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What Is A Hippie Philosophy, After All These Years?

Updated on August 23, 2017

Living a Hippie Philosophy

What do you think? Is a philosophy worth anything, if you don't live it?

Any real hippie philosophy is heavy on freedom, freedom to be who you discover you are, freedom to love who and how you chose, freedom from sexual taboos, freedom from war, freedom to open your mind and freedom to forget the garbage the mass media tries to stuff in your head to get you to be like everybody else.

That's what we wanted in a world we grew to find more beautiful and dangerous than we we were told. We pulled it off, too.

Things are far from perfect, but anyone who wants more freedom to express themselves can get and keep it much more easily than before we broke down the walls.

You aren't instantly scorned if you speak out for freedom, and people with different colored skins aren't automatically set apart.

I put it in words, one night.

The verses popped into my head as I was looking for a way to finish a poem. It was as if some ideas waited to come out, to make a statement about those barefoot, long-haired days when everything in the world changed.

One evening in the early 1970s, still hippie to the bone, not sure how long it could last, but hoping to hold on even after fear scattered my friends into hiding, I sat at my desk with the usual Bic and lined paper, and these lines rushed out of me:

To know.

To find love.

To be free.

That was it.

Short and simple.

It was passion for the freedom of the road, wanting to belong in an open community, trying to understand that big ball of something always calling us, and about living in a state of perpetual exploration.

My wife at the time didn't think much of the poem, or my hippie philosophy. Okay, so we could get divorced, but I had to live with this longer than any hippie marriage was likely to last, anyway.

Carrying It Through for a Next Generation

Hippies in the Sixties carried a future on their shoulders.
Hippies in the Sixties carried a future on their shoulders. | Source

#1 Hippie Philosophy: To know

To find love. To be free

We're inquisitive beasts, we men and women. We try to know things that are of no apparent benefit. We just want to know.

Without knowing, our sense of how to live erodes. Truth lines a path with insight that evolves gradually into wisdom.

To know is to have tools for building maps and exploring territories. Every knowing sends us down another dark road and waits for us to flash a new light of discovery.

And don't mistake knowing with facts. Facts are utensils and weights.

Knowledge is served by and exceeds facts.

We may first gather facts on our way to knowing, but soon, we leave the facts behind as if at a base camp while we climb to an unknown summit.

Knowing oils our brains with new insights to mix and match and patch together and get hints and ideas about truths.

When we quit the quest for knowing, the soft gears in our heads lock, stiffening with resistance.

A Naked Hippy Watches Stonehenge from Behind Barb Wire on Summer Solstice
16 in. x 12 in.
Put This Hippie Icon On Your Wall:

When I wrote those hippie philosophy verses after the movement cooled down, none of this was so clear to me. I only knew I was full of passion and understood that they rescued me because I'd been losing myself, falling off into history as the hippie days had.

#2 Hippie Philosophy: To find love

To be free

Love is big and juicy.

If we can love both God and peanut butter, then we no longer have a word with sensible meaning.

Love's been lobbed around like an old softball everybody has to play with until its destroyed. Now, we're short one word to explain that undying thirst for completion we all feel inside us.

My love's a slavishly selfish unselfishness. It's satisfaction, family feeling, creativity, mutual, shared exposure. Pretense has no place.

Only me lacks balance. Love is art, if not artful.

Finding love means locating that ability in yourself to recognize and embrace another's essential self, beauty, warts and all, as casually as you accept yourself, but seeing no need to fix or correct anything.

#3 Hippie Philosophy: To be free

Straight Out Of The Hippie Movement

Being one of the hippies of the 60s taught me to be free and to ramble down that road when it just seems like the thing to do and the hell with what anyone else thinks.

I want to look under lids and through windows.

My philosophy demands original experiences.

Rather, I want the unabridged right to do so. Or not.

Freedom is the ticket to pleasure, passion, fear, adventure, longing, exposure and peace.

Plus a lot more.

It's permission granted to find myself and and do my damnedest to understand the world. It's the most valuable asset available, and anyone who dares can own it, even if only briefly in a moment of sureness and wisdom.

You can never really know who you are without it. That's its ultimate value in the hippie philosophy.

Where did this hippie go?

The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot: The Autobiography of X, Book Three
The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot: The Autobiography of X, Book Three

When we dropped out in 1968, we believed the world was changing, and it was. But who could have predicted how much and in how many ways?

In this fictional autobiography, Peter McCarthy looks in all directions at a life of being a then and now hippie.


Taking A Hippies of the 60s Philosophy

On The Road To Find Out

My passion for writing poetry stayed but my hopes for a few readers didn't. I still write them. Once in a while I post them.

But my quest to know has taken me down a million different alleys of wonder, confusion, discovery and retreat. It's possible get to know some facts that are washed away easily in the next rain, never truer than sand.

Finding love, part two in my hippies of the 60s philosophy, has been an easy adventure too. When I finally learned the difference between "lovin' and pushin' and shovin'," as my friend Jim once wrote in a song, it got easier.

True love has no place for coercion, persuasion or pressure. It's just there and everywhere. When we try too hard, it bounds away from suffocation.

