What We Need Are More Hippies

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

This diary grew out of a comment in The Dream Before the Awakening.  The comment was:

Do we really need more hippies?

You can shut out the world for the sake of achieving inner peace or whatever. It’s crazy to pretend, though, that if you get others to join you, the fundamental problems facing our future will go away.

I want to ask people to get engineering degrees, to become doctors, to learn the law, to learn about climate science – and to use this information to do good. Iin this world we need more Jane Goodalls and Barack Obamas, not George Harrisons.

So this person managed to diss inner peace, hippies, musicians and George Harrison all in one fell swoop.  And of course, the message of that diary was never that we needed more hippies anyway…but now that the topic has been raised, the fact is we definitely do.  It takes all kinds as my momma used to say, but more hippies sure wouldn’t hurt.  We would be SO much better off if we had allowed their wisdom to flourish back in the 60s – rather than allowing it to be repressed and killed off…which is what actually happened.

If we are to speak of hippies intelligently, we must first dispense with common misconceptions.

First of all, the stereotype for hippies is about as reliable as the stereotype for any other people, that is to say not at all.  Hippie culture was never monolithic.  It encompassed well over half of every kind of kid there was in the late 60s and early 70s, and spanned every socio-economic strata of American society.  If you weren’t a hippie in those days, what you know and think about hippies is probably wrong.  It’s not your fault.  The media has distorted the reality as a part of the conservative culture wars.  They are, and have always been, threatened by hippies who never had any trouble seeing straight through them and who consistently called them on their bullshit.  Progressivism (or enlightened thinking), started well before the age of the hippies, but for that one seminal decade, hippies were its natural home (though not exclusively of course).

* * *

The idea was to be a good and decent person, an authentic person, a person unlike those who thought it was okay to drop bombs on people.

* * *

If you were between the ages of 15 and 30 between 1965 and 1975, and you were smart and had a soul, you were most likely a hippie.

* * *

The hippies I knew and respected most were among the most serious people I would ever meet.  They were radically curious and unwilling to accept false or facile answers to tough questions.  We were very serious young people who took our responsibility to understand the world accurately and to act upon it in a profoundly positive way very seriously indeed – much more seriously than a majority of our non-hippie peers I dare say.

But mostly we were brothers and sisters embracing an ethic of gentleness and kindness, and who felt a deeply human and humane connection to one another.  My closest friends, hippies all (or freaks as we came to call ourselves), as I look back on them in all their joyful idealism, were among the noblest creatures to ever grace this planet.

In Defense of Hippies

There is also the fact that being a hippie does not preclude one from being a scientist (many are) or anything else much…except maybe a republican (Jerry Rubin being a possible exception…or maybe he’s just batshit crazy).  🙂

The fact is some of our best scientists have been hippies.  Nobel Prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman frolicked naked at Esalen, experimented with LSD and smoked pot and did ketamine with John Lilly, the dolphin dude.

Feynman and Nanotechnology


Feynman ain’t no hippie you might be thinking.  Think again.

Feynman needs him some orange juice.

Feynman was undeniably one of the finest minds of our era.  It can even be argued that one of his most famous professors, one Albert Einstein, was a bit of a proto-hippie himself.  


Then there was that outlaw hippie and notorious pothead, Carl Sagan.  How much poorer we would have been without him.  His wisdom and insight speak to us even now some 12 years after his death.

Carl Sagan – Cosmos Intro

Sagan’s brilliant Pale Blue Dot

Which brings me to musicians.  Is it fair to dismiss what they bring to the rest of us because it is more ephemeral than bridges, buildings or technology?  Are we not all affected, uplifted, inspired, soothed, made thoughtful, joyful or blissful by music at some point in our passage through this vale of tears?  Are there people immune to the magic of a joyful sound?  I know that I would take nothing for the gifts given to me by George Harrison and thousands of other wonderful musicians in the course of my passage.  What they have given me is beyond measure and beyond value.  I have nothing but love, respect and reverence for these fortunate ones blessed with the gift of music, and I will be forever grateful for their having shared their gifts with me.  

