I would like to pass along a big "right on" to Shannon Smith for the spirit she expressed in her My Turn article of April 21.
As one person that lived within the so-called hippie happening during the 1960s and 1970s, I have to say that most of us didn't have our heads wrapped around what was going down. Still, the experience of that time has continued to inform my life, as well as the lives of others.
There has been plenty written about the conditions that set the stage for the 1960s but, one could also say, it kind of just happened. It was more like suddenly the accumulated weight of the greed and violence that was the Vietnam War suddenly ripped through the social fabric canopy of our society and made a hole. (Social fabric, you know, like the habituated patterns we become conditioned to in the course of maturation.)
Through that hole came a bit of light and many people, young and old, saw and experienced possibilities for life beyond what the commercial and political machinery manufactured for our collective consumption. Suddenly the possibility for simple contentment could be seen, beauty experienced in natural everyday objects and activities, and it was really just fun to be alive.
It is interesting to me that at the meetings I attend in support of bringing an end to the current war, I see so many people in my general age range. Often in relating why one has become involved in peace activities, a reference is made to experiences in the 1960s and 1970s. I think that in waking up to a deeper view of life's possibilities, whether by chance or by effort, that which is seen as harmful to life, like the war in Iraq, environmental degradation, or domestic violence, becomes unacceptable and moves one to some kind of action.
I don't think the hippie thing is historical; it is, like, alive yet. And I don't think what we are talking about here is strictly a hippie thing. Every now and then a person wakes up and every now and then a bunch of people wake up. Out of our experiences, actions take form.
Maybe the weight of greed and violence is once again ripping a hole in our collective conditioned states. Rip or not, let's pray for light and lightness.
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