Free has been the hardest, the trade off with security and money (otherwise known in square society as "earning a living") too easy to fall for.

But I did finally declare my independence and stuck with it. Anything not voluntarily given loses value. And who wants second best when the best is always available.

Of course, you've got to step off that edge into freedom.

One small step... and... and... You're in the air!


Hippies: A Guide to an American Subculture (Guides to Subcultures and Countercultures)
Hippies: A Guide to an American Subculture (Guides to Subcultures and Countercultures)

When you read this, don't be surprised how much is now taken for granted the the Hippie subculture pushed in.


If Hippies Returned

What would you do if you had the choice to day?

See results


Every movement, political or otherwise, has a governing philosophy, and the counterculture hippies were no exception. Its most important values stuck and are still with us, fifty years down the road.

© 2010 David Stone

What do you think?

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    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 months ago from New York City

      You're right, Yves. We were rebels but not completely out of our times with either gender.


    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 5 months ago

      You might have been the exception, but male hippies were excessively self-centered. Free love worked for them, but it didn't actually work for the women who served them, I mean....these women really served them, in every single way. That was so "not cool." Just saying...

      Most people don't know that little secret, but it is true nonetheless.

      Anyway, your other hubs about cults look interesting, but I thought I'd check this one out first...

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      They've tried to make it harder, Merry. My generation was lucky, but they weren't going to let that happen again.

      Thank you.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Looks good here too Dave. It is interesting to look back on what the hippies were all about. Finding love is certainly key. Finding freedom is more difficult, with so many things that can become chains. Enjoyed reading this.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @ponchomeg lm: You're welcome, ponchomeg. Nice to have you still in the crowd.

    • ponchomeg lm profile image

      Meagan Earls 4 years ago from Michigan

      This is a lovely, interesting read. As a modern day hippie, bohemian, free-spirit myself, I love hearing other peoples' take on hippie lifestyles, philosophies, etc. Peace & Love to you. Thank you for sharing.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      @HappyTom LM: Thanks, HappyCoaster. It was more passion to write, and the joy came later. It was hard work in the early days when I first learned to write for Squidoo.

    • HappyTom LM profile image

      Tom Christen 4 years ago from Switzerland/Ecuador

      Great lens! Thank you so much for sharing! Was so nice and joyful to read it... Great! Love and peace...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @David Stone1: I didn't miss Woodstock, I was there when I was four years of age, I remember a lot of naked muddy adults, the smell of marijuana, lots of cars in the middle of the road and loud distorted music, oh, and my mom and dad argued a lot about where to find food.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: And, Holly, we love you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love Hippies

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @norma-holt: Hippies were a threat to established ways that were leading cultures into a spiritual desert. We just happened to be there at the time when it started falling apart.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      Wow Vortrek_Grafix pretty much said what I was going to say, but much more and much more eloquently. Way to go VG! I'm still a hippie at heart, but I see I'm not the world's oldest hippie. :-) Peace!TonyB

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      We frowned on the hippies when they got going in Australia but they produced some great ideas and now we can see that their philosophy was born of love not hate, of good not evil, of love of the earth not pollution and corruption of it and of a need to break free of the shackles that bind so many to old ideas that have had their day. Great lens. Blessed

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @tonybonura: There are no young hippies, but I'm hoping for something else. We did our bit. Maybe something envigorationg will come out of Occupy Wall Street.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @Vortrek Grafix: Thanks. I couldn't have said it better myself.

    • Vortrek Grafix profile image

      Vortrek Grafix 5 years ago

      I too saw my share of the 60's and was heavily influenced by it, even to this day. What I like about your "hippie" philosophy is that it focuses on universal values, knowledge, love, and freedom. I would like to add one more, and that is health (of mind and body). As long as these can be secured in life, then one has a sound and noble foundation from which to prosper as a human being. I would not restrict this philosophy to "hippies" per se, as some back in the day were misguided. I think anyone who can be subjective (i.e. take one's ego out of the global equation) about the meaning of life and harmonious co-existence, is basically following this very honorable philosophy.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @havokxtian: Thanks, it was fun to write, and I've tried to keep polishing it. It's #1 on Google for the search term.

    • profile image

      havokxtian 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      @WriterJanis2: Yep, a true story. Fun to write and have out there on the internet, getting reads every day. Thanks.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      What a cool lens!

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      I've always been a seeker and have a drive to "know" things, or even deeper "grok" them. It is interesting to me that my youngest adult child has adopted the hippie philosophy.

    • Zebedee32 profile image

      Zebedee32 5 years ago

      Very well written and presented lens. I had lot of hippie ideals when I was a kid, but as I grew older my Ideals changed.

    • pcgamehardware profile image

      pcgamehardware 6 years ago

      Fantastic, A great lens that is truly a piece of art. Thanks for sharing Dave.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      @gypsyman27 lm: Still happening, gypsyman27, still happening. Thanks.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this page quite a bit, and I'm happy to see you still representing a time that brought about great change in our society. See you around the galaxy...

