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"Hurray for Hippies!"

From "Personal Log" -- Paul's Free Blog @ (paul-quek)

(This post was made originally on Sunday, 6 November 2005)

Personal Log, Earth Date 6-11-2005 2100GH ...

    While on a whimsy "mental afterglow" due to having just listened to some not-so-Oldies-to-me songs (but probably "Oldies" to my son (in his twenties) -- or maybe, the songs are "Retro") on my MP4 player, I Google "hippy" and read up on a few web pages ...

    As usual, despite the many criticisms directed against it, my first stop usually is the free online globally-user-editable encyclopedia known as Wikipedia.

The early November 2005 Wikipedia entry on "Hippie" -- the url today remains as, but the content has changed quite a bit! -- had the following to say (excerpts only):

Hippie (also hippy) is a term originally used to describe some of the rebellious youth of the 1960s and 1970s. The word, "hippie" was popularized by the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. Though not a cohesive cultural movement with manifestos and leaders, some hippies expressed their desire for change with communal or nomadic lifestyles, by renouncing corporate nationalism and the Vietnam War, by embracing aspects of non-traditional religious cultures, and with criticism of Western middle class values.

    Such criticism included the views that the government was paternalistic, corporate industry was greedy and domineering, traditional morals were askew, and war was inhumane. The structures and institutions they rejected came to be called The Establishment .

    "Hippies" of the time were interested in "tuning in to their inner minds" (with or without drugs, mystic meditation) and improving mainstream society. This influence was sometimes from far eastern metaphysical and religious practices that were done mostly by monks and aboriginal shaman in the past. The inclusion of far eastern religious practice in religious circles of the 1970s became a New Age movement for Mystics and "Spiritual Seekers," as well as a joke for hipster comedians.

Pejorative connotations

    The term "hippie" has also been used in a derogatory sense, to describe long-haired unkempt drug users. Among those of the Beat Generation, the flood of youngsters adopting Beatnik sensibilities, appeared to be cheap, mass-produced imitations of the Beatnik artist community. By Beat standards, these newcomers were not "Hip" or "aware" or "clever" enough to really be "hip." On the other hand, conservatives used the term "hippie" as an insult toward young liberals and progressives.

    Today, the term "hippie" is often used by more conservative or mainstream people with the pejorative connotation of irresponsibility and participation in recreational drug use. It is also sometimes used as a derogatory term by members of the punk rock subculture, usually used to describe something or someone seen as trite, foolishly optimistic, pointless or boring.

    So, the above Wikipedia entry says that hippies were rebellious Sixties' to Seventies' youth, who may or may not (but probably) have:

  • sported long hair,

  • taken drugs (from "recreational drugs" to the "serious shit"),

  • adopted various rituals of the religous-spiritual systems from the "Far East", and were generally

  • anti-Establishment,

  • anti-authority,

  • anti-war or anti-violence (although violence was sometimes evident),

  • anti-business (music-related business were quite profitable!),

  • anti-greed, and even

  • anti-immorality, even as many of them embraced the so-called "free love" arising from at least four sources:

    1. firstly, a declaration of "sexual liberation" from the moralistic church-based strictures of the early 20th century,

    2. secondly, a sense of "personal liberation" from parental control,

    3. thirdly, the adoption of a non-violence ideology that came to be called "flower power" (which, possibly, may have been a sort of foreshadow of the "people power" in the political arena of the late Seventies to the Eighties-Nineties that led to, for example, the toppling from power of the Marcos regime in the Philippines and the Suharto regime in Indonesia), and

    4. lastly, the communal and normadic lifestyle (which may have influenced the high mobility of the Seventies "Yuppies", willing to uproot to anywhere in the chase for career success).

    The current -- early February 2008 -- entry on "Hippie" on the Wikipedia says that (minus bibliographical references, hyperlinks and images-illustrations; and plus some paragraphing and other "textual-style" adaptations -- hey! sorry! I am NOT a scholar! This is for the purpose of my blog! Non-hippie ET, "Go home!", wilya?!):

  • The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that began in the United States during the early 1960s and spread around the world. The word hippie derives from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. These people inherited the countercultural values of the Beat Generation, created their own communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs like cannabis and LSD to explore consciousness.

