What Is A Hippie Philosophy, After All These Years?
A Hippie Ten Years After
Peter McCarthy, like every other hippie dropout has struggled to fit in while keeping his values. By 1976, it seemed like every avenue had been searched, every possibility exhausted. But he still kept the spark.
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 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
#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.
#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?
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!
When you read this, don't be surprised how much is now taken for granted the the Hippie subculture pushed in.
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- Hippie Movement Alive: A 21st Century Interview
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- Hippies, What We Won and What We Lost
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If Hippies Returned
What would you do if you had the choice to day?
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