by Skip Stone
The Young Hippies
There's a whole generation with a new explanation.
I was very surprised to find when I started Hippyland that I wasn't just attracting old hippies like myself. There seems to be a large contingent of young people who consider themselves hippies. If Hippyland is any indication, they are legion. In fact, 85% of Hippyland's huge audience is under 30. What does this mean? To me it means the time is right for the second coming….of hippies. From what I can see, this new group from another generation has what it takes.
The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.
This new cohort of hippies is facing the same trials and tribulations we did, excluding Vietnam. Our mail indicates that these people view Hippyland as an island refuge in a sea of intolerance, apathy, hypocrisy, and violence. On Hippyland they can express themselves, communicate with others of their species, learn more about hippies, form communities and evolve.
Get up, stand up! Stand up for your right! Don't give up the fight!
From the rants on the Protest Page and in Hippyland's forums, it appears that intolerance is rampant especially among young people. Young hippies feel discrimination, rejection, even humiliation from their peers. It's as politically incorrect to be a hippy these days as it ever was. In fact non-conformity leads to alienation which can lead to worse things, like violence. Take Columbine High School as a good example.
Cannot believe what I see.
Yet these young hippies continue to go out among their cohorts spreading the simple message of love and peace. Unfortunately, many feel alone. In small towns they often stand out like a Peter Max poster in a funeral home. They long for acceptance. Once they discover other hippies their age that they can talk to (often on the Internet), they find the courage to face the intolerance of their home towns.
When others demand that we become the people they want us to be,
they force us to destroy the person we really are. It's a subtle kind of
murder. The most loving parents and relatives commit this murder with smiles
on their faces.
Like the hippies before them, they long for community, and are willing to uproot themselves from home and family to find it. Many are seeking out communes, forming drum circles, starting websites, traveling around the country and the world, seeking freedom and fellowship.
Many of these young hippies, amazingly are anti-drug. A few of them have really good reasons, but for many it's still an indication of the indoctrination from the anti-drug programs at school. These individuals lump all drugs in the same category, and can't distinguish among soft, hard, prescription, and those accepted by society like alcohol and tobacco. They see all illegal drugs as "dangerous or deadly". Many grow out of this prejudice and open their minds. It's not necessary to do drugs to be a hippy, but tolerance and understanding about drugs is essential.
So who are these young hippies? From what I can determine, they're a very diverse group who arrived on the hippy scene via different paths. There's ravers, wiccans, punks, pagans, and a lot of Christians. Most are American but there's lots of Canadians, English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Russians, Czech, Brazilians even Japanese. In fact just about every country has hippies (source: Hippyland's logs).
What are these young folk into? Let's examine two groups, the ravers and punks, and their lifestyles. The rave scene is highly developed in Europe. Indoor and outdoor venues cater to a mostly young crowd who come to experience the electronic music, their friends, and certain psychedelic drugs. The music varies from light trance to heavy hardcore with 160 beats per minute. The bass registers in your gut and you can't help but move to it, while the rhythm and synthetic sounds put you in a hypnotic state. The feeling of dancing to the heavy house beat of a different drummer with hundreds or thousands of others is an energizing, uplifting high in itself. Under the influence of Ecstacy, Mushrooms, or LSD it's like merging into a group mind.
The ravers are a natural progression from the hippies and represent the Kesey school of experiencing the world (albeit an artificial one) under the influence of psychedelics. Like the '60s acid tests, the group experience is what's important here. Fortunately ravers don't drink a lot of alcohol since it doesn't mesh well with other drugs, so you don't get the aggression of a Woodstock '99 mosh pit.
The rave scene is segmented not just by the variety of music and drugs but by attitude. There's an interesting offshoot called candy ravers. They like their "candy" (drugs), but they also subscribe to a philosophy that goes by the acronym PLUR, which stands for Peace, Love, Understanding and Respect. They've formed a tight, loving community. These young ravers have the hippy spirit and are eager to learn more and join forces with other hippies.