I could go on and on about all of the wonderful personalities, all the brilliant minds and all the great souls that can be found in the hippie universe, but perhaps I’ve made my point.

I close with the wondrous George Harrison and a few of his pals.

My back pages – Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Roger McGuinn



Thank you George for all you added to my life.



Skip to comment form

    • OPOL on January 28, 2009 at 20:53
    • Edger on January 28, 2009 at 21:44

    Anyone who isn’t or wasn’t a hippie, at least inwardly, has some serious psychological problems.

    • Edger on January 28, 2009 at 22:02


    • Robyn on January 28, 2009 at 23:28

    Cuts and Slashes:

    (Click the image for a larger view)

  1. are now in the category called “old hippies.”  I’m amazed by this, but very proud of it.  We, that’s you and me, brothers and sisters, were right.  We didn’t exactly win the war, but we didn’t exactly lose it either.  And, sure, we could use a whole lot more hippies now.  I don’t want to rekindle the old freaks vs. the straights war(s), but I know what side I’m supporting.  Peace out. >flashes “V” signal<

    • Viet71 on January 29, 2009 at 00:02

    when people believed they controlled the government, despite the 1960s assassinations.

    Opol, you need to grow up.

    There will be no more hippies.

    • RUKind on January 29, 2009 at 01:35

    I was born Oct 3, 1948. I started surfing here on the East Coast in 1965, adopted the surfer life-style and attitude which pre-dated “hippie”. Hippie was a combination late bohemian, beatnik, surfer, earth person, pacifist back to basics type person. With LSD and pot. Can’t leave out the spiritual awakening part.

    Us hippies have also been scientists, artists and the wave of innovation that created the web that we live in today. We turned to personal computers by the tens of thousands when they first showed up. Apple was still in a garage when thousands of us were banging out assembler code on stone knives and bear skins.

    Hippies continue to lead. We have raised a generation of children and the one after that is already starting to come of age. Our values endure and thanks to the technology we have created we have finally begun to see positive results in the political sphere.

    Being a hippie is about being true to yourself, kind to others and respectful of God’s creation. We never ruled anything. Adn we never will. We just try to make what’s fair and just possible.

    Our collective souls are helping to make reality a better place bit by bit. Being a hippie is being the change.


  2. Another great diary.

    I think that for all the talk over the years about us DFH, you`d think we would have been left by the wayside.

    Those who felt that way, will never know the inner peace we all have, & that we are still here, believing in the same values that allowed us to be us, hippies.

    And still contributing whatever it is we can, for the greater good of all, even those who would make us lessers.

  3. Another great diary.

    I think that for all the talk over the years about us DFH, you`d think we would have been left by the wayside.

    Those who felt that way, will never know the inner peace we all have, & that we are still here, believing in the same values that allowed us to be us, hippies.

    And still contributing whatever it is we can, for the greater good of all, even those who would make us lessers.

  4. and yet, somehow still appropriate:

    • dkmich on January 29, 2009 at 12:18

    I don’t know if you remember the poster of George Harrison from  his “all things must pass” album or not.  The cover is below.  The poster was dark, and it had him in this outfit framed standing against an old window.    Well anyway, I framed it and hung it over my fireplace back in the day; and despite a move, it still hangs over my fireplace all these years later.  It will never ever be relegated to the attic.  


    It is too bad the hippy culture didn’t live on and ripen to meet the potential of a new reality.   The one thing it did was question everything and then reframe it to bring it into the present.  There would have been real change in them thar hills ifen they hadn’t of killed off the hippies.

    There would never have been this stupid drug war, that’s for sure.  

  5. and there always will be. Just as it seems to be in our nature to set up rules, it is also in us to draw outside the lines as soon as they’re put on the page.

    Spiritualism, brotherhood, equality, freedom, mercy, creativity, spontaneity, the spirit of resistance — these themes keep coming back because the human spirit will not be contained.

    Call them hippies, anarchists, Zapatistas, whatever you like — they’ve always been here and always will be.

    To be human is to be the process of becoming. It is always the beginning.

    Thanks, OPOL.

    The real truth is always subversive. –Zdener Urbanek

    Never believe anything until it’s officially denied. –Claud Cockburn

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