Dear Old Hippy,
I think it’s real groovy that you’re taking time outta your day to help us kids out. We really need your help and guidance to show us how to pick up where you left off…
Anyways, I have a question for you. How do you think I should deal with my peers? What I mean by that is, how do I cope with the fact that my teenage friends are ignorant about what’s going on and aren’t in tune. It’s so frustrating to try to talk to them, to find that they interpret what I say as something completely different. They are all Mtv babies, and can’t seem to understand why I would choose to love other people and try to help out with the problems our world has. They are all just a bunch of lazy punk asses who don’t give a damn about what happens to the world and they hate hippies (except for me, of course…). I love them all, but none of them understand me. How do I open their eyes? I’ve tried everything, Old Hippy. I’m at the end of my rope!
I’ve written asking for your guidance, and that is all I want. So, enlighten me. Please? Thank you so much.
Love, Peace, Hemp, and Trips Galore,
Your problem is common among teenagers. Teens are conformists. They feel secure by dressing, acting and viewing the world the same way as their peers. This way they are accepted by the group. Fortunately some teens begin to experience things from a new perspective. They get exposed to other ideas and people that cause them to view the world differently from their peers. It is these individuals who evolve out of society’s mold, who see the world for what it truly is, then change that world in a way no conformist could ever dream.
Your mission Star, should you decide to accept it, is to change the world. If you are ridiculed as being different, or cast out from your peers, we hippies will take you in and respect you for who you are. The only thing that will self-destruct is the limited role that conformity dictates. Be free, be yourself and leave those that would limit you. You can open the eyes of a blind man, but you can’t make him see! Let others see you being yourself. They will be attracted to you and new, deeper relationships will soon blossom.
– The Old Hippy
Posted by: skip
Respect for women varies from culture to culture. The main difference seems to be between Patriarchal societies (where power resides with men) and Matriarchal (where power resides with women). Almost all Judeo/Christian societies are patriarchal, where as many primitive cultures are Matriarchal.
Believe it or not, in some societies women own the property and pass it down to their daughters. Women are the leaders and make the important decisions. And yes, it works just fine. So there is no inherent reason why women shouldn’t be treated equally.
My understanding (although I don’t have any figures on hand) is that Matriarchal societies are far less violent. In pagan belief, women or should I say feminitity is worshipped (as is mother nature) since women are the ones that bring new life into the world. Paganism has always been repressed by organized religion as they fear and supress the animal we all have within.
In the ’60s, women became aware of the discrimination and double standard imposed upon them by this male dominated society. This is because suddenly women became part of the workforce, but weren’t treated equally. It’s quite understandable since men hadn’t had to compete with women before.
Feminism became a very powerful movement in America and did help liberate women from some of the stereotypes. Men were extremely defensive for awhile as it’s difficult to change these ingrained patterns of thinking. (A lotta cognitive dissonance going on there)
Nowadays women do have more power and opportunities, but they still have far to go to counter centuries (or millenia) of cultural bias.
In my opinion, society would greatly benefit from a return to Matriarchy as the violence (almost entirely male in origin) has gotten out of hand. Some people say that it’s men’s nature to compete for women and if it takes a fist fight or a whole war, it’s something we should just accept as an expression of our animal nature. Bullshit. While there are many animals that do fight for mates, they rarely fight to the death. Only humans, the highest species does this, and for far less reason than mating.
On the positive side, changing roles is something not only challenging, but very enlightening. However it will take many generations before men and women can just be themselves without society dictating the roles. It’s our aging social and religious institutions that are slow to accept change. Even big business and government are unwilling to share power with women as long as the good ol’ boys are still around. Give it a couple of generations more and maybe we won’t have to be discussing this anymore.