        In 1967, the San Francisco Human Be-In popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast. In Mexico, the jipitecas formed La Onda Chicana and gathered at "Avándaro", while in New Zealand, nomadic housetruckers practiced alternative lifestyles and promoted sustainable energy at Nambassa. In the United Kingdom, mobile "peace convoys" of New Age travellers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge.

        Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing music, television, film, literature, and art. Since the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by the mainstream. The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a wide audience. The hippie legacy can be observed in contemporary culture in a myriad of forms—from health food, to music festivals, to contemporary sexual mores, and even to the cyberspace revolution.

  • Origins of a movement
    A hippie (sometimes spelled hippy) is a member of a subgroup of the counterculture that began in the United States during the early 1960s. By 1965, hippies had become an established social group, and the movement expanded to other countries before it declined in the mid-1970s. Hippies, along with the New Left and the American Civil Rights Movement, are considered the three dissenting groups of the 1960s counterculture.

        Originally, hippies were part of a youth movement composed mostly of white teenagers and young adults, between the ages of 15 and 25 years old, who inherited a tradition of cultural dissent from the earlier Bohemians and the beatniks. Hippies rejected established institutions, criticized middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War, embraced aspects of Eastern philosophy, championed sexual liberation, were often vegetarian and eco-friendly, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs to expand one's consciousness, and created intentional communities or communes. They used alternative arts, street theatre, folk music, and psychedelic rock as a part of their lifestyle and as a way of expressing their feelings, their protests and their vision of the world and life. Hippies opposed political and social orthodoxy, choosing a gentle and nondoctrinaire ideology that favored peace, love and personal freedom, perhaps best epitomized by The Beatles' song "All You Need is Love". They perceived the dominant culture as a corrupt, monolithic entity that exercised undue power over their lives, calling this culture "The Establishment", "Big Brother", or "The Man". Noting that they were "seekers of meaning and value," scholars like Timothy Miller describe hippies as a new religious movement.

        After 1965, the hippie ethos influenced The Beatles and others in the United Kingdom and Europe, and they in turn influenced their American counterparts. By 1968, self-described hippies had become a significant minority, representing just under 0.2% of the U.S. population. 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. Eventually the hippie movement extended far beyond the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, appearing in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and many other countries.

  • Etymology
    Lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower, the principal American editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, states that the terms "hipster" and "hippie" derive from the word "hip", whose origins are unknown. The term "hipster" was coined by Harry Gibson in 1940, and was often used in the 1940s and 1950s to describe jazz performers. The word "hippie" is also jazz slang from the 1940s, and one of the first recorded usages of the word "hippie" was in a radio show on November 13, 1945, in which Stan Kenton called Harry Gibson, "Hippie". However, Kenton's use of the word was playing off Gibson's nickname "Harry the Hipster." Reminiscing about late 1940s Harlem in his 1964 autobiography, Malcolm X referred to the word "hippy" as a term that African Americans used to describe a specific type of white man who "acted more Negro than Negroes."

        Although the word "hippie" made isolated appearances during the early 1960's, the first clearly contemporary use of the term appeared in print on September 5, 1965, in the article, "A New Haven for Beatniks", by San Francisco journalist Michael Fallon. In that article, Fallon wrote about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse, using the term "hippie" to refer to the new generation of beatniks who had moved from North Beach into the Haight-Ashbury district. Use of the term "hippie" did not become widespread in the mass media until early 1967, after San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen began referring to "hippies" in his daily columns.

        In 2002, photojournalist John Bassett McCleary published a 650-page, 6,000-entry unabridged slang dictionary devoted to the language of the hippies titled The Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1960s and 1970s. The book was revised and expanded to 700-pages in 2004. McCleary believes that the hippie counterculture added a significant number of words to the English language by borrowing from the lexicon of the beat generation, shortening words, and popularizing their usage.

