I support all liberal causes, binge watch movies on the Hippie revolution, listen to rock music all the time and read about the Free rights movements in Berkley, Woodstock, Height Ashbury. I consider myself a hippie, but I don’t do drugs (which probably is due to lack of the “right” opportunity or company) . A lot of people find this to be a contradiction, but I argue otherwise. I am not against drugs, and advocate the “yolo” principle of trying everything once in life, but I think it takes a lot more to having a hippie spirit than just doing drugs. Contrary to popular belief, fake hippies are not people who don’t do drugs. Fake hippies are people who only smoke, do drugs and either don’t have empathy, or don’t express it. Ideologically, they might not have a clear idea of what they support and what they don’t support, but being in one of the initial stages is fine. In terms of overt behavior, there’s a lot of socially desirable “cool” behavior that is considered hippie, but is really not. Wearing an om shirt, bracelets that you bought from Kasol and going to a party everyday won’t make you a hippie . As liberal ideas and the concept of freedom becomes popular in colleges, there are a lot of people taking to these exotic appearances but hardly caring to reflect on what they symbolise.
For some Historical perspective about the hippie movement: it came in the wake of the 1960’s as an opposition movement against America’s interference and role in the Vietnam war. One of the popular slogans people chanted during this movement of “make love not war” (Lenon). It combined with it the second wave of feminism, sexual equality for women (abortion rights, contraception etc). It was highly inspired by the Eastern spiritual philosophies of Buddhism, Jainism and even Hinduism. It advocated for a more humble and non materialistic, anti consumeristic culture, strongly opposing big corporations and capitalism. People started living in communes to share resources and imitate life from the pre- high technological civilization era; lived naked and close to nature, and yes they did smoke a lot of weed. I’d say that the core aspect of this movement was its spirit to seek spirituality and ideas of a universal consciousness.
Soft drugs like marijuana and hashish were not that harmful, but what lead to the downfall of the hippie movement, as social scientists introspect, was drug abuse. Not usage, but abuse. I suppose these were hard drugs whose abuse that killed people eventually and also ended up giving the movement a bad name.
Indeed drugs were an integral part of the movement, but one must not deviate from what was truly the essence of the movement. It was the principles of compassion, spiritualism, peace, nature, free speech and other ideas of liberation. These were what made the movement successful, and not brought it down.
If you want to get high everyday, good for you. I support you decision, and perhaps even envy you. But if you call yourself a hippie because of that, and at the same time call a woman a slut because she has casual sex, or be mean to the domestic help in your house, you’ve lost all your respect from me and are probably a shame to the Hippie movement.
I am no one to give a license to people or validate their hippie identities, but I still hold the following views.
Following are actions of people who I consider “Fake” hippies :
- People low on empathy and compassion: who make fun of others (non reciprocatory, i.e even without them harming or trying to harm these individuals), don’t return favors, look down on others based on superficial parameters, bystanding bullying and injustice.
- People who discriminate against others based on their background, the way they dress, how savy their language skills are. i.e classist individuals
- People who don’t care about the environment- getting tattoos of mandalas, mantras and littering with the same hand is not very hippie.
- Being sexually conservative- slut shaming, judging others for their personal choices, thinking its “gross” to be casual about sex or judging those with a different sexuality. I mean the sexual revolution is what the Hippie revolution came under! (unless you’re taking a vow of celibacy for spiritual reasons)
- Who don’t ever meditate- its okay if you don’t do it on a regular basis, but never even wanting to try or thinking its “uncool” or “lame” is unacceptable if you call yourself a hippie.
- Who don’t care much for travel– I mean people who don’t actively read travel blogs, have a travel bucket list, care about wanting to be alone on trips, who just care about drinking with friends and not embracing nature, new people and cultures.
- Their attitude towards music- not wanting to explore genres, not knowing about psychedelic music, rock music etc. Sometimes a certain kind of music can give you a better high than the maal you’re paying for.
You know, I find that labels are a lot more complicated than they appear and really, there is no right or wrong to em. Some may argue that labels such as “hippie” ought to only be used for individuals of that era. Why? Because the world changes and the term hippie was used to describe individuals during that particular era, doing particular things in a world with a particular vibe, politics, conflicts, and so on. You can never replicate that.That said, I typically refer to myself as a “hobo”, which is a term I borrowed from the traveling workers of 1890. Now, I am not desperate for work, nor do I use trains to get from place to place. However, I am not tied down by typical living arrangements, travel, and work. Yet, I don’t consider myself homeless (I prefer the term houseless). How complicated is that? The moral of the story, as we try to define ourselves, we may borrow terms from the past or even from works of fiction. But really, these terms are open to interpretation and can be reinvented based on the individual. However, if anyone can ever claim to be “a real hippie”, then it is most certainly the group of folks from the 60’s. Either way, interesting post; got me thinking. Take care and enjoy!
Thank you! That does put a lot of things in context. You’re completely right! But I feel very emotionally connected to this time in history..like I am always visualizing it, as if in my previous birth (I know that’s not a real thing but still) I was a part of this movement. So every time someone’s politically incorrect and at the same time pretending to be hippie-ish, it just kills me! There should probably be societies where people who are “stuck in a particular time” can reminisce and devour it. What do you think?
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Oh some people do. And then invite the younger generation to join them: http://www.dancingrabbit.org/