Posted by: Skip
I like the hippy ways, and even tho I am not a real hippy, I think that you promote a lot of good things. Most hippies are concerned with caring for Mother Earth, keeping the world a peaceful place, preserving forest lands, picking up litter, buying organic foods, and protecting the animals. All of the things that you promote are great, besides drug usage. If all hippies are concerned with being natural, and protecting all of Mother Earth’s creations, doesn’t that include us – human beings? Why use drugs and hurt your body and mind – Mother Earth’s greatest creation? How can you promote all of these good things but at the same time kill some others?
This is a good question. I’ve answered it before, but I’ll try again. You ask this question from a position of innocence. So let me ask you a few questions. How do you define drugs? Have you ever taken any? Is there a difference between illegal drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol and tobacco besides the legality? Are ALL drugs good or evil? Remember just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. It just means it’s illegal. For instance taking a prescription drug without having a prescription is technically illegal. Does that make the drug taken bad???
You’ve obviously heard the anti-drug message in school, on TV, from parents, friends etc. This is a good message, especially for children. Children don’t need to experiment with drugs. Many children are given drugs in school whether they want them or not! Ritalin is just one drug used to “control” students. This is the point. Some drugs are used to “control” when authorized and issued by the government, schools, even parents. Drugs that affect your mind can either control it or open it! The underlying goal of schools and the educational system is to create “good citizens. Good citizens are productive members of society. That is they work hard, pay taxes, and obey all laws without question.
If this were truly the “American Way”, we would still be a British Colony! No, America has always had freedoms denied to other countries. Freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Freedoms including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The founders of our country refrained from trying to define this since further definition might limit these freedoms. Several of our founding fathers grew and smoked hemp! Now it is illegal, does that mean Washington and Jefferson were criminals?
You mention that you respect the hippy values concerning mother earth. Which would seem more “natural” to you, ingesting an organically grown plant in it’s native state, or something synthesized in a laboratory, mass produced in a factory, bottled under sanitary conditions, distributed around the world, and priced many times (sometimes hundreds of times) more than it cost to produce?
Now for the answers to the questions I posed before. The important difference between all drugs is whether they affect the mind and how. And yes, some drugs can kill. Alcohol is the most deadly drug we have in our society. Yet it’s perfectly acceptable! Marijuana on the other hand has no lethal dose. That means you can ingest all you possibly can with absolutely no risk of death! There has NEVER, EVER been a death attributed to overconsumption of marijuana.
Are All drugs good or evil? Of course this is a rhetorical question. Yet, you seem to believe all drugs are bad. Your anti-drug programming is so strong, you can’t distinguish between drugs. In more tolerant countries like Holland and Switzerland they have two categories of drugs. Soft drugs and hard drugs. They distinguish between these because the users are either recreational (soft) or addicted (hard). Soft drug use (marijuana, hashish) is tolerated, with no ill effects to users or the society. Hard drug (heroin, cocaine, speed) use makes people addicted and that means they have a problem with drugs. If they have a problem, the governments of both Holland and Switzerland want to help these people, not persecute them! They put their money into medical and social programs to help these people overcome their addictions or at least prevent them from being a burden on society by committing crimes to support their habit. This means that they even give these addicts their drugs!
We at Hippyland do not advocate the breaking of any laws! However we do insist that people know the facts! Marijuana is not a harmful drug. On the contrary, until it’s prohibition in the 1930s, marijuana extract was produced and distributed by 16 major drug companies in the U.S. to cure a wide range of maladies. It was a very popular product then, as it is now. Millions of Americans have smoked it and do so every day. They are all considered criminals and under the threat of imprisonment at any moment. Each year over 600,000 people are arrested for cannabis offenses. Many go to jail and have their house, cars, boats confiscated and never returned, even if they are found innocent! Once productive members of society thus become an expensive burden to society, requiring new jails to be constructed at an alarming rate. Did you know that the U.S. incarcerates a larger percentage of it’s population than any other country? About three times the percentage of the next country!