  • History
    The foundation of the hippie movement finds historical precedent as far back as the counterculture of the Ancient Greeks like Diogenes of Sinope and the Cynics. Hippies were influenced by the philosophy of Jesus Christ, Hillel the Elder, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Henry David Thoreau, and Gandhi. From 1896–1908, the youth counterculture of Der Wandervogel became popular in Germany, attracting thousands of young Germans who rejected urbanization and yearned to return back-to-nature. These beliefs were introduced to the United States as Germans settled around the U.S. Young Americans adopted the beliefs and practices of the new immigrants. Songwriter Eden Ahbez wrote a hit song called Nature Boy inspired by Robert Bootzin (Gypsy Boots), who helped popularize yoga, organic food, and health food in the United States. The Beat Generation of the late 1950s influenced the development of the counterculture of the 1960s, with terms like "beatnik" giving way to "hippie." Beats like Allen Ginsberg became a fixture of the hippie and anti-war movements. Stylistic differences between beatniks, marked by somber colors, dark shades and goatees, gave way to the colorful psychedelic clothing and long hair worn by hippies.

    Early hippies (1960–1966)
    During the early 1960s novelist Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters lived communally in California. Members included Beat Generation hero Neal Cassady, Ken Babbs, Mountain Girl, Wavy Gravy, Paul Krassner, Stewart Brand, Del Close, Paul Foster, George Walker, Sandy Lehmann-Haupt and others. Their early escapades were documented in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. With Cassady at the wheel of a school bus named Furthur, the Merry Pranksters traveled across the United States to celebrate the publication of Kesey's novel Sometimes a Great Notion and to visit the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. The Pranksters were known for using marijuana, amphetamines, and LSD, and during their journey they "turned on" many people to these drugs. The Merry Pranksters filmed and audiotaped their bus trips, creating an immersive multimedia experience that would later be presented to the public in the form of festivals and concerts.

        During this period Cambridge, Massachusetts, Greenwich Village in New York City, and Berkeley, California, anchored the American folk music circuit. Berkeley's two coffee houses, the Cabale Creamery and the Jabberwock, sponsored performances by folk music artists in a beat setting. In April 1963, Chandler A. Laughlin III, co-founder of the Cabale Creamery, established a kind of tribal, family identity among approximately fifty people who attended a traditional, all-night Native American peyote ceremony in a rural setting. This ceremony combined a psychedelic experience with traditional Native American spiritual values; these people went on to sponsor a unique genre of musical expression and performance at the Red Dog Saloon in the isolated, old-time mining town of Virginia City, Nevada.

        In the summer of 1965, Laughlin recruited much of the original talent that led to a unique amalgam of traditional folk music and the developing psychedelic rock scene. He and his cohorts created what became known as "The Red Dog Experience," featuring previously unknown musical acts—Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Charlatans, The Grateful Dead and others—who played in the completely refurbished, intimate setting of Virginia City's Red Dog Saloon. There was no clear delineation between "performers" and "audience" in "The Red Dog Experience," during which music, psychedelic experimentation, a unique sense of personal style and Bill Ham's first primitive light shows combined to create a new sense of community. Laughlin and George Hunter of the Charlatans were true "proto-hippies," with their long hair, boots and outrageous clothing of distinctly American (and Native American) heritage. LSD manufacturer Owsley Stanley lived in Berkeley during 1965 and provided much of the LSD that became a seminal part of the "Red Dog Experience," the early evolution of psychedelic rock and budding hippie culture. At the Red Dog Saloon, The Charlatans were the first psychedelic rock band to play live (albeit unintentionally) loaded on LSD.

        When they returned to San Francisco, Red Dog participants Luria Castell, Ellen Harman and Alton Kelley created a collective called "The Family Dog." Modeled on their Red Dog experiences, on October 16, "1965, the Family Dog hosted A Tribute to Dr. Strange" at Longshoreman's Hall. Attended by approximately 500 of the Bay Area's original "hippies," this was San Francisco's first psychedelic rock performance, costumed dance and light show, featuring Jefferson Airplane, The Great Society and The Marbles. Two other events followed before year's end, one at California Hall and one at the Matrix. After the first three Family Dog events, a much larger psychedelic event occurred at San Francisco's Longshoreman's Hall. Called "The Trips Festival," it took place on January 21–January 23, 1966, and was organized by Stewart Brand, Ken Kesey, Owsley Stanley and others. Ten thousand people attended this sold-out event, with a thousand more turned away each night. On Saturday January 22, the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company came on stage, and 6,000 people arrived to imbibe punch spiked with LSD and to witness one of the first fully-developed light shows of the era.

