By Phil Polizatto,Worldwidehippies -I often hear people referring to themselves as a “closet” hippie, “wannabe” hippie, “used-to-be” hippie. Hippie “in spirit” is a personal favorite of mine. It’s pretty close to the truth, too. But it’s still a way of distancing yourself from the word. As if using “hippie” without qualifying it, somehow embarrasses you, or that you have to apologize for it. I tell you to leave the qualifier behind and step into your true nature. And you certainly have nothing for which to apologize.
There is no need for this tip-toeing around. Brothers and sisters of all ages, hear me out. If you find yourself reading this, you are probably a hippie! Calm down. I know it may have come as a surprise. It’s OK. I’ll give you a minute to regain your composure. There now. Hippie is a lovely person to be. “Hippie” is a state of mind. It is an aura, a vibration, an intentional thought. It has nothing to do with the length of your hair or if you smoked pot. It is not defined by garb, slang or a gesture, though flashing the peace sign is always a nice thing to do.
“Hippie” refers to a person of either gender of any age, who embraces and wishes to move forward the values of the Hippie Culture. It is a culture that keeps on giving. It is a proud culture which has already given the world a myriad of gifts that today are taken for granted. They have not been rightly credited to their source. These gifts did not come easily, so here is a reminder of what some of them are.
Today, it is OK to desire peace, to strive for peace. Well, at least it is among those who do not have a vested interest in the military-industrial establishment nor their doublespeak media outlets. No. Today, it is popular and completely socially acceptable to want peace. No one will thrash you for actively working for it.
But 40-odd years ago, “peace” was a nasty word and those that promoted it were called “peaceniks.” They were hippie activists against the war. The moniker was used as an insult, and the “peaceniks” who protested the Vietnam War were dismissed as a fringe element. Just for a while, though. Soon the moms and dads of those “peaceniks” began to see the truth and believe what their kids were saying. So did many Americans who previously had their heads in their comfortable, middle-class sandboxes. The anti-war/pro-peace movement grew so strong in number and purpose; it actually put an end to the war. You can thank the draft card-burning hippies for starting that! So if you embrace peace, and believe war is obsolete, then you are a hippie! Say it loud, say it proud!
Today, being environmentally conscious and trying your best to be eco-friendly is a mainstream value. Recycling is everywhere. Huge corporations have embraced it, though perhaps not exclusively for altruistic reasons. It is without a doubt a faux pas not to recycle when there are all those color-coded trashcans in your home, in the parks, at the office, in the airports. The peer pressure to recycle is so strong that if you didn’t do it, a Hell’s Angel might whup your ass!
But there was a time when someone who actively worked to protect the environment was called a “tree-hugger.” Tree-huggers were hippies who felt the call to be environmental and ecological activists. The term “tree-hugger” was also used as an insult. The ear was trained to hear “tree-hugger” as someone to deride, someone whom the media gave people permission to demean by repetitively broadcasting lies that hid the truth of the real story going on behind the “tree-hugger.”
Yet here we are 40 years later, thankful that those “tree-huggers” were so insistent and didn’t give up. They fought to protect our environment and persuaded a nation to change its ways. Now it’s cool to be an environmentalist. From recycled paper and everything else under the sun, to recycling the sun itself to heat our water and even power our TV’s and automobiles – you can thank the Hippie Movement for them too! Hippies were “repurposing” things before any of us heard of the word. Hippies were using solar and wind power long before they became industries unto themselves.
We did it out of respect for the earth and because sustainability just seemed like common sense. Now we drive by wind farms or acres of solar panels, and think nothing of it. It is part of the mainstream landscape. How strange that “back in the day” our solar showers and wind generators were signs of a dirty, fucking hippie family. There are actually still many small farms out there that get their electric power from a nearby windmill or two. Windmills have been used for centuries and harnessing the sun’s power is an old endeavor, going back to the beginning of time. What radical notions! When you see alternative energies being developed on such a large scale, I think somewhere in that chain of events you will find a hippie to thank!
Today, “segregation” and “apartheid” are evil words. Most young people have been brought up to regard race as a non-issue. But at one time not so very long ago, it was a huge issue. It was an issue so big and divisive it would take the coalescing of a number of movements to have any effective power against the status quo. But we prevailed. And hippies were in the thick of it, marching for the civil rights of our African-American brothers and sisters. They did so out of a love for what it means to be a human, out of a love for fairness and justice, out of an understanding of the connectedness of all beings.
It seemed as if all the disenfranchised people in this country got up the courage to speak for themselves at the same time. People of color, women, and sexual minorities all were fighting for their civil rights. And hippies spoke up for all of them, marched with them, protested with them. Thank a hippie for fighting for your civil rights no matter if they were issues of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. If you truly love, and therefore seek justice and equality for all, then you are a hippie! Say it loud. Say it proud!
