In the 60’s, liberalism and freedom entered the mainstream thought process of the masses in the USA. Whether it was the JFK assassination or the bombs that fell in Vietnam, the youth of America transcended their state of minds with ideals of love, peace, freedom of expression, revolution and a complete disregard of the administration system which in their new found minds was just a tool of oppression. The kids & teenagers who grew up in that time were exposed to a lifestyle that had a metaphysical impact on their minds. Music, drugs, sex and open beliefs became the founding pillars of the so called “Counterculture” movement. Music underwent a radical change in this time period. Artists such as Jefferson Airplane, Floyd, The Beatles, Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, The Doors and many more had acquired thousands of followers who believed in the ideals of their music and were greatly influenced by it to such levels that it passed just normal fandom. It was a love and faith that the people had for the musicians that surpassed themselves. Overtime, cult followings associated with such music arose all over the globe.
Drugs became increasingly popular with every passing day. Marijuana swept over the nation like a plague with almost every teenager having at least tried it or smoking it on a regular. Pot was rapidly illegalized by the Government and classified as a Schedule I drug by the FDA. Psychedelic drugs, so called for their mind-manifesting abilities found their way into the minds and hearts of the rebellious youth. Advocates and preachers of psychedelics such as Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey were pioneers of the Acid Culture. “Turn On, Tune in, Drop out” was the slogan preached by Dr.Leary which was sadly misinterpreted to mean “abandon all constructive work and get high.”
A number of young people unable to handle the immerssive experiences and altered changes in their mindsets were pushed to depression and eventually their death by suicide. The Government came thrashing down on substances such as LSD, mescaline, mushrooms etc. with severe punishments for possession or distribution.
And soon, the generation passed, the time period passed, and nobody could ever go back. No amount of reminiscence or nostalgia could ever recreate that time.
Quoting Hunter S.Thompson :
“It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.…There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.…
And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.…
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
The hippie movement was one that created a spark in our minds. The unforgiving pursuit of happiness and a hedonistic approach to life comes with a price, which is mostly a stable life, a normal job and a routine.
However, the free mind will always prevail over the tamed mind as it negates all that it has left behind and remembers all that it was moulded from. Besides, whats wrong with being happy?
Hippies at the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco during the summer of love, ’67.