by Skip Stone
The Old Hippies
Old hippies don't die, they just lie low
Whatever happened to all the old hippies? The millions who rallied, marched, protested, chanted and boycotted? Are they now just rebels without a cause? Or have they turned into apathetic yuppies? We must ask these questions, because now is the time for them to come forth and accept the powerful role for which they are destined.
When we were young, our ideals motivated us to challenge the system. We wanted to change everything, to correct the wrongs, to reveal the hypocrisies, to bring freedom and equality to everyone, everywhere. Now we are older and presumably wiser, but are we still motivated by such high ideals?
The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are.
We were the essence of freedom. By rejecting the social program, its values, its prejudices and its fears, we discovered something beautiful inside ourselves yearning to be free. We were free to think, to do and to be whatever we wanted. Once we stopped seeking and experiencing this freedom, an important part of us stopped growing.
This is what happened to most of the old hippies. As they got older they married, had kids, got jobs, took on much more responsibility. They became part of the system. I wouldn't describe it as "selling out", it's more like adjusting priorities. Now it's up to them to rediscover their lost ideals and use the power they now possess to act according to those once highly regarded principles.
Your children are not YOUR children
A common problem with the old hippies is that they want to prevent "their" children from making the same mistakes they did in their youth. This is the instinctual parental prerogative. However, the problem lies in thinking that one's youthful activities (considered 'indiscretions' in politically correct terms) were a mistake! I hear this over and over again. I tell you one and all: What you did in the 60s was very important! You were Free in a way as you haven't been since. Whether you smoked a joint, dropped acid, had uninhibited sex, smelled like a buffalo, wore clothes you wouldn't get caught dead in now, whatever, it was the most perfect thing you could do!
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.
Decrying your mind-expanding experiences as innocent mistakes, belittles yourself, and does you more harm than good. Then to inflict this attitude upon your children is to commit a great hypocrisy. Politicians in the public eye won't come out and admit their questionable youthful activities and so set a bad example. Why is the "common wisdom" to lie to your children about your past? Do you believe that sets a good example? Do you think kids won't see through your hypocrisy? You will lose your children just as your parents lost you when you did your hippie thing.
I'm frightened for your children, that the life that we are living
is in vain.
Old hippies everywhere, this is a call to arms! You are needed! The children of today are our last, best hope to fulfill those beautiful dreams we had. There are young hippies everywhere asking the same questions we did. Only they're not finding the answers! Everywhere they are faced with politically correct brainwashed propaganda instead of truth! Get over your lingering doubts about the past. It's our future you need to be concerned about.
The sage does not hoard.
What are YOU doing to make this world a better place? Investing in mutual funds? Buying that new SUV? Joining a country club? It's time to GET REAL again! It's time to wake up! If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem!!! Have you forgotten who you are? What you are? Why you're here?
"We are here to make a better world.
No amount of rationalization or blaming can preempt the moment of choice each of us brings to our situation here on this planet. The lesson of the '60s is that people who cared enough to do right could change history.
We didn't end racism but we ended legal segregation.
We ended the idea that you could send half-a-million soldiers around
We ended the idea that women are second-class citizens.
We made the environment an issue that couldn't be avoided. The big battles that we won cannot be reversed. We were young, self-righteous, reckless, hypocritical, brave, silly, headstrong and scared half to death.
And we were right."
Want to remember that feeling you had before, when you felt you could change the world? Maybe it's time for you to reassess your life, your goals, your programming. What really matters? Not just to you and yours, but to us and ours. Your responsibility doesn't end with your family. That's the cop-out that transformed the hippies into yuppies. It's taken quite a bit of maturity for these yuppies, especially the very successful ones to realize that success is hollow if you haven't really done something for the common good.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power,
Cue Hippy Commercial: Are you tied down by job, kids, mortgage, and credit card debt? Remember when you were FREE? What did that freedom taste like? Do you think you'll ever experience it again in your lifetime? Will your children ever get a chance to be free like you once were? Or have they already sacrificed their souls to please you by accepting the values of this materialistic society?
We can change the world, rearrange the world. It's dying - if you
believe in justice. It's dying - if you believe in freedom. It's dying
- let a man live his own life. It's dying - rules and regulations, who
needs them! Open up the door.
It's way too easy to sit back in our comfortable homes, build our little nest eggs and pretend that those scenes of violence, hunger, war, and ethnic cleansing on CNN have nothing to do with us. You think we were naïve when we thought we could change the world. Well guess what? WE DID! You can point to the wonders of modern technology (we created them) and think that it will solve our problems. Sorry, but that's being naïve! Look at what's being done to solve these problems and think: What more can be done? What hasn't been tried? What can I do?
Feed them on your dreams.
Travel to foreign lands and see what industrialization is doing to them. Just so we can have cheap goods from plastic toys to computers, other countries are having to turn their agrarian societies into industrial wastelands, where there are no pollution controls, and the air, land and water is poisoned. Where once there were fields of rice, now there are skyscrapers in choking haze.
Look around and see how things have changed since you were a kid. You think our emphasis on materialism, conformity and success is healthy? For you, your kids or the planet as a whole?
Have you noticed the anger seething below the surface of many young people today? The violence, the intolerance, the invasions of privacy and the repressive conformity they face everyday? Is it really surprising that this anger suddenly bursts forth with deadly results? Violence, it seems, is the only way nowadays to express outrage at the system that succeeds in getting attention. Once upon a time, we had peaceful ways of venting our frustrations.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Why wait until these problems appear on your doorstep, or perhaps your child's school? Our hypocrisy and apathy will come back to haunt us. You CAN still make a difference. Get involved. Readjust your priorities. Spend time with your kids. Be honest with them! Please! That's all they ask. Share your youthful experiences, your lost ideals, your beautiful dreams for them and the world. Listen and learn!
That's what real love amounts to- letting a person be what he really
is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love,
you keep pretending- performing. You get to love your pretense. It's true,
we're locked in an image, an act- and the sad thing is, people get so used
to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains.
They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them,
they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most
Tell them about hippies. Hippies were real! We didn't pretend and put on airs. We didn't fake anything. We weren't selfish. We shared what little we have. We were honest about our feelings and acted accordingly. Yes, we were young, naïve, but somehow wiser than generations before or after. We were concerned about the important things that now seem forgotten. In our subsequent striving for success we have trampled upon those values we once cherished.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
What hasn't changed is the power structure that caters to the rich and powerful. The government, industry, international trade, laws, and political system are all biased towards those with influence. Money buys influence and put those without it at a great disadvantage, and thus nothing has changed.
The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the
This is what the Antiwar, Civil Rights, Black Power, Environmental and Women's and Gay Liberation movements were about. Getting our due portion of power and influence. Those who are oppressed, discriminated against, disadvantaged all need a way to influence society to their benefit. Those elements of our world that can't buy influence need aware individuals to represent their interests. These elements include the poor, the sick, children, animals, ecosystems, and natural resources.
It's a fool who plays it cool by making this world a little colder.
Ideals are nice to visit once in awhile. Don't be afraid. The only thing that will change is you, for the better. If you know something's not right, why don't you try to fix it? Just give it the attention it deserves and you'll have an influence.
So old hippies, ex-hippies, and those who regret never getting involved, what are you going to do with the rest of your lives? What legacy are you going to leave your children?
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
We need to find our voice again. Once more we must point out the system's
hypocrisies and lies and say enough is enough. We must not let them rule
us with fear. We must stand together. United we stand, divided we fall
victim to the system. That's how it's been for over 30 years now. How many
more years will it take, before we're allowed to be free? The answer, my
friend lies with you and me.