Recreationally accepted drugs (legal) in the U.S. are alcohol and tobacco. Attempts at prohibition have never succeeded. Likewise the $18 billion to be spent this year on the WAR ON AMERICANS, is not likely to do anything but put more innocent people in jail. Again, alcohol and tobacco have been PROVEN to cause hundreds of thousands of DEATHS each year. Why aren’t these drugs illegal? Why aren’t the users sent to jail? Why do we prosecute people who use far less dangerous drugs like marijuana? These are the questions you need to ask yourself, your teachers, your parents, your friends, your congressmen, and your President.
-The Old Hippy
Posted by: skip
(Note: this is from 1999)
I recently heard that they are sending ground troops to kosovo.
i was told that they are most likely going to start a draft. i am 19
years old and am worried about being drafted. i think it is terrible
what is happening over there but feel that killing is not the
answer. i am strongly against fighting and would do anything to not
go if i was drafted. there are surely better ways to go about
helping other than killing. what i am wondering is do you have any
suggestions on how to dodge the draft and what the consequences of
me doing so would be. also, even if it doesn’t come down to a draft, are
there ways i can help to remedy the situation that do not support the war?
and lastly, where do you stand on this issue? do you feel
there are other ways to go about this other than fighting and
killing? is there a point where i should suspend my beliefs toward
war and killing in order to fight for the lives of others? i feel
like my beliefs are opposing each other on this issue. on one side i
hold the belief that all killing is bad, war is evil and that
peace is the solution to everything, and on the other i believe that
it is everyone’s duty to help others in need. if the only way to help
the muslims in kosovo is war, i am confused. i do not know what is
more important. helping others or having peace. could it be
possible that the only way to create peace between the serbs and the
muslims is war? i hope not but it is certainly a possibility,
as against war as i am, i sometimes
feel it could be a good thing. and while i cannot justify killing
other humans simply because they hold different beliefs, in the long
run, could it be possible that war is helping to prolong the
existence of the human race?
i will attempt to explain what i mean.
in all animals other than humans there are certain limitations set
upon the species which limit the size of the population. these
include but are not limited to disease, fighting and killing due to
competition or need for food, and the size of the animals habitat.
when one elk kills another when competing to win the right to mate
with a certain female, or when a heard of caribou leave a sick member
to die or be eaten by wolves we say oh that is sad, but no big deal,
it is natures way. but as humans we have found ways to cure
diseases that should kill large amounts of people and we have created
special programs to help those individuals who are not able to
survive on their own. we have developed medicines and diets that
allow us to survive many years longer than was ever possible. all of
these developments ultimately increase the number of humans on
this earth and there is only so much room for us to grow. we are
already destroying the habitat of other animals so that we may
continue to expand. i feel that inevitably the earth will be unable
to support us any longer and something will happen to extinguish our
existence. or at least cut our population by a huge proportion such
as the bubonic plague did. perhaps war is the last natural way to
control our population? maybe peace (at least when thought of as
stopping war) is more harmful to everyone than war itself? these are
all questions with which i struggle and was just wondering if you
have any insight which could shed a light on my confusion.
one last thought. . . peace is a wonderful goal to work toward but everyone’s
definition of this should not simply mean ‘no war.’ it is much more
important to be at peace with our individual selves and with the
natural world than to end war. we have committed far greater crimes
to our mother earth and our brother and sister animals than we do
when we kill each other. at least in war the two sides know what
they are getting into and have an understanding for what is going on
and for the consequences. And to the Old Hippy, thank you for your
time. I am sure everyone who writes to you is as appreciative as
myself that there is someone out there to listen to our questions and
provide guidance when we need it most.
Wow, what difficult questions! You’ve obviously thought this out. I wish more of us would think things through before we open our mouths. I’ll try to answer these deep questions.
First concerning the draft and how to dodge it. Thankfully, there isn’t one now and hopefully it won’t be necessary to force people against their will to travel long distances to kill people they don’t even know, or get killed themselves. I wasn’t a draft dodger myself as I was in a lottery and got a lucky number, over 300. Even though I was in school I would’ve been drafted if my number was lower. There really was no escape from the Vietnam era draft in the early years, except to flee the country. Many of our boys went to Canada. I suppose many of them still live there!
