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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Cosmic Relevance: New Hippie

What is a hippie? A hippie was a member of the 1960s counterculture movement, characterized as a rejection of the 1950s ideals of middle class lifestyle. At its core, the hippie movement was about breaking away from the norms of society and experimenting with ideas to create social change for a better existence. From the hippies, we get flower power, free love and fighting the establishment.

Although the heyday of hippie era is long gone, it appears that its legacy still may linger in the Davis community.

For instance, let’s visit a Davis tradition — the Whole Earth Festival, a three-day free event resembling Woodstock. It’s hardly a surprise that Whole Earth’s origins are directly rooted in the hippie era. The experience was all about inspiring visitors, “in the ultimate goal of learning about activism, wellness and the environment.”

Besides its roots, and being engulfed in tie-dye, how does this festival have hippie elements? Well, the weekend is about bringing a community closer together peacefully, furthering a commitment to sustainability as a nearly zero-waste event, and promoting learning opportunities via documentary screenings and open discussions.

Aside from the Whole Earth Festival, there are the Davis Tri-Cooperatives (co-ops). Although all the current student residents are far too young to be true hippies, it seems that the community still holds some hippie ethos.

In the hippie fashion, the set-up is a social experiment. The students living at the co-ops volunteer to live an affordable lifestyle dedicated to sustainability and practicality, minimizing their waste output and taking advantage of local resources.

In addition to the engagement in eco-friendly living, the co-ops also embody a message of tolerance. The community is organized through consensus, and each member needs to agree to live with every new member. If the hippies were all about living in harmony, the co-ops are a big step.

Finally, there are the Occupy protests, based off of the hippies’ peaceful sit-in anti-war protests, which they in turn borrowed from the Civil Rights Movement. Those involved in Occupy were using peaceful protests to show discontent for our society’s economic disparity. In a way, the economic inequality is its own struggle for human rights, an outcry against the system that creates vast poverty — against “the man.”

So, I get the impression that there are strong connections between the hippie counterculture and the ideals floating around parts of Davis. But it’s no longer the ’60s. This a new generation, we’re different, aren’t we? So what word would better suit this youth subculture?

I propose the term “earthie.” An “earthie” is committed to the sustainability of our species, and the general well being of all humans. In an increasingly globalized society, this new counterculture is dedicated to the environment and world peace. For example, you’d find an “earthie” at our farmers market, bringing their own reusable bag.

So if these “earthies” exist, where are they? I don’t see any radical activism or grand fights to change the system.

But are new hippies really necessary? Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku believes so. In his Big Think video “Will Mankind Destroy Itself?” he sees two major trends in the world today: movement towards a “Type I civilization,” or the destruction of mankind.

A “Type I civilization” is a “planetary civilization” where humans have united to effectively use all of Earth’s resources. We are currently in a “Type 0 civilization” and this could be dangerous. The transition between Type 0 and Type 1 is crucial, and our survival as a species depends on it. Kaku argues that with advancements like the internet, we have a fighting chance to unite and spread the human race throughout the galaxy.

So it appears that our generation has significant influence over the future. Unless we unite globally, we could be doomed. Therefore the hippie lessons that may be of the highest importance is our ability to question society’s practices, take care of the earth and take care of each other.

I’m not talking about creating utopias here. I’m talking about trying out new ideas to try to create a better existence for everyone.

If you want to receive more Cosmic Relevance from DANIEL HERMAN you can email him at dsherman@ucdavis.edu or add him on Facebook to watch for links and/or possible blog posts.



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