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: There's a certain addiction with the dark side that keeps us from going there altogether, but we're winning. The effects of the hippie movement continue to swell through the culture.Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Dave, I love this is original, unique and personal. I appreciate your quest and where it has taken you. Thank you for sharing this lens with us.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      If we could totally embrace those three values, we could be so content.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      @Mermaiden: And getting louder, I think.Thanks.

    • Mermaiden profile image

      Mermaiden 6 years ago

      i really loved your lens. peace, love and music is still alive in the twenty-first century!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      @tvyps: Missed Woodstock, unfortunately (of fortunately, depending on who you ask), but I was very aware because my brother was on ship that was shelling North Vietnam before Tonkien, trying to provoke them into a war nobody wanted. Completely illegal and unethical, and I was warned in advance. I was eligible for the draft, and it was a multi-year dance for me until I told my board I would go to jail first. Fortunately, they exiled me to Buffalo where I eat peanut butter and jelly and read about Woodstock.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow, interesting...did you eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Woodstock? I was a little too young but I do remember it...along with watching tv at dinner and looking at the body counts mounting in Vietnam...we didn't think anything about it back then. We just all wanted to be like Greg Brady and have astroturf in our own yards so we wouldn't have to mow!

    • JackNimble profile image

      JackNimble 6 years ago

      Interesting Lens. Knowledge and freedom certainly are intertwined ideals worthy of any life philosophy and consideration when pondering the human condition. Love, oh to love, a connection of the heart beyond understanding and probably the highest sought after condition in life. I find it interesting that often in the search for love it causes many to face conflict. Thanks for sharing.

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 6 years ago

      There was much good that came from the hippie movement. Of course, if a person is open to it, good comes from almost everything, doesn't it? I've surely enjoyed this lens.

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 6 years ago

      The Farm...:)great lens, RWJR

    • singlemaltdram profile image

      singlemaltdram 6 years ago

      i really enjoyed this lens. I wish I'd been able to meet Ken Kesey. i fell in love with the movement for a time after reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: First thing that came to mind, Max, was that, while this is true, the catch is that a lot of people aren't real clear on their own philosophy. We have a pretty rowdy crowd over here. Thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens, we all have a philosophy that we live by, whether we acknowledge it or not--and a person's philosophy is a window into his/her soul. I loved the baby bloomer comment in paperfacets' comment, too.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @paperfacets: The hygiene things was part of a media effort to discredit us, downplay the counterculture and the powerful affect we had. So, people are still to lazy to know for themselves and buy into whatever crap shows up in print. BTW, I love the type baby "bloomers" in your last paragraph. We were and we still are.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I am into baby boomers! I read a blog once; the writer was tired that he got flack about his tattoos. At least, he showered everyday and had good grooming. Haha made me laugh.Our generation will be everyone's bane till we all leave this world, and I say good. I actually have the feeling that the baby bloomer's past and present earning powers kept the U.S out of a very deep depression.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @writercb1: Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, HareReminded me of the soundtrack from the play "Hair," which I still listen to. What an event that was when it came to town, a hippie happening. Thanks.

    • writercb1 profile image

      writercb1 7 years ago from United States

      Great lens! Thanks for making me think and smile. My mom was a hippie in the 1960s, and then she joined the Hare Krishnas!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @jptanabe: I believe you are and welcome to the group!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I guess I must still be a hippie too!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Thanks to you, my friend. I'm learning form you and the main improvements in this lens can be tracked to your examples. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Love this wonderful lens.. 5 love stars for you.. Dave :) Have a wonderful love time ;)

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 7 years ago from Sweden

      If this is what being a hippie means, I guess I have been one my whole life.

    • MarianaFargasch profile image

      MarianaFargasch 7 years ago

      Love your lens! Great job on it :)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @RetroMom: Singing the same tune, my friend, two part harmony.

    • RetroMom profile image

      RetroMom 7 years ago

      Dave, I am lensrolling this to all my Retro Lenses. Anything about Hippie Love is good!!!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Old?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      All we need is love, is all we need. Dave you are an old hippy that got it together!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Love your Hippie Philosophy. I makes life seem so uncomplicated. Thanks for including my Camping Essentials lens. I have added this hippie one too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Knowledge and freedom is for all and not a privileged thing - that is what I think that hippie philosophy is all about. I had been seeing many hippies before but could not understand the ideology, reading your lens makes me think if Hippies wanted to identify themselves with some effective cause - mainly freedom from society and the rules.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @anonymous: Thanks, Mon!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      @reflectionhaiku: Great compliment. Thank you. We all need to remember not just who we are, but why we are.

    • reflectionhaiku profile image

      reflectionhaiku 7 years ago

      Knowledge, love and freedom - great lens. Thumbs up

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      It is a mantra to live by and love by. Nicely done Dave.

    • javr profile image

      javr 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Great philosophy. I'm doing something like that starting pretty much now. This lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • nebby profile image

      nebby 7 years ago from USA

      1 word ----Awesome!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      Back at you!

    • profile image

      the777group lm 7 years ago

      I'm sending you a cyber PEACE sign. Keep on rockin' - or should I say, poem-ing.


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