Since the draft was stopped, I believe it will take an act of Congress to restore it. One can only hope that should they resort to that desperate measure they’ll use some common sense and not force people to serve against their will and conscience. I know the armed services have had trouble in the last few years filling their quotas. This could mean that they are understaffed for a prolonged conflict on a wide scale. So this IS A POSSIBILITY! It’s good that people are concerned about this because it can happen pretty fast. One day you’re graduating high school looking forward to college and your future when a draft notice arrives and suddenly your future becomes much less certain.
I hope that in the event of another draft, everyone will get out and protest! Don’t wait until YOUR NUMBER IS UP! I believe if you feel it’s your duty to defend “your country” against Serbian aggression, then, hey, go for it. It’s your life. But if you don’t believe that killing others is the solution, then you must say it and SAY IT LOUD!
Now as far as other ways to help the situation. There is always a need for volunteers to help get aid to the real victims of war. Everything from picking up donations to delivering them in the field requires much time and energy. I’m sure there are agencies in your area that are helping out the refugees. In any war there are many ways to assist, and many ways to protest. As we are seeing, much of the war is fought with propaganda, with each side trying to convince the public that they are right. That is also how you protest. You organize, you go out in public, you provide information, and you make your feelings known! You march on picket lines, you sign petitions, you write your congressmen, you boycott, you rally, you get your friends to help. That’s what it’s all about, that’s what it takes to sway public opinion and the political powers that be. We’ve done it before, we can do it again.
As far as the situation in Kosovo is concerned, it is a real mess. At this time we are hearing reports of innocent Kosovo civilians being killed by an air attack on a convoy. This is the tragedy of war. The people who make war, whether they sit in the Pentagon or in some Palace in Bagdad or Belgrade are immune from it’s effects. Our government respects the rights of dictators and mass murderers far more than the innocent people smashed by the war machine. All in the name of sovereignty. Makes you wonder just how much they’ll care about YOU when YOUR NUMBER IS UP, eh?
It took the destruction of Europe to finally get to Hitler. Do you think it will take any less to get to Milosovich? Do you think he would stand down? His power in Yugoslavia is absolute, and so he is absolutely corrupted. Does this mean he would sooner see the destruction of his country and the death of all his countrymen before he would surrender? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out!
So this leaves us with a moral dilemma of global proportions. What have we learned since WWII and Vietnam that can help us with this situation? During the beginning of WWII the U.S. sat on the sidelines being neutral, not wanting to get involved. In the meantime, Hitler’s troops rolled over one country after another, inventing more efficient methods of “ethnic cleansing” along the way. Eventually it got to the point where the U.S. finally felt threatened by the situation. If we had acted earlier, how many MILLIONS of lives would have been saved?
In Vietnam, our government viewed the situation through the lens of the “domino theory” believing that once Vietnam became totally communist, the rest of Asia and the Pacific would follow, in a similar fashion to Eastern Europe. Remember communism was at its peak in the 60s! In this case with Serbia, it’s not an issue of ideology or economic theory. It’s a clear case of ethnic and religious rivalry and greed. In my opinion this irrational hatred is the most serious issue facing the world on the eve of a new millennia.
But these issues are human issues and have been present since man first killed man. According to Eastern philosophy, the individuals involved, whether they have the power to declare war or are the first innocent victims, are fulfilling their karma. To judge these people and their actions in any way draws you into their karmic energy. If the world is a giant stage where we act our parts in some life or death drama then we must choose our role carefully. For we are doomed to act the part over and over again until we get it right. To get it right means that we treat others with love and respect, thereby freeing ourselves from the karmic burden and the cycle of reincarnation.
So to answer the last questions you posed, war is not a solution that automatically brings peace. Yet peace always comes when the war ends! Taking sides in a war means that you are now involved karmically. Calling for peace and helping your fellow man is the path of love and will bring about the best results.