        By February 1966, the Family Dog became Family Dog Productions under organizer Chet Helms, promoting happenings at the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium in initial cooperation with Bill Graham. The Avalon Ballroom, the Fillmore Auditorium and other venues provided settings where participants could partake of the full psychedelic music experience. Bill Ham, who had pioneered the original Red Dog light shows, perfected his art of liquid light projection, which combined light shows and film projection and became synonymous with the San Francisco ballroom experience. The sense of style and costume that began at the Red Dog Saloon flourished when San Francisco's Fox Theater went out of business and hippies bought up its costume stock, reveling in the freedom to dress up for weekly musical performances at their favorite ballrooms. As San Francisco Chronicle music columnist Ralph J. Gleason put it, "They danced all night long, orgiastic, spontaneous and completely free form."

        Some of the earliest San Francisco hippies were former students at San Francisco State College who were intrigued by the developing psychedelic hippie music scene and left school after they started taking psychedelic drugs. These students joined the bands they loved and began living communally in the large, inexpensive Victorian apartments in the Haight-Ashbury. Young Americans around the country began moving to San Francisco, and by June 1966, around 15,000 hippies had moved into the Haight. The Charlatans, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the Grateful Dead all moved to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood during this period. Activity centered around the Diggers, a guerrilla street theatre group that combined spontaneous street theatre, anarchistic action, and art happenings in their agenda to create a "free city." By late 1966, the Diggers opened free stores which simply gave away their stock, provided free food, distributed free drugs, gave away money, organized free music concerts, and performed works of political art.

        On October 6, 1966, the state of California declared LSD a controlled substance, which made the drug illegal. In response to the criminalization of psychedelics, San Francisco hippies staged a gathering in the Golden Gate Park panhandle, called the Love Pageant Rally, attracting an estimated 700-800 people. As explained by Allan Cohen, co-founder of the San Francisco Oracle, the purpose of the rally was twofold — to draw attention to the fact that LSD had just been made illegal, and to demonstrate that people who used LSD were not criminals, nor were they mentally ill. The Grateful Dead played, and some sources claim that LSD was consumed at the rally. According to Cohen, those who took LSD "were not guilty of using illegal substances...We were celebrating transcendental consciousness, the beauty of the universe, the beauty of being."

    Summer of Love (1967)
    On January 14, 1967, the outdoor Human Be-In in San Francisco popularized hippie culture across the United States, with 20,000 hippies gathering in Golden Gate Park. On March 26th, Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick and 10,000 hippies came together in Manhattan for the Central Park Be-In on Easter Sunday. The Monterey Pop Festival from June 16 to June 18 introduced the rock music of the counterculture to a wide audience and marked the start of the "Summer of Love." Scott McKenzie's rendition of John Phillips' song, "San Francisco," became a hit in the United States and Europe. The lyrics, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair", inspired thousands of young people from all over the world to travel to San Francisco, sometimes wearing flowers in their hair and distributing flowers to passersby, earning them the name, "Flower Children." Bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin), and Jefferson Airplane continued to live in the Haight, but by the end of the summer, the incessant media coverage led the Diggers to declare the "death" of the hippie with a parade. According to the late poet Stormi Chambless, the hippies buried an effigy of a hippie in the Panhandle to demonstrate the end of his/her reign.

        Regarding this period of history, the July 7, 1967, TIME magazine featured a cover story entitled, "The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture." The article described the guidelines of the hippie code: "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." It is estimated that around 100,000 people traveled to San Francisco in the summer of 1967. The media was right behind them, casting a spotlight on the Haight-Ashbury district and popularizing the "hippie" label. With this increased attention, hippies found support for their ideals of love and peace but were also criticized for their anti-work, pro-drug, and permissive ethos. Misgivings about the hippie culture, particularly with regard to drug abuse and lenient morality, fueled the moral panics of the late 1960s.

    Revolution (1968–1969)
    In April 1969, the building of People's Park in Berkeley, California received international attention. The University of California, Berkeley had demolished all the buildings on a 2.8 acre parcel near campus, intending to use the land to build playing fields and a parking lot. After a long delay, during which the site became a dangerous eyesore, thousands of ordinary Berkeley citizens, merchants, students, and hippies took matters into their own hands, planting trees, shrubs, flowers and grass to convert the land into a park. A major confrontation ensued on May 15, 1969, and Governor Ronald Reagan ordered a two-week occupation of the city of Berkeley by the United States National Guard. Flower power came into its own during this occupation as hippies engaged in acts of civil disobedience to plant flowers in empty lots all over Berkeley under the slogan "Let A Thousand Parks Bloom."

