The sixties and seventies produced a generation of young people with a firm belief in love, peace, joy and equality. Wealth and conformity were no longer important. We were free to express our true selves without fear of judgement. We were all God’s children.
We were the children of those who had experienced the full horror of yet another ‘war to end all wars’. The militarism, the lies, the deceit, the propaganda, the destruction, the austerity and suffering was over. Filled with hope and optimism for the future our uptight parents filled the post-apocalyptic world with little bundles of joy. It was a boom time for babies.
When the baby bubble became adults they burst onto the world in an explosion of joy, colour, music and fashion as a counterpoint to the austerity and greyness of the post war world. With it came a new attitude. We reveled in the joys of life. We were against war, bigotry, racism, inequality and sexism. We were for love, peace, festivals and very loud music. Oh, and drugs. This was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. We could all live in love, harmony and compassion. Flower power was the creed of the day. Sex was no longer taboo.
The festival at Woodstock was the pinnacle of the new feeling. The actual festival was an organisational disaster but it succeeded in gathering together half a million young people with same dreams, hopes and aspirations for a better, peaceful world.
I wasn’t there. Neither was Joni Mitchell who wrote the definitive song about the event. Woodstock.
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden
We had a feeling that our parent’s generation had lost the plot and we had to return to a simpler more honest, peaceful humanity. The sex, drugs and rock and roll weren’t bad either!
To my mind Joni Mitchell was the consciousness of our generation.
This from ‘California’ on the ‘Blue’ album.
Siting on a bench in Paris France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
So my fellow hippies, what happened to the dream? Where are you all? Why haven’t we been able to change the world? Why do we continue to elect politicians who lead us into war? Why do we continue to live in fear?
The youthful enthusiasm, the love, the compassion and joy of life of the sixties and seventies seem to have vapourised.
But a lot of us aging hippies are still around. Some of us at least haven’t lost the feeling of those days. The feeling of being open and ‘real’ and vulnerable and accepting of all God’s children regardless of colour or ideological beliefs.
Now this leads to an interesting thought. I’ve noticed that the older I get the more I reflect on the hippie way of life of the sixties, so I wonder what a retirement village or nursing home will be like when us hippies get there. Sex, drugs and rock and roll! A cosmic retirement commune with lots of concerts and loud music. Outrageous colourful hippie clothes, big hair, Jefferson Airplane karaoke competitions, pot plants everywhere. Swimming naked in the pool and groovy fondue dinner parties. We’ll have our own rock and roll band and let it all hang out. Cool man!
It’ll be good to salvage something of hippiedom. I’m looking forward to it.
If we weren’t able to change the world at least we can take the dream with us in an outrageous blaze of glory and embarrass the children.