Many punks follow the hippy philosophy, with their own radical twists. They reject the existing system and authority. Many adopt alternative lifestyles, some even eschewing drugs and alcohol (straight edge punks). They are dissatisfied with the social program and the limited opportunities available since most restrict their freedom. Their attitude and extreme dress (not to mention things like piercings) make them stand out as easy targets for scorn and ridicule (like hippies). Their loud music is full of important messages that need to be heard. Unfortunately, even us old hippies have trouble listening to it, just like our parents and our music.
I think many of these punks whose philosophy is non-violent, but seek change and freedom are certainly welcome among hippies. They may dress weird, listen to different music, and have unusual lifestyles, but as long as their attitude is one of cooperation and respect they can be a part of the movement. In fact they might be the ones to challenge our tolerance, our values, and our agenda, forcing us to re-evaluate our own philosophy. This is healthy and should be encouraged.
You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time;
If you subscribe to Lawrence Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development, which says that moral development is conditional upon being exposed to role models that exhibit different levels of morality, then you might have some hope for humanity. Then we can assume that young people, if exposed to higher levels of morality, will adopt that morality. There is no limit to how far we can go, so long as we have appropriate models to learn from.
Keep the Faith!
The crisis in morality that we are facing today is due to the lack of good role models for young people. Let's see… We have a president who lies to the public and to his family. We have the richest man in the world whose idea of success is to crush his rivals, dominate an industry, and has so much money that he hasn't a clue what to do with it (although he is now coming around). We have minority sports figures who hawk clothes and get paid more just for the use of their name and face than all the people in third world countries making those clothes. We have another man running for president who refuses to acknowledge his own drug use, yet passes more stringent drug laws that would've put him in prison. In ghettos, we have drug dealers as the most successful role models.
So what do we get? We get a government that lies to its people to control them. We get industry that pursues short-term profits regardless of long-term damage to world ecology. We get children killing each other in school because of social ostracism for non-conformity. We get jails full of people doing time for victimless drug crimes.
The solution? A revolution in education is required. Every child should have a number of options available for education. Self-education must be encouraged so each child can pursue his or her interests apart from the majority. Self-pacing is essential so each student can absorb knowledge as quickly or slowly as necessary without waiting for others or "failing" to keep up. Communication between student and teachers (one student might have a number of teachers in one subject) will become more direct, more frequent and more effective. Thanks to the technology available now (computers and the Internet), this is not only possible but the most efficient system for education. These changes will minimize the typical brainwashing we've been putting our children through. We are about to witness the most significant change in education, EVER! (Pluto in Sagittarius for the next 20 odd years will make it so).
It's going to take a revolution in education, (one that includes morality and ethics as well as appropriate role models like hippies), coordination and communication, and unification of hippies young and old (via sites like Hippyland) to create a vibrant atmosphere for another movement. So let's join forces with these Young Hippies and set a new agenda for the millennium.
A Message to Young Hippies
Now is the time for all young hippies to come to the aid of their planet. Yes, I mean that. We need you now! I know you're young, inexperienced and unsure of yourselves. Our society has a plan for each of you. You can conform and be a part of the system, or you can discover who you really are, and express your unique individuality. The system has little tolerance for self-expression if it veers beyond the acceptable conformity. You've probably already experienced the alienation this engenders.
We, the old, tired hippies offer you a pact. We offer you our wisdom, our resources (yes, some of us have money), our considerable skills, our time and attention. In return you provide us your enthusiasm, your energy, your voices, your concerns. We can teach you our ways, you can teach us yours. Together we must discuss, organize, prioritize, coordinate, motivate, and activate our brethren.
We must develop an agenda for the new millennium. We must save our planet. We must demand tolerance. We must fight injustice. We must change the system. We must take only what we need. We must be examples to others. We must show them how futile and wasteful their programmed lives are. We must promote PLUR, Peace, Love, Understanding and Respect.
A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself.
We tired old hippies embrace you, surround you with LOVE, welcome you into our community, and initiate you into the tribe. You have a peer group without peer. We are your true family. Two (or three) generations together can do far more than one generation could possibly dream. We have a great deal of unfinished business that needs tending. Time is running out for those who want to make a difference. Join us, and together we will change the world for the better.
Hippyland is just one place where we can meet and make our plans. Hippies of all ages are welcome. Online communities are forming now. It's your life, your planet, your future.