        In August 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Festival took place in Bethel, New York, which for many, exemplified the best of hippie counterculture. Over 500,000 people arrived to hear the most notable musicians and bands of the era, among them Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Carlos Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. Wavy Gravy's Hog Farm provided security and attended to practical needs, and the hippie ideals of love and human fellowship seemed to have gained real-world expression. In December 1969, a similar event took place in Altamont, California, about 30 miles (45 km) east of San Francisco. Initially billed as "Woodstock West," its official name was The Altamont Free Concert. About 300,000 people gathered to hear The Rolling Stones; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Jefferson Airplane and other bands. The Hells Angels provided security that proved far less beneficent than the security provided at the Woodstock event: 18-year-old Meredith Hunter was stabbed and killed during The Rolling Stones performance.

    Aftershocks (1970–present)
    By 1970, the 1960s zeitgeist that had spawned hippie culture seemed to be on the wane. The events at Altamont shocked many Americans, including those who had strongly identified with hippie culture. Another shock came in the form of the Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca murders committed in August 1969 by Charles Manson and his "family" of followers. Nevertheless, the oppressive political atmosphere that featured the bombing of Cambodia and shootings by National Guardsmen at Jackson State University and Kent State University still brought people together. These shootings inspired the May 1970 song by Quicksilver Messenger Service "What About Me?," where they sang, "You keep adding to my numbers as you shoot my people down."

        Much of hippie style had been integrated into mainstream American society by the early 1970s. Large rock concerts that originated with the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and the 1968 Isle of Wight Festival became the norm. In the mid-1970s, the mainstream media lost interest in the hippie counterculture, and it went out of fashion. The Vietnam War came to an end, and hippies became targets for ridicule, coinciding with the advent of punk rock and disco, and a growing renewal of more patriotic sentiments associated with the approach of the United States Bicentennial. While many hippies made a long-term commitment to the lifestyle, some younger people argue that hippies "sold out" during the 1980s and became part of the materialist, consumer culture.

        Although not as visible as it once was, hippie culture has never died out completely: hippies and neo-hippies can still be found on college campuses, on communes, and at gatherings and festivals. Many embrace the hippie values of peace, love, and community, and hippies may still be found in bohemian enclaves around the world.

  • Ethos and characteristics
    Hippies sought to free themselves from societal restrictions, choose their own way and find new meaning in life. One expression of hippie independence from societal norms was their unusual standard of dress and grooming. This made hippies instantly recognizable to one another and served as a visual symbol of their respect for individual rights and their willingness to question authority.

        Similar to the beat movement preceding them and the punk movement that followed soon after, hippie symbols and iconography were of low social status, with hippie fashion reflecting a disorderly, often vagrant style. As with other adolescent, white middle-class movements, deviant behavior of the hippies involved challenging the prevailing gender differences of their time: both men and women in the hippie movement wore jeans and maintained long hair, and both genders wore sandals or went barefoot. Men often wore beards, while women wore little or no makeup, with many going braless. Hippies often chose brightly colored clothing and wore unusual styles, such as bell-bottom pants, vests, tie-dyed garments, dashikis, peasant blouses, and long, full skirts; non-Western inspired clothing with Native American, African and Latin American motifs were also popular. Much of hippie clothing was self-made in defiance of corporate culture, and hippies often purchased their clothes from flea markets and second-hand shops. Favored accessories for both men and women included Native American jewelry, head scarves, headbands and long beaded necklaces. Hippie homes, vehicles and other possessions were often decorated with psychedelic art.

        Travel, both domestic and international, was a prominent feature of hippie culture. Hippie culture was communal, and travel became an extension of friendship. Schoolbuses similar to Ken Kesey's Furthur, or the iconic VW bus, were popular because groups of friends could travel on the cheap. The VW Bus became known as a counterculture and hippie symbol, and many buses were repainted with graphics and/or custom paint jobs—these were predecessors to the modern-day art car. A peace symbol often replaced the Volkswagen logo. Many hippies favored hitchhiking as a primary mode of transport because it was economical, environmentally friendly, and a way to meet new people.