By asking these questions, I can see you are on the right path. Your observations about man and the larger ecosystem reveal your insight into what lies behind Maya, the illusion. The natural forces at work are far beyond man’s comprehension. They have provided us with a luxurious garden that provides far more than we need. We will eventually pay for our lack of respect for this garden, and this time we might be exiled permanently. If the planetary choice is between our species and the health of the planet, I wouldn’t bet against mother nature finding a way to “cleanse the human disease”. By respecting your fellow man, regardless of his karmic situation, you improve life on the planet. Indeed, showing this respect for all life and the planet itself is the only way we can make it through the next millennium.
-The Old Hippy
Posted by: skip
my dear friend is a Communist. a ‘marxist idealist’ she calls herself. we often have debates going on the matter; she was telling me that one of the policies of the Communist system is to discourage and get rid of all cultural and religious differences. this is done with the intent that it will create a higher level of peace between the many different peoples of the world if they have no such differences between them; wars over religion, culture and race will cease to be. i argue that although this may be true to a certain extent, religion and culture are too great a price to sacrifice. she asks me what kind of a hippie i am, that i would not consent to this for the sake of world peace? but i could not give this up, even for the sake of more peace. what would this world be without its differences?
thanks a lot for the time!
This is a good involved question. In theory, the communist utopia envisioned by Karl Marx was a vast improvement over the impoverished conditions prevelant in the industrialized world in the early 1900’s. Indeed in Russia and China, the systems that existed prior to communism were very exploitive of the people.
The problem lies in the practice of communism because failable humans must setup the system and enforce it. The one thing that communism neglects to address is some of the most basic human traits including GREED (Capitalism certainly takes it into account). What happens is those who attain power within the system get corrupted – this is the truism; power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. In all the communists systems that have appeared on the planet, each has had an all powerful dictator to run it. So that means one person, and one person alone gets to decide what is best for the millions of people living in the system. And since that one person is corrupted absolutely, everyone has to bow to that person’s vision, whether they like it or not! And the usual penalty for opposition is either exile or death.
To make the communist system work, they must eliminate cultural, ethnic and religious differences. We see how it’s done today in Kosovo (Milosovich learned well as a communist). It’s been done in similar fashion in Russia and China. Not a very good system, in my opinion.
Hippies rejoice in our differences. We respect and celebrate diversity, it’s what makes life interesting. Imagine if you went traveling, and everywhere it was the same. The same dreary buildings, the same slogans on banners, the same language, the same mentality, the same laws, the same music for god’s sake! This is life under communism (yes I know capitalism puts McDonalds everywhere, but at least in France it’s not a big mac, its a Royale). Is this what we want our lives to be? If this is the price of peace, I agree, it’s far too high.
Once upon a time, the communist system in it’s idealized form was an improvement. But now that we’ve seen it’s limitations, we can bid it farewell. What we need is a new, better system, one that takes into account human nature, especially the need for self-actualization. This system should encourage individuals to expand their minds and talents. We have yet to do better than the ancient Greeks who gave us the radical form of government called democracy.
Now that technology has enabled us to all communicate efficiently, to be well informed, and to easily express ourselves we have available the means to achieve something far greater than ever before. We need only to organize this into a self-governing system, one that will totally replace the existing one. It’s already beginning, our only obstacle is removing from power those who place such a high value on it (power). I hope it will be an evolution, not a revolution, that will accomplish these goals.
In the meantime, wars over political, racial, ethnic, and religious differences will occur, perhaps even more frequently! It’s totally natural to remove competing genetic material, whether you’re human or bacteria (sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference). That’s the bottom line. Each person protects his own DNA, first starting with himself, his family, his extended family, the group he identifies with, his ethnic, or religious group, then his nation. It’s completely instinctual.
