What’s a hippie? What’s the difference between an old
hippie and a new hippie? Once a hippie, always a hippie? These and similar
questions are the source of much debate today. New subcategories like
web-hippies, cyber-hippies, even zippies have become fashionable. But what is a
hippie and are you one?
To answer this question, let’s see what defines a hippie. Some say it’s the way
people dress, and behave, a lifestyle. Others classify drug users and rock 'n'
roll fans or those with certain radical political views as hippies. The
dictionary defines a hippie as one who doesn’t conform to society’s standards
and advocates a liberal attitude and lifestyle. Can all these definitions be
It seems to me that these definitions miss the point. By focusing
on the most visible behavioral traits these limited descriptions fail to reveal
what lies in the hippie heart that motivates such behavior. To understand The
Way of the Hippy, we must look at those circumstances that preceded the birth
of the hippy movement, the important events that changed our lives, our
resulting frustration with society, and the philosophy that developed from our
Being a hippie is a matter of accepting a universal belief system
that transcends the social, political, and moral norms of any established
structure, be it a class, church, or government. Each of these powerful
institutions has it’s own agenda for controlling, even enslaving people. Each
has to defend itself when threatened by real or imagined enemies. So we see
though history a parade of endless conflicts with country vs. country, religion
vs. religion, class vs. class. After millennia of war and strife, in which
uncounted millions have suffered, we have yet to rise above our petty
The way of the hippie is antithetical to all repressive
hierarchical power structures since these are adverse to the hippie goals of
peace, love and freedom. This is why the “Establishment” feared and suppressed
the hippie movement of the ’60s, as it was a revolution against the established
order. It is also the reason why the hippies were unable to unite and overthrow
the system since they refused to build their own power base. Hippies don’t
impose their beliefs on others. Instead, hippies seek to change the world through
reason and by living what they believe.
To be a hippie you must believe in peace as the way to resolve
differences among peoples, ideologies and religions. The way to peace is
through love and tolerance. Loving means accepting others as they are, giving
them freedom to express themselves and not judging them based on appearances.
This is the core of the hippie philosophy.
The hippy movement erected signposts for all to see. Some warn us
of impending danger, others direct us towards richer, more fulfilling lives,
but most show us the road to freedom. Freedom is the paramount virtue in this
system. Freedom to do as one pleases, go where the flow takes you, and to be
open to new experiences. This engenders an attitude that allows for maximum
If you want to be free, be free,
because there’s a million things to be.
Cat Stevens (If You Want to Sing Out)
Our society only permits you one or two weeks a year of freedom to
pursue your own agenda. The rest of the time we are slaves to the system.
Hippies reject the 9 to 5 lifestyle and therefore are objects of ridicule by
those whose lives run by the clock. Programmed people are jealous and resent
the freedom we possess. The unmitigated freedom that hippies represent is the
greatest threat to any system in which control equals power.
With all this freedom comes a lot of responsibility. The system
does not make it easy for us to survive without sacrificing our values.
Therefore we must discover alternative ways to make a living without being a
drag on our planet’s resources and our fellow humans. Hippies have pioneered
numerous lifestyles and alternative businesses including communes,
cooperatives, holistic medicine and health food. We focused everyone’s concern
on the environment to highlight our responsibilities to our planet and to
Other beliefs that spring from our core philosophy are: an earthy
spirituality such as a belief in Gaia (the earth as an organism), the Greens
movement (political activism), even shamanism and vegetarianism. These
philosophical and political views reflect a respect for nature and the planet
as a whole, something lacking in our capitalistic and materialistic societies.
The world needs hippies to point out alternatives to the entrenched system and
warn of the impending disasters that await us if we don’t change our
lifestyles. The goal is not to make everyone a hippie (what would we have to
protest?). Rather we can try to influence others by example, through tolerance
and love and teaching the virtues of the hippie way.
In the 1960s the hippies, en masse, undertook the largest
uncontrolled experiment with drug use in the history of mankind. In those days
it wasn't unusual to be handed a pill, and swallow it with the only instruction
"You'll dig it, it's groovy." You trusted your fellow hippy and you
wanted to get high and have a new experience. This was freedom. This was
rebellion. This was cool. We discovered that Pandora's stash box was full of
Purple Haze all in
my brain, lately things don't seem the same.
Actin' funny but I don't know why. 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky.
Jimi Hendrix (Purple Haze)
From laboratories in pharmaceutical companies, on college campus
and bathrooms around the country came a plethora of new drugs with names like
LSD 25, DMT, purple haze, MDMA, orange sunshine, synthetic mescaline,
psilocybin, STP and many more. The purity and action of these drugs got more
dubious as time went on, as unscrupulous dealers sought to capitalize on the
drug craze. Along with methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, even heroin,
hippies tried whatever they could get their hands on.
If you can remember
the '60s, then you weren't there.
Why did hippies use drugs so extensively without concern? Let's
look at the history of drug use leading up to this situation. After World War
II, the pharmaceutical industry exploded with research into new drugs. They
produced drugs to prevent disease, to cure disease, to alleviate pain, to
relieve upset stomachs, to keep you alert, to help you to sleep, to lessen
worry, to reduce hyperactivity in children, to remove the symptoms of
psychological disorders. Thanks to the industry's aggressive campaigns in the
media and the doctor's office, every medicine cabinet filled up with drugs for
every sort of ailment.
One pill makes you
larger, and one pill makes you small.
And the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all.
Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall.
Jefferson Airplane (White Rabbit)
Not feeling right?
- Take a Pill!
Saturday Night Live
So in the early 60s, drugs were not seen as evil. Yes, heroin was
that bad drug that junkies were addicted to. But all the rest were good and
helped heal us, or at least made us feel better. It's taken a prolonged,
decades long, anti-drug propaganda campaign to undo the pro-drug pharmaceutical
company brainwash. Now kids are more confused than ever. Many eagerly spout the
politically correct line "drugs are bad," while they wash down their
Ritalin with caffeinated colas, then sneak a cigarette or a beer between
I get by with a
little help from my friends,
get high with a little help from my friends.
The Beatles (With a Little Help From My Friends)
So being a hippie is not a matter of dress, behavior, economic
status, or social milieu. It is a philosophical approach to life that
emphasizes freedom, peace, love and a respect for others and the earth. The way
of the hippie never died. There have always been hippies from the first time
society laid down rules, to Jesus, to Henry David Thoreau, to John Lennon.
There’s a little hippy in all of us.
Kip the wimp hippy, 16 years old:
i am a hippy my hair is long
i am a hippy i am never wrong
i am a hippy peace is my middle name
i am a hippy war is lame
i am a hippy covered in beads
i am a hippy but i don't smoke weeds
Fedotova Julie 11 “B”.