Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I saw the best minds of my generation...

Things are cyclical. (Things. Funny word. Means everything and anything. Other words have come and gone, from "shit" to "junk" to "jawn," yet we always colloquially revert back to "things.") The word "hippie," as well, derives from "hip" and "hipster," (which of course is the millennials' lazy incarnation of the hippie) and was initially used to describe Beatniks who'd moved into Greenwich Village, Venice, and the Haight. The origins of the terms "hip" and "hep" are uncertain, yet by the 1940s both had become part of jive slang and meant "fashionable or up-to-date." The Beats adopted the term "hip," and early hippies inherited the language and counter-cultural values of the Beat Generation. They created their own communities, listened to psychedelic music, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as cannabis, LSD, and psilocybin mushrooms to explore altered states of consciousness. Since the 1960s, hippie culture has been assimilated by mainstream society, including health food, music festivals, contemporary sexual mores, and the cyberspace revolution.

George Harrison in San Francisco
In 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and the Elysian Fields' Love-in popularized hippie culture, leading to the Summer of Love on the Left Coast, and Woodstock in the East. Hippies in Mexico, known as jipitecas, formed La Onda 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 travelers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge and later (in 1970) to the gigantic Isle of Wight Festival with a crowd of around half a million. In Australia, hippies gathered at Nimbin for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally or MardiGrass. "Piedra Roja Festival", a major hippie event in Chile, was held in 1970.

A July 1968 Time magazine study on hippie philosophy credited the foundation of the hippie movement with historical precedent as far back as the counterculture of the Ancient Greeks, espoused by philosophers like Diogenes of Sinope and the Cynics as early examples of hippie culture. It also named as notable influences the religious and spiritual teachings of Henry David Thoreau, Hillel the Elder, Jesus, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The first signs of modern "proto-hippies" emerged in fin de siècle Europe. Between 1896 and 1908, a German youth movement arose as a countercultural reaction to the organized social and cultural clubs that centered on German folk music. Known as Der Wandervogel ("migratory bird"), the movement opposed the formality of traditional German clubs, instead emphasizing amateur music and singing, creative dress, and communal outings involving hiking and camping. Inspired by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, Hermann Hesse, and Eduard Baltzer, Wandervogel attracted thousands of young Germans who rejected the rapid trend toward urbanization and yearned for the pagan, back-to-nature spiritual life of their ancestors.

During the first several decades of the 20th century, Germans settled around the United States, bringing the values of the Wandervogel with them. Over time, young Americans adopted the beliefs and practices of the new immigrants. One group, called the "Nature Boys", took to the California desert and raised organic food, espousing a back-to-nature lifestyle like the Wandervogel. 

Beats like Allen Ginsberg crossed over from the beat movement and became fixtures of the burgeoning hippie and anti-war movements. By 1965, hippies had become an established social group in the U.S., while the hippie ethos influenced The Beatles and others in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, and they, in turn, influenced their American counterparts. Hippie culture spread worldwide through a fusion of rock music, folk, blues, and psychedelic rock; it found expression in literature, the dramatic arts, fashion, and the visual arts, including film, posters advertising rock concerts, and album covers.

...destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.