    Hippies were often pacifists and participated in non-violent political demonstrations, such as civil rights marches, the marches on Washington D.C., and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, including draft card burnings and the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. The degree of political involvement varied widely among hippies, from those who were active in peace demonstrations to the more anti-authority street theater and demonstrations of the Yippies, the most politically active hippie sub-group. Bobby Seale discussed the differences between Yippies and hippies with Jerry Rubin who told him that Yippies were the political wing of the hippie movement, as hippies have not "necessarily become political yet". Regarding the political activity of hippies, Rubin said, "They mostly prefer to be stoned, but most of them want peace, and they want an end to this stuff."

        In addition to non-violent political demonstrations, hippie opposition to the Vietnam War included organizing political action groups to oppose the war, refusal to serve in the military and conducting "teach-ins" on college campuses that covered Vietnamese history and the larger political context of the war.

        Scott McKenzie's 1967 rendition of John Phillips' song "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," which helped inspire the hippie Summer of Love, became a homecoming song for all Vietnam veterans arriving in San Francisco from 1967 on. McKenzie has dedicated every American performance of "San Francisco" to Vietnam veterans, and he sang at the 2002 20th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. "San Francisco" became a freedom song worldwide, especially in Eastern European nations that suffered under Soviet-imposed communism.

        Hippie political expression often took the form of "dropping out" of society to implement the changes they sought. Politically motivated movements aided by hippies include the back to the land movement of the 1960s, cooperative business enterprises, alternative energy, the free press movement, and organic farming.

    Following in the well-worn footsteps of the Beats, the hippies also used cannabis (marijuana), considering it pleasurable and benign. They enlarged their spiritual pharmacopeia to include hallucinogens such as LSD, psilocybin and mescaline. On the East Coast of the United States, Harvard University professors Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) advocated psychotropic drugs for psychotherapy, self-exploration, religious and spiritual use. Regarding LSD, Leary said, "Expand your consciousness and find ecstasy and revelation within."

        On the West Coast of the United States, Ken Kesey was an important figure in promoting the recreational use of psychotropic drugs, especially LSD, also known as "acid." By holding what he called "Acid Tests," and touring the country with his band of Merry Pranksters, Kesey became a magnet for media attention that drew many young people to the fledgling movement. The Grateful Dead (originally billed as "The Warlocks") played some of their first shows at the Acid Tests, often as high on LSD as their audiences. Kesey and the Pranksters had a "vision of turning on the world."

        Harder drugs, such as amphetamines and the opiates, were also used in hippie settings; however, these drugs were disdained, even among those who used them, because they were recognized as harmful and addictive. Heroin, for example, was banned from the Stonehenge Free Festival.

    Hippies tended to travel light and could pick up and go wherever the action was at any time; whether at a "love-in" on Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco, a demonstration against the Vietnam War in Berkeley, one of Ken Kesey's "Acid Tests", or if the "vibe" wasn't right and a change of scene was desired, hippies were mobile at a moment's notice. Pre-planning was eschewed as hippies were happy to put a few clothes in a backpack, stick out their thumbs and hitchhike anywhere. Hippies seldom worried whether they had money, hotel reservations or any of the other standard accoutrements of travel. Hippie households welcomed overnight guests on an impromptu basis, and the reciprocal nature of the lifestyle permitted freedom of movement. People generally cooperated to meet each other's needs in ways that became less common after the early 1970s." This way of life is still seen among the Rainbow Family groups, new age travellers and New Zealand's housetruckers. A derivative of this free-flow style of travel were hippie trucks and buses, hand-crafted mobile houses built on truck or bus chassis to facilitate a nomadic lifestyle. Some of these mobile gypsy houses were quite elaborate with beds, toilets, showers and cooking facilities.

        On the West Coast, a unique lifestyle developed around the Renaissance Faires that Phyllis and Ron Patterson first organized in 1963. During the summer and fall months, entire families traveled together in their trucks and buses, parked at Renaissance Pleasure Faire sites in Southern and Northern California, worked their crafts during the week, and donned Elizabethan costume for weekend performances and to attend booths where handmade goods were sold to the public.

        The sheer number of young people living at the time made for unprecedented travel opportunities to special happenings. The peak experience of this type was the Woodstock Festival near Bethel, New York, from August 15 to 19, 1969, which drew over 500,000 people.

