement, how free the people involved were and how they think for themselves. I listened to that, since I guess I was also in some small way part of that so called movement–for who isn’t influenced by the culture that they find themselves growing up in. After a few minutes of sorting out my thoughts, I continued the subject she brought up by saying, I thought that “the whole hippie movement was something created by the press.” I explained to her that the press is telling young people what to want, to think about, and what to need. Young people being young will, I argued, jump on this bandwagon, without any real thought or reflection on their or my part.
Don’t get me wrong not everything in the 60’s was bad; if it was it would not have caught on, but it was not filled with people who think for themselves but mostly followers who allowed themselves to be led down paths that went nowhere. Love, sex, and rock ‘n roll were the rallying cry but it didn’t lead to freedom, but to a great deal of misery, and quite a few deaths. I remember when Jimmy Hendrix and Janis the King and Queen of Rock, who both died from the lifestyles that they embraced and in pretty much the same manner, just weeks apart. Two great talents dead at an early age because they bought into a world view that was in the end destructive, not only to themselves but to others.
The sexual revolution was a joke. I suppose it was great for the guys, but the girls who bought into it were looked down upon and merely used. I can understand people having sex outside of marriage, it is such a powerful instinct, but it seldom delivers what it promises. From my own experience, any relationship I had with women was truncated when sexual activity entered into it. The illusion of union is so great doing the sexual act that it overshadows the slower process of just getting to know one another. Once sex enters the picture it becomes more often than not (there are exceptions of course) the only thing that matters, and in the end the women involved suffers more than the men. The experience of sexual union is only based on reality when the couples involved are in a committed relationship based on mutual respect and love.
I have lost some good friends to drugs, STD’s, and alcohol; the so called liberation that our culture is involved in is merely a form of enslavement and oppression. The hippie philosophy is not new, it just became mainstream, and good for business. The bottom line is how much money can be made. The press is only interested in what will sell, truth is secondary. he same goes for entertainment, if it sells, put it on the market; in fact they decide what sells in the long run. They have to decide what to put out there to see what sells, and to hell with the long term consequences it has on society. It is the middle-aged who decide what the young will think, want, and believe, and I find that sadly funny.
Our whole society seems at times to be based on trying to convince people of dreams, which in the end only become nightmares; what is the matter with us anyway?
Yes, I know, this is a little dark: it’s not the whole picture of the 60s. Not everything that came out of the 60’s was bad. The civil rights movement is one that comes to mind. I just wish that society would start to think long term in its business practices; what they put out there bears fruit a few years down the line, fruit that our children will have to pay for.
We all have to pick which steam we are going to wade in, what group we identify with, what philosophy we will follow, and go on from there, and the era that we live in will deeply influence all of us. Any thought stream that will lead to personal responsibility and growth is good and this path should be a central concern to any thoughtful human being.