Elaborating further on my previous blog post, I do think my hippie elders I grew up with and around had their hearts in the right place in many respects. But, they didn’t in other ways, such as most of the men at the time with their sexism. This helped lead to the next wave (certainly not the first) of the Women’s Movement in the 1970s. Also, homophobia and heterosexism remained largely unexamined, which then contributed to the Gay Liberation Movement concurrently manifesting with the feminists’. Recent reflection on my childhood has elucidated for me just how pervasive a self indulgent ethos existed, expressed, for example, through loose sexual boundaries and a general self-centeredness (the “rampant narcissism” I previously mentioned), in addition to the already discussed plethora of substance abuse. All of this behavior and mindset hurt the next generation, i.e., the children of these hippies, such as yours truly. It’s like these Boomer and pre-Boomer progressives spent a lot of time extending their adolescence, as much as doing so helped to foster artistic cultural expression along with (formerly referenced) healthy political rebellion. I deeply appreciate the occurrence of both these social phenomena to this day, as they became foundational to my own value system. And, in significant part, these same Boomers et al went on to form the two aforementioned Movements, which were inherently political, formally and personally. However, at least one important domain, that of attentive, responsible parenting, got somewhat set aside, a big psychological, even arguably spiritual, price to pay. “How so?” one might ask. Well, many progeny of West Coast hippie folk internalized experiences of being and feeling set aside (or worse) while our parents rebelled, created, partied, and focused on “finding themselves,” both in and out of marriages or less conventional, traditional unions. Indeed, we all err throughout life, so this automatically includes whole segments of a generation. These mistakes of my elders are ultimately forgivable, much as holding them to account is important.
As I have grown comfortable in my own beliefs and overall sense of Self, what I am no longer doing is idealizing in any way a particular movement or cultural scene, in this case the very one I grew up within. Now, I just idealize the gods, as expressed through nature, some art, scientific wonders, those deep moments of love between one and another/others, etc.– whatever opens my heart up and transports me into a deep place of wonder, connectedness, and gratitude. These are above and beyond any particular person, group, generation, or specific movement or culture.