The Hippie Counter Culture Movement (1960’s)



Looking back at the 60's and what it seemed to be moving towards with the Hippie Movement taking a hold of some aspects of life did we possibly miss out on a culture that could have changed history as we see it today?

So what are your thoughts on this?

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The 1960’s are defined by the hippie counter-culture craze that invaded the lives of every citizen in the United States and around the world.

What were hippies and their counter-culture movement?
The 1960’s hippie counter culture movement involved a variety of social concerns and beliefs. The hippies’ primary tenet was that life was about being happy, not about what others thought you should be. Their “if it feels good, do it” attitudes included little forethought nor concern for the consequences of their actions. Hippies were dissatisfied with what their parents had built for them, a rather strange belief given that their parents had built the greatest booming economy the world had ever seen.

Hippies rejected established institutions. Calling them “The Establishment”, “Big Brother”, and “The Man”, hippies believed the dominant mainstream culture was corrupt and inherently flawed and sought to replace it with a Utopian society.

Hippies rejected middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War. They embraced aspects of eastern philosophy and sought to find new meaning in life.

Hippies were often vegetarian and believed in eco friendly environmental practices. They championed free love and sexual liberation, particularly for women. They also promoted the use of psychedelic drugs which they believed expanded their consciousness.

Hippies participated in alternative arts and street theater and listened to folk music and psychedelic rock as part of their anti-establishment lifestyle. They opposed political and social violence and promoted a gentle ideology that focused on peace, love, and personal freedom. Some hippies lived in communes or aggregated communities of other hippies. Some described the 1960’s hippies movement as a religious movement.

Hippies created their own counter culture founded on psychedelic rock and the embracement of the sexual revolution. Drugs such as marijuana and LSD were tightly integrated into their culture as a means to explore altered states of consciousness. Contrary to what many believe, hippies tended to avoid harder drugs such as heroin and amphetamines because they considered them harmful or addictive.

Hippie dress, which they believed was part of the statement of who you were, included brightly colored, ragged clothes, tie-dyed t-shirts, beads, sandals (or barefoot), and jewelry, all of which served to differentiate them from the “straight” or “square” mainstream segments of society. Their aversion to commercialism also influenced their style of dress. Much of their clothing was often purchased at flea markets or second hand shops.

Hippie men wore their hair long and typically wore beards and mustaches while the women wore little or no makeup and often went braless (occasionally shirtless).

The peace symbol became the hippie official logo and the VW bus their official means of group transportation. Hippies often drove VW buses painted with colorful graphics so they could quickly pack up and travel to where the action was at any given time. Their gypsy like travel habits also meant many hitchhiked to get to and from major hippie events.

History of hippies and the counter culture movement
The origin of the word “hippie” derives from “hipster” which was first coined by Harry Gibson in 1940 in a song titled “Harry the Hipster” (as Harry referred to himself). In the song, hipsters were beatniks who had moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village. Beatniks were followers of the Beat Generation literary movement who through their writings, promoted anti-conformist attitudes and ideals. The first clearly used instance of the term “hippie” occurred on September 5, 1965 in the article “A New Haven for Beatniks” by San Francisco journalist Michael Fallon (who was writing about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse).

Similar counter culture movements had occurred in Germany between 1896 and 1908. Known as Wandervogel (which translates roughly to “migratory bird”), the youth movement arose as a countercultural reaction to the urbanization that was occurring in Germany at the time. Wandervogel youth opposed traditional German values and forms of entertainment and instead emphasized amateur music and singing, creative dress, and communal outings involving hiking and camping. They were a back-to-the-earth generation who yearned for the simple, sparse, back-to-nature spiritual life of their ancestors.

In later years, the Wandervogel Germans immigrated to the United States where they opened many West Coast area health food stores. Many moved to Southern California. Over time other Americans adapted the beliefs and practices of the Wandervogel youth. Songwriter Eden Ahbez wrote a hit song called Nature Boy that was inspired by the Wandervogel follower, Robert Bootzin. The song helped popularized health consciousness, yoga, and organic food throughout the United States.

The impact, good and bad, of the 1960’s hippie movement cannot be denied. The movement influenced popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. The music industry, particularly the rock music segment, experienced an explosion in sales that has continued to this day. In subsequent years, unmarried couples no longer felt persecuted for living together. Frankness regarding sexual matters was common. Religious and cultural diversity gained greater acceptance. Even fashion was impacted as the popularity of the necktie and other business apparel declined and was replaced by more casual dress standards.

Some changes were not as positive though. Some argue that the movement ushered in more liberal press and movies which has led to a degradation of our cultural values and ethics. Youth fashions became more and more bizarre , and sexual, in an attempt to rebel against the mainstream values. Some argue that the embrace of spontaneity and worship of the “primitive” have turned us towards mindlessness and violence.

So have we lost the love in our times and where will this lead us?

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Well-Known Member
Jul 4, 2016
They wanted to change the world and realised that it was not possible so it has been replaced with fear and cynicism.


Jul 4, 2016
It was a phase in the 60's along with Mods & Rockers I preferred to be normal and definitely wasn't into drugs.


"I'm different. Let this not upset you" Paracelsus
Jul 4, 2016
"The Sixties" didn't make it to my hometown until about 1981.
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