Essay on Four Freedoms and Hippie

Submitted By incubus0323
Words: 2501
Pages: 11

Hippies during the counterculture abandoned the cookie cutter mold of American ideology, while at the same time exercising America’s most fundamental principle; freedom. Hippies of the counterculture yearned to live a life stretched far from America’s fundamental ideals, yet failed to realize the very principles, which they were yearning to stray from are what ultimately allowed them to live and express themselves so liberally. The radical hippies of the counterculture constantly rejected mainstream American life but did not resist enjoying the freedoms and benefits, which the country offered them on a daily basis. The word “hippie” was not a handle chosen by the hippies for themselves, but was birthed from the words “hipster” and “hip” which comes from the beatniks, a group of avant-garde poets and writers prominent in the early 1960s. The beatniks were a reaction to the cultural conformity of postwar industrial America, and their writings resonated with those who formed an artistic vanguard in universities across the country. A “hip” person was usually highly literate, preferred jazz, hung out in coffee shops and maintained a bohemian lifestyle that often included smoking marijuana.” (Deziel, “Hippie Values and Beliefs”) The word “hippie” was coined by San Francisco Examiner journalist Michael Fallon in a 1965 story about the new bohemian lifestyle that was developing in the city's Haight-Ashbury district. Fallon got the name by shortening Norman Mailer's term “hipster”, and he “applied it to the second generation of beatniks who had moved into the Haight neighborhood from nearby North Beach. This new generation of drop-outs was more optimistic than the beatniks, however, more prone to talk about love, more flamboyant.” (Deziel, “Hippie Values and Beliefs”) In the summer of 1965 the hippies were “few in number but were well on their way to creating a small, thriving society—a counterculture.” ("Hippies") What exactly defined being a hippie? A hippie, also spelled hippy, was “a member, during the 1960’s and 70’s, of a countercultural movement that rejected the mores of mainstream American life.” ("Hippie") Originating on college campuses in the United States, the movement eventually spread to other countries such as Britain and Canada. Hippies were typically young, white males and females ranging from ages fifteen to twenty-five. They rejected the social norms and reveled in rebellion against the establishment. They felt alienated from middle-class society, which focused on materialism and the status-quo, and thus created their own unique lifestyle. The typical hippie preferred to grow their hair long and unconventional modes of dress, often with psychedelic patterns and colors. Men would grow long beards and sideburns. Both men and women would wear colorful beads and sandals. Hippies “commonly took up communal living arrangements, and they often adopted vegetarian diets based on unprocessed foods and practiced holistic medicine.” ("Hippie") Hippies were usually societal and/or high school and college dropouts who were often unemployed, preferring play over work. A major characteristic of hippies was that a vast majority of them smoked marijuana, also referred to as pot, on a regular basis and also participated in the ingesting of LSD, or acid. Its consistent use within the counterculture was a proclamation of the freedom to pursue and experience mental pleasure. They claimed that it tuned their minds to a higher frequency, a mindset that influenced them to perceive life in a whole new way; arguably, a transcendental experience. “The commitment to— as opposed to furtive use of— dope was the single largest symbol of the difference between counterculture and Establishment culture.” (Miller, p. 32) It is worth stating, however, “the hippies enunciated an ethics of drugs that made more overall sense than any ethics or policies prevailing in the drug-hysterical years since, policies that have given us the