        The great hippy travel experience, undertaken by hundreds of thousands, especially in the period 1969-1971, was the "overland route to India". Carrying little or no luggage, and with small amounts of cash, almost all followed the same route, hitch-hiking across Europe to Athens and on to Istanbul, then by train through central Turkey via Erzurum, continuing by bus into Iran, via Tabriz and Tehran to Mashad, across the Afghan border into Herat, through southern Afghanistan via Kandahar to Kabul, over the Khyber Pass into Pakistan, via Rawalpindi and Lahore to the Indian frontier. Once in India, hippies went to many different destinations but gathered in large numbers on the beaches of Goa, or crossed the border into Nepal to spend months in Kathmandu. The length of stay in these places was usually between a few weeks and six months. A visa was required for a stay of more than six months in India.

  • Legacy
    The legacy of the hippie movement continues to permeate society. Public political demonstrations are now considered legitimate expressions of free speech. Unmarried couples of all ages feel free to travel and live together without societal disapproval. Frankness regarding sexual matters has become the norm, and the rights of homosexual, bisexual and transexual people have expanded. Religious and cultural diversity has gained greater acceptance. Co-operative business enterprises and creative community living arrangements are widely accepted. Interest in natural food, herbal remedies and vitamins is widespread, and the little hippie "health food stores" of the 1960s and 1970s are now large-scale, profitable businesses. In particular the development and popularization of the Internet finds its roots in the anti-authoritarian ethos promoted by hippie culture.

        Fashion was one of the immediate legacies of the hippies. During the 1960s, mustaches, beards and long hair became commonplace and colorful, while multi-ethnic clothing dominated the fashion world. Since that time, a wide range of personal appearance options and clothing styles have become acceptable, all of which were uncommon before the hippie era. Hippies inspired many other changes--the decline in popularity of the necktie which had been everyday wear during the 1950s and early 1960s; in literature, books like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; in music, the blending of folk rock into newer forms including acid rock and heavy metal; and in television and film, far greater visibility and influence, with some films depicting the hippie ethos and lifestyle, such as Woodstock, Easy Rider, Hair, The Doors, and Crumb.

        The tradition of hippie festivals began in the United States in 1965 with Ken Kesey's Acid Tests, where the Grateful Dead played stoned on LSD and initiated psychedelic jamming. For the next several decades, many hippies and neo-hippies became part of the Deadhead and Phish Head communities, attending music and art festivals held around the country. The Grateful Dead toured continuously, with few interruptions between 1965 and 1995. Phish toured sporadically between 1983 and 2004. Today, many of the bands performing at hippie festivals and their derivatives are called jam bands, since they play songs that contain long instrumentals similar to the original hippie bands of the 1960s. Psychedelic trance or "psytrance," a type of techno music influenced by 60s psychedelic rock and hippie culture is also popular among neo-hippies worldwide. Psytrance hippies usually attend separate festivals where only electronic music is played.

        With the demise of the Grateful Dead and Phish, nomadic touring hippies attend a growing series of summer festivals, the largest of which is called the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which premiered in 2002. The Oregon Country Fair is a three-day festival featuring hand-made crafts, educational displays and costumed entertainment. The annual Starwood Festival, founded in 1981, is a six-day event indicative of the spiritual quest of hippies through an exploration of non-mainstream religions and world-views, and has offered performances and classes by a variety of hippy and counter-culture icons.

        The Burning Man festival began in 1986 at a San Francisco beach party and is now held in the Black Rock Desert northeast of Reno, Nevada. Though few participants would accept the "hippie" label, Burning Man is a contemporary expression of alternative community in the same spirit as early hippie events. The gathering becomes a temporary city (36,500 occupants in 2005), with elaborate encampments, displays and many art cars.

        There are even more local and regional festivals, as well as underground and public gatherings, that enjoy a large attendance. The Rainbow Family Gatherings, Community Peace Festivals, Woodstock Festivals and others have helped perpetuate and continue the culture as well as creating an environment of peace and networking for the greater good.

