Like the Existentialists, Hippieists believe that freedom of lifestyle and personal expression are crucial for humans to reach their full potential and to be truly alive. However, they’re a lot more optimistic than the Existentialists, incorporating a Hedonistic ethos in which the pursuit of pleasure plays a large part. Incorporating ideas from many different cultures and traditions, Hippieism is meant to be a sort of melting-pot of spirituality and cultural mores, even if sometimes those ideas end up becoming cliche and ushering in a conformity of their own. Despite the fact that Hippieism is often primarily associated with fashion, it’s the ideas underlying its outward appearances that what is most important to its movement: freedom, Naturalism, Hedonism, Epicureanism, and sometimes Eroticism, as well as many other ISMs.
The Hippieism movement of the 1960s was such a powerful and important event in modern cultural history that it still greatly influences and defines our cultural landscape today. Largely a reaction to entrenched reactionary elements that had taken hold in the U.S. following WWII, Hippieism emphasized freedom of lifestyle, expression and fashion, while opposing political attitudes that supported conformity, economic wave slavery, civil rights inequality, and international interventionism. Many of the freedoms and civil rights enjoyed today in the U.S. and Europe can be said to have begun with the Hippieism Movement.
Hippieism sometimes struggles to stay relevant, as it has been co-opted by the same power structures it fought against, and lost many of its proponents and constituency to commercialism and Yuppism. Moreover, it’s anti-authoritarian stance made it difficult to organize and preserve. However, much of its message has been kept alive in other forms, such as Informationism, Dudeism and its resultant digital revolution, and some burgeoning contemporary political movements.
Many Hippieists practice their religion by aping the conventions of the 1960s movement: The music, the clothes, and accouterments like Asian artifacts and VW camper vans. While this form of iconography serves a purpose, other elements are probably more in line with the movement’s original values: eastern practices like yoga and meditation, hallucinogenic drug experimentation and ritual, philosophical discussions about “how to change the world,” and natural living arrangements (or at least, recreation). Hippieists are generally skeptical of hard-and-fast rules and tend to adopt a live-and-let live attitude with everything they do, generally criticizing others only when they practice oppression or exploitation.
The hippie era was a wonderful time because we still believed we could make the world a better place. — Lemmy
If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there would be peace.
— John Lennon
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead
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