Love, peace, respect for the Earth. Hippies embrace all three. Over 40 years ago, hippies tried to teach the world there was a better way, an “alternative” way. Hippie Culture is an alternative culture that incorporates the best practices of other cultures around the world. Some are Eastern and ancient, some are Western and aboriginal, and some are the organic evolutions/revolutions that come from self-realization. Hippie culture is an alternative culture or maybe more properly stated a Culture of Alternatives to what the corporate dominated mainstream thinks is good for us. For example, the Hippie Culture gave us
Alternative medicines: botanicals, herbs, diet, medicinal marijuana.
Alternative therapies: acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga, meditation, natural childbirth.
Alternative families: single parent, multi-parent, two dads, two moms, to say nothing of the grandparents!
Alternative energies, wind, electric, solar, thermal, geothermal, tidal.
Alternative foods and diets: vegetarian, vegan, organic, local, non-pesticide.
Alternative economies: communal, cooperative, non-corporate, profit on product.
Alternative music: some of it might be called Classic!
Alternative lifestyles: feminism and gay liberation.
Alternative ecology: conservation movements, less clear-cutting, the EPA, cleaning up our streams and rivers, the Clean Air Act.
Alternative religion: spirituality in all its diverse manifestations, exploration of the inner self, the many paths to expanded consciousnesses, the reassessment of what it means to be divine.
None of it would be part of your everyday mainstream American life had the groundwork not been laid more than 4 decades ago by the Hippie Movement. Yes there still some who want to believe the lies that a hippie is nothing but a drug addled, promiscuous, lazy, and dirty, commie. But everywhere I go I see Hippie Values as the true Family Values. I see examples of peace, love, and respect for the earth manifested in many very real ways.
The organic food sections at the market, the golf course using only grey water, teens of every race hanging together, the garbage truck coming to pick up the recycled stuff, the gay bar on the next block across from the yoga studio, the county that allows only no-kill animal shelters, the library putting up new solar panels, and the city putting in light rail.
It seems so strange that at one time organic food was “radical” and today it is considered mainstream. The upper class, “conservative” family can now be found shopping in the “radical” organic produce section! It is laughable the way mainstream media plays with words. The nasty “tree-hugger” and naïve “peacenik” of the past are now regarded as the “environmentalist,” and one who is “peace-loving.” But this just attests to the fact that the corporate media can manipulate the meanings of words to suit their own agendas. “Radical,” “liberal,” “progressive,” “socialist,” etc. All these have been bastardized to the point of almost being the opposite of what they are. All are used in ways to intimidate and create fear. What is scary is that so many people fall for it!
“Hippie” is one of those words that got slapped with a negative label by our corporate media overlords. Now it is time to turn the tables on them! Now it is time to step forth and reclaim the title, “Hippie,” as something of which to be incredibly proud. Peace, love, and respect for the Earth. From these three principles derive all the other things we value such as social and economic equality, access to health and education, tolerance for diversity, and turning swords into plowshares.
If you embrace these things, then you are a hippie, clear and simple. Now all you have to do is admit it! C’mon, admit it. Just say, “I am proud to be a hippie.” There, that wasn’t so hard now, was it? OK, one more time, with pride and feeling. “I am a hippie, and I’m damn proud of it!” Even better!
Now go, brothers and sisters, with the pride of coming from a most remarkable culture. Remind your brothers and sisters of their wondrous history, and remind them it is not over! Yes, it was a short, little decade in the big, long history of the planet. But what a decade! Perhaps just a blip of light in the eternal scheme of things, but it continues to shine ever more brightly. It is the decade whose “state of mind” never ends. It continues to leave its mark and refuses to diminish in potency.
In fact, hippies are on the rise! There is a whole new generation of beautiful young hippies coming up from behind, who hold hippie values as dear as the old hippies ever did. I hope they slip easily and proudly into using the word, being the word. Their and our intentional vibrations of love are contagious, and like-minded people are jumping at the bit to show their true colors and have an impact!
Start asking yourself if the men and women running for office, local, state, or national, are making policy statements based on any kind of platform that has its foundation in love, peace and respect for the earth. Ask hard questions. Don’t settle for a non-answer. Vote for the people you think will move us forward into the light of understanding. Together, united, we are a formidable force. All hippies! Come out! Come out, wherever you are! It’s time to get your mojo running!
Eleven years in the writing and a lifetime in the living. Hunga Dunga is the text book of hippiedom. Real,raw and rebellious. This epic book accounts for all the days and years of an “Unapologetic Hippie” navigating life as a true free sprit. If you were alive and a part of the youth movement or ever wondered about counter culture from the late 60’s forward read this book. Joe McEvoy WWH