        In the UK, there are many new age travellers who are known as hippies to outsiders, but prefer to call themselves the Peace Convoy. They started the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1974, especially Wally Hope, until the English Heritage legally banned the festival, resulting in the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985. With Stonehenge banned as a festival site new age travellers gather at the annual Glastonbury Festival to see hundreds of live dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other performances. Between 1976 and 1981, hippie music festivals were held on large farms around Waihi and Waikino in New Zealand. Named Nambassa, the festivals focused on peace, love, and a balanced lifestyle, featuring workshops and displays advocating alternative lifestyles, clean and sustainable energy, and unadulterated foods.

    Here are some other excerpts about the Hippies from other sources:

  1. 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

  2. ... see the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn’t really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, ... all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.

        -- Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums) 1958

  3. 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 it’s own agenda for controlling, even enslaving people. Each has to defend itself when threatened by real or imagined enemies. So we see though 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.

        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 engenders an attitude that allows for maximum personal growth.

        Our society only permits you one or two weeks a year of freedom to pursue your own agenda. The rest of the time we are slaves to the system. Hippies reject the 9 to 5 lifestyle and therefore are objects of ridicule by those whose lives run by the clock. Programmed people are jealous and resent the freedom we possess. The unmitigated freedom that hippies represent is the greatest threat to any system in which control equals power.

        With all this freedom comes a lot of responsibility. The system does not make it easy for us to survive without sacrificing our values. Therefore we must discover alternative ways to make a living without being a drag on our planet’s resources and our fellow humans. Hippies have pioneered numerous lifestyles and alternative businesses including communes, cooperatives, holistic medicine and health food. We focused everyone’s concern on the environment to highlight our responsibilities to our planet and to future generations.

        Other beliefs that spring from our core philosophy are: an earthy spirituality such as a belief in Gaia (the earth as an organism), the Greens movement (political activism), 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.

        So being a hippie is not a matter of dress, behavior, economic status, or social milieu. 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 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 it and cultivate our hippie within. Only then can we reach our true potential.

        As hippies age they come to terms with the same situations all humans must face. Wiser than before, let’s help the younger hippies find a way to save the earth and achieve more freedom than exists in our wildest dreams. Let’s find our common ground, build a worldwide community, and once again let our freak flags fly and become all we are destined to be.

        -- Skip Stone (Hippies From A to Z)

  4. Imagine no possesions,
    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)

  5. If you want to be free,
    be free,
    because there’s a million things
    to be.

        -- Cat Stevens (If You Want to Sing Out)

  6. ... maybe it’s the time of year.
    Yes, and maybe it’s the time of man.
    And I don’t know who I am.
    But life is for learning.

        -- Joni Mitchell/CS&N (Woodstock) 1970

  7. 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

  8. 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)

  9. You create your own reality.

        -- Seth (Seth Speaks)

  10. I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

        -- Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)

  11. The end of suffering comes through the cessation of our greediness, our grasping, our clinging -- much as an addict stops using a drug. We stop this clinging and extinguish our thirst not by drinking some magic spiritual elixir, but by seeing for ourselves how our thirst arises.

        The way to end our suffering is to loosen the tight grasp we have on life, to stop searching so hard for pleasure. We no longer seek newer, greater, more intense experiences. Instead, we just let our life be what it is -- and in doing so we can, at last, experience it for what it is. And as we loosen our grip, we can begin to see the end of our suffering.

        There may be much fear behind taking this new step, for it is contrary to what we usually do. We want to reassert our control and hold on tight again. But in order to stop our suffering, we have to allow pain into our life. Surprisingly, when we do, we will begin to reduce the suffering we create in response to our pain.

        -- Philip Martin (The Zen Path Through Depression)
           Quoted in The Practical Hippie website

  12. 7 Principles of Freedom If we want a healthy and long-term business, the principle of adding value holds true. The idea is not to try and make a lot of money but to try and add a lot of value! Provide a service, make customers very happy, truly satisfy them, and money comes as a consequence of that. And running our business on the principle of adding value, we don't need to be falsely modest either. There's nothing wrong in becoming rich if it means that we've been able to give something of good value to a lot of people. The primary focus is to add value, not to make money, that's the principle.

        -- Timothy Schoorel
           The 7 Principles of Freedom
           Quoted in The Practical Hippie website

    Have fun!


    Halleluyah (Praise the LORD / Praise YAHWEH)!

-- Paul Quek
    b: -- this blog!

Originally posted on: 6 December 2005
Revised on: 4 February 2008


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