What we need to do then, on an individual basis, one person at a time, is come to an understanding that our entire race is facing a mass extinction if we don’t change our attitudes. Isms and differences between people only keep us apart if we let them. We must get beyond our FEARS or genetic bias, and realize that we are all the same. We need to recognize our common inheritance, this planet, as being a sacred place and start showing it some respect (Communists seem unable to do this).
I believe it is possible for people to get beyond their differences and to display a higher morality that respects all life. All it takes is a good example for people to see how easy it is to live in peace and harmony. All it takes is a hippy.
-The Old Hippy
Posted by: skip
Dear Old Hippy
That’s a very interesting thing you wrote about spiritual growth, but I was surprised by your first line: People do what they are taught. Is it not that, whatever you teach a person, someday he will find himself wondering if he’s going the right path? You see, I was taught to believe in God and Christ, do what society expects and go to church every week. But during my teenage years (which only ended two years ago) I found out that that was not what I should do, because of something inside myself. I started to develop a way of living and spirituality based on what I saw and heard around me, checking everytime if that corresponded with my inner-feelings.
You see, I think that we all have a feeling inside ourselves that there is a Bigger Whole, a God or Intergallactic Vibe, whatever you wanna call it. And I think that we act from that feeling more often than we realize. Behaviourism is a very powerful thing, but I think that little feeling inside, that sparkle of love that can make us feel connected with anything, is much more powerful and just waiting to get out and kiss the sky.
I see something really interesting going on with the people around me. I’d expect that they would turn away from any form of spirituality or religion, because kicking against Christianity and the pope is very much the cool thing to do now in society in The Netherlands, where I live. So a lot of people do that.
But while they are doing that, a lot of them also is trying to find a new way of spirituality, as if they need a replacement. They get into new age things, like myself. It’s not a coincidence that The Celestine Prophecy was such a huge hype (well, in The Netherlands it was). So what I see, is that a lot of people who are taught by their environment to despise Christianity and to believe in God, are also looking for a new way of spirituality.
I have the feeling that they do that, because of that inner-consciousness, they want to experience that spirituality, but the Christian church is not filling that in good enough anymore, like the growth of the human consciousness has passed it’s thought on how to live your life.
That process makes me smile.
What do you think about that, or am I just rambling too much now?
No you’ve only just begun….
It’s not just what people are taught in school or by parents. You are taught everyday by society, advertising (greed), friends (conformity), negative experiences (intolerance, anger, hate), etc. So our daily social programming reinforces the existing belief system. It teaches us how to survive by adopting these prevailing attitudes. Yes we can rise above it, given proper role models. Since you are from Holland, you have these role models since your society is far more tolerant than 95% on the planet, so it’s easier for you to question authority.
Your particular culture is different from others. Your country was abused by Catholicism (the Spanish & French), then the Nazis. So your attitude towards religion and authoritarism is skeptical at best, and usually downright disrespectful (I ADMIRE that!).
We are naturally spiritual beings. It is our society that supresses this because society seeks control. When people discover their TRUE TRANSCENDANT NATURE, they become more difficult to control and manipulate.
Long ago there were many struggles in Europe between the Church and States resulting in many wars. The result was the church lost power, the states won power. So now the states (soon the E.U.) have the power over the people. So respect for the church and its teachings has diminished and is now unimportant to the average European. In other words it’s more of a social phenomenon than a spiritual one.
So now there is a huge gap in people’s lives. There is no spirituality. I notice this when I visit Europe, and even in the U.S. It’s young people like you who can rediscover their connection to LIFE, LOVE and THE PLANET and UNIVERSE, because older folk are too disillusioned and set in their ways. That’s why I believe our hope for the future lies in your generation.
Once upon a time a large portion of my generation looked beyond ourselves and into the future (and got scared to death!). Then came another generation that was so self-centered and greedy because they adopted Capitalism as their religion. So it’s up to you and your generation to once again remember who you REALLY are, look towards the future, and help shape society with a vision of Peace, Love, Understanding and Respect, PLUR.
-The Old Hippy
Posted by: skip