Research Paper

Submitted By sasshole
Words: 1536
Pages: 7

Counterculture of the 1960’s During the 1960’s, while the war in Vietnam was still raging, a new cultural movement arose in the United States. This new movement is now known as the counterculture. The counterculture consisted mostly of young white men and women that originated from the middle and upper class. The individuals that made up this counterculture crafted a completely different lifestyle that rejected materialism and traditional American values. They advocated the virtues of flamboyant clothing, rock music, excessive drug use, and a free and independent way of life. This type of society was one that was believed to be unbound to the typical American way of life, closer to nature, full of happiness and joy, empathy, tolerance, and cooperation. Eventually, the people of this counterculture gained the nickname, “hippies”. The counterculture movement was immensely involved with America’s 20th century history and has left a permanent impact on the country.
Many of the hippies generally desired to literally drop out of their normal society by leaving their home and families to live together with other youths in the movement in communes. Communes were living arrangements in which members worked and shared everything and together. A large number of hippies either established communes in small and rural communities or lived together in parks or crowded apartments in the nation’s large cities. One of the most popular hippie destinations known till this day is San Francisco’s very own Haight-Ashbury district. By the mid 1960’s, thousands of hippies had moved and settled there in communes. As the counterculture movement grew larger, many of the newcomers did not quite fully understand the original ideas of the counterculture. What mattered to the newcomers were the outward signs that defined the movement which included their wardrobe and drug use that soon became associated with the hippie culture. Their wardrobe that generally defined them as a hippie consisted of both men and women having long hair, beads and fringes that imitated Native American costume, tie-dyed shirts borrowed techniques from India and Africa, cowboy boots, long dresses, shabby jeans, bell bottoms, and so on. Long hair on a young man was the ultimate symbol of defiance. The drugs that soon became associated with the hippie culture were marijuana and LSD. They were commonly used for a spiritual, mind-expanding experience. Alongside with the excitement of excessive drug use, they also had a lot of sexual intercourse with multiple partners which probably where the term “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” today comes from. In the long run, mainstream America accepted many of these changes. For example, long hair on a man became more accepted, women’s clothing became more comfortable, and men’s clothing became more colorful rather than the typical dull wardrobe. Since the counterculture movement strongly rejected materialism, many members of the movement embraced spirituality in which this included a broad range of beliefs, from astrology and magic to Eastern religions and new forms of Christianity. Many of the religious groups centered around authoritarian leaders. In these groups, the leader dominated others and controlled their lives, sometimes to the point of arranging marriages between members. Sounds a little too extreme to some, right?
Anyways, religion became the central experience in the believer’s life. The authoritarian figure was a sort of parent figure, and believers formed an extended family that took the place of the family into which a member had been born into. This could lead to painful conflicts. Some parents accused religious sects of using mind-control methods. For example, some attempted to recapture and “deprogram” their children. Two new religious groups that attracted considerable attention beginning in the 1960’s were the Unification Church and the Hare Krishna movement. Both were offshoots of established religions, and both…