Today I read a very cool article on Alternet called “Don’t Diss The Hippies”, here http://www.alternet.org/story/152863/don%27t_diss_the_drum_circles%3A_why_hippie_culture_is_still_important_to_our_protests?akid=7775.312848.m5SkCd&rd=1&t=2
The word “hippie” is a loaded one. On the one hand it conjures Tommy Chong caricatures and Dead show spinners. I myself avoid words like “hippie”, and “god” for that matter – because certain words have such diverse meanings as to be impractical for expressing a specific concept. But the article makes some great points about the “spiritual” aspect of OWS.
We are at a crisis that requires us to grow up and clean up our collective act. Our climate is changing, our air, water and land are increasingly toxic, our societies increasingly unhealthy and unbalanced, and our economies increasingly unequal. But crisis is what spurs evolution. Buckminster Fuller pointed out that every person could live well, with no starvation worldwide, if we managed our resources with intelligence and without greed. We have known this for years, yet we have allowed suffering to continue, even increase. We know we can be better stewards of our environment, yet we allow oil corporations to destroy our lands and waters with seemingly gleeful abandon. And members of our society, medicated on anti-depressants and alcohol, know we could be so much more.
And that is why consciousness, or “spirituality” is the important ingredient of OWS. We must keep this consciousness at the forefront of our thinking.
After the pepper spray attacks upon the young women in NY, and now after the police’s military-like attack on the camp in Oakland, a few voices are angry and calling for revenge. But most are reminded each other that now, more than ever, we must remain loving, inclusive, and stay in our highest potential selves.
…it it is precisely the mystical utopian energy that most professional progressives so smugly dismiss that has aroused a salient, mass political consciousness on economic issue…”
At their core, the counterculture types who briefly called themselves hippies were a spiritual movement. In part they offered an alternative to organized religions that too often seemed preoccupied with rules and conformity, especially on sexual matters….But most powerfully, the hippie idea was an uprising against the secular religion of America in the 1950s, morbid “Mad Men” materialism, and Ayn Rand’s social Darwinism.
…As Time put it in 1967, “Hippies preach altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy and nonviolence.”
And not just “hippies”. There is an entire world-wide consciousness movement of millions of people who focus on these same values. From “new’age” people to Oprah fans, there is a massive shift towards being our best selves, honesty, love, and compassion — and away from small-mindedness, hate and greed.
It is this expansion that has terrified those afraid of change: authoritarians who react with hatred and violence. Yes, these people run the financial world, the law enforcement and the military. But their hostility is just a knee-jerk reaction to their regressive fear of change.
Historically, we’ve seen how those entrenched in current systems grasp onto them, and it is understandable. But change happens anyway. Our task is to remain open and hold non-violence and love. It is not easy. But like Gandhi’s movement to rid India of England’s rule, or like MLK’s movement for civil rights, non-violence is the key.
To remain most effective, we must keep love in our hearts, even when the reptilian portion of our brain would react with anger and revenge. And remember, there are agent provocateurs amongst us — undercover police, private security forces (like Blackwater) hired by corporations, and tea party activists — that are there to stir up violence and hate. It is no secret. Known right wing agitators have been spotted in OWS crowds and outed online. We know why they’re there, it happens in every movement. This is why we must stay true to our values.