Ah, the counterculture. Nostalgia definitely isn’t the word. Back around 1970-something, the counterculture was in full bloom. Hippies never gave a damn about the suburban coffin lifestyle and could take or leave the brain-dead ultra-materialism of the times.
Back then, you had to have a family and a mortgage when you were in your 20s, and there was something wrong with you if you didn’t. This social slavery was enforced the way it is now, with conformist absurdities. Mainstream society literally had nothing on its mind but hairstyles and doing the routines of “traditional” life which was invented in the 1950s like house/car/kids/job/ suits, dresses, etc.
It was Ken and Barbie’s land for so-called adults. Everyone lived in a sitcom, worked 9 to 5, and that was human life. The fact that this early Boomer brainwashing was based on sales techniques, not a rational approach to being human, of course, was never mentioned.
The hippies were an unwelcome reminder that other ways of life, as well as other ways of looking at things, were still around. Hippies didn’t invent “free love” (19th century at the latest) “communalism” (19th century) non-violence (at least Buddhist era circa 2500 BC), “open marriages”,(god know when,) permaculture, (invented in Tasmania in the 1970s) etc.
What they did was popularize these things, a bit unintentionally in most cases. Somebody pointed out at the time that when the San Francisco thing happened, nobody in corporate America new a damn thing about it, but it sold, so they were all for it, at least from about 1965 to 1969. That was how, and why, hippiedom was promoted to the world. The hippies thought it was transparently absurd, but went along with it to spread the message.
(There actually were people like Austin Powers. They were suits dressed up as cool people. Nobody else bothered to talk like that, except the tweens and suburbanites trying to be cool. Grotesque at best. The good side was that you could tell a narc from their pathetic language.)
The lapdog media (polite expression for capitalist slaves) had been pronouncing hippiedom dead since Altamont. The “death” of hippiedom was never more than a media event. Four people got killed at Altamont, in the middle of the Vietnam War, if you please, and that was the end of hippiedom, according to the Nixon era media. This media was as grovelling as the collection of conformist “journalistic” corporate gerbils we have now. Then, according to the media of that time and now, everyone went away and became accountants and lawyers.
Then along came punk, aka modern stand-up comedy with guitars, self-promoting prats, and the world sailed majestically into new fashions from coke addicts. It was trashy, but it was fashionable, so everyone went punk for those 30 seconds until something equally unnecessary came along.
The hippies paid no attention. Dropping out of society, and its idiotic fads, was exactly what they were all about. Nobody cared what the media had to say about it or anything else. The hippie lifestyle had evolved almost immediately into urban collectivism, half-arse as it often was. The word for these places at the time was “commune”. You’d have a “commune” with endless bitching about who owned or didn’t own a coffee mug, for example. Petty issues exposed the bone-marrow-based suburbanites on a routine basis. It was often like a soap opera, with teen sex and relationships, etc.
In fact, few things exposed the infantilism of the conventional lifestyle like living in one of those places. The cool guy would turn out to be a money-grubbing jerk. The sweet girl with the kaftan would be the bitch when it was her property involved. Not many of these suburbanites got it at all.
Some of the commune guys who liked it decided they wanted to get out of the urban paradises. They also wanted to get away from the dear little office-things, preferably as far as possible.
You haven’t seen “collective” until you’ve seen people in their teens and early 20s moralizing at each other while living in each other’s armpits. At its worst, it was a mix of barely-digested ideas and a sort of vague communism, probably based on the theory of “collectives” which destroyed Russian and Chinese farming for decades. This involved much formal debate, arguments and tantrums.
Fortunately, these rather neurotic environments obviously couldn’t become real communes. They were housemates, at most. The real communes were created by highly motivated people, and they were very practical lifestyle ideas, if you could handle the sheer amount of work involved.
The theory was:
- Get out of the cities. Not everyone did, and the communes persist to this day around the world.
- Communal sharing of onsite costs. This did work, although many tripped over the realities of putting together groups of people, building homes, food, survival, etc.
- Handling the reality of raising kids, living, etc. The hippie ways of doing these things were a bit revolutionary for those days. Suburbia, that tyrant of lifestyles, didn’t get it. Hippies were immoral, didn’t work, and didn’t wear suits. The media lost interest, but the hippies didn’t. Suburbia went on to become the graveyard it usually is, and the hippies dropped out as far as possible.
So everybody started moving to the country, where land was cheaper, and the air was breathable. The country folks were baffled, and definitely not all that thrilled to have them around, but the hippies were no real problem. The hippies didn’t cause trouble, and weren’t as aggressive as the corporate city jerks they loathed as much as the hippies did. Generally speaking, old-style muttering was about all that happened.
The rural communes, of course, attracted a few freeloaders, like the urban communes. This was a sort of occupational hazard, and the freeloaders, who didn’t like the amount of work involved in growing your own food, building your own house, etc., didn’t stick around long.
The counterculture then disappeared from sight, according to the media, which moved on to be the useless pile of trash it is now. Fashions came and went, publishers came and went, and the hippie media myth stagnated at Altamont. Try using the word “hippie” at someone who’s never met a hippie, and you’ll see all the old media clichés oozing out instantly. Everyone “knows about hippies”. No you fucking don’t, you pig-ignorant trusting fools, and never have because you’re too lazy to check out anything for yourselves. It’s truly insane.
To be fair, the communes were and are real. Not all survived, but many did. survive and prospered around the Western world. They turned into something more like co-ops, really, and the hippies learned how to put together things like property, cottage industries, etc. pretty well. Quite a few were highly successful, commercially, and for the last 40-50 years have been major “revelations” to people who knew nothing about them.
Ha, ha, now it’s cool
Now, the irony. Communes are now seen as “sustainable”. They always were, because they had to be, to survive. A perfectly straightforward idea is now cool. The media, after its long politically enforced hibernation, is suddenly aware of it again. They keep talking about “surviving” communes, but there are pages and pages of them on Google. There’s even a “hippie communes near me” search…?
History is on the hippies’ side. For all the glitches and the awkward interactions, peaceful societies don’t do themselves as much damage as the suburban Hate Everyone Else type of society. The Millennials are already broke (great management, fuckwits) and now realising they’ve been written off out of the suburban dream. They and their kids will be nomads, thanks to insane housing costs and a society that doesn’t even know how to run itself anymore.
The economic likelihood is that the communes will spring up again, mainly out of economic necessity. If you can’t afford to do things the conventional way, you tend to share with others with the same issues. Modern media can’t sell the impossible, overpriced, vacuous lifestyles anymore. There’s no incentive for these kids to believe a word of it.
The easy way to manage these things is to use a co-op structure, or an incorporated association. These “legal entities” have status, can hold property, and are fairly easy, in theory, to run. So you can have your incorporated thing to deal with the law, and the law can mind its own business about your lifestyle, etc.
It’s all doable. There’s no law against living in viable communities of people. There’s no law that says Thou Shalt Be A Suburbanite. There’s no law that says Thou Shalt Goose Step Through Life Like A PR Person, either. The sheep media will hate it, which is your certification of truth for anything.
I just wish they’d decided to move to cooler climates. Why exactly so many communes moved to the hotter places on Earth, I don’t know. It was always a good idea, though. The suburban morality and the rest of the crap is long dead. It only exists in rhetoric, like the society it killed.
You can do a lot worse than being a neo-hippie these days. It may well be a better option than playing musical chairs with artificial intelligence for your job, your income, etc. You might even get a secure roof over your head. It can be done.