I am a very fortunate person. Either that or a tragic figure, only time will tell.
My Dad was a beatnik, artist and architect, creative and with an aesthetic view of life that has colored my view of it…even though he wasn’t around much. But when he split to go around the world on his spiritual quest just as the decade of the sixties was born, he gave me another inheritance as well, albeit unintentional. He left us in the Haight Ashbury….just as the sixties were being born. And that is where I grew up.
I had no real idea what exactly was going on there, because like any child, I thought that the environment I was growing up in was normal. I thought that the explosion of what can only be called Love Energy in the 60’s that was centered in San Francisco, in the Haight, and then “spread” from there was just how life was.
It didn’t really spread from there of course. That explosion of creativity and an entirely new way of thinking was very much a planetary phenomenon, as we can see looking back at the time.
As the blurb for a new book called 1959 by Fred Kaplan puts it…
It was the year of the microchip, the birth-control pill, the space race, and the computer revolution; the rise of Pop art, free jazz, “sick comics,” the New Journalism, and indie films; the emergence of Castro, Malcolm X, and personal superpower diplomacy; the beginnings of Motown, Happenings, and the Generation Gap-all bursting against the backdrop of the Cold War, the fallout-shelter craze, and the first American casualties of the war in Vietnam.
It was a year when the shockwaves of the new ripped the seams of daily life, when humanity stepped into the cosmos and commandeered the conception of human life, when the world shrank but the knowledge needed to thrive in it expanded exponentially, when outsiders became insiders, when categories were blurred and taboos trampled, when we crossed into a “new frontier” that offered the twin prospects of infinite possibilities and instant annihilation-a frontier that we continue to explore exactly fifty years later, at an eerily similar turning point.
It was a planetary explosion that was expressed, as all such pervasive and revolutionary energies are, in each place and in each person in a unique way to that place or person. But that burst of energy that brought about a new way of thinking, a new form of what can loosely be called ‘politics,’ and a huge burst of creativity was expressed….to my subjective eye…most purely in the Haight.
By one word, by one Unifying Principle.
And Love’s inevitable partner, Peace.
That purity was quickly diluted.
From the purity of the precursor expressions of Ginsburg’s Howl and Kerouac’s On The Road that heralded the explosion by expressing the feeling of preliminary angst and chaos and restlessness that such a huge wave of Energy was in the beginning of bringing, right up to Altamont and the realization of horror at how easily Love could be killed, there was a vast searching to express it and a vast seeking of it’s meaning. (Until of course Madison Avenue got hold of it)
From “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked….”
The angst and eventually expression of that burst of what I to this day regard as some sort of cosmic gift of accelerated evolutionary information combined into and was refined and finally expressed as what SHOULD be the Unifying Principle of Mankind for the 21st Century.
Love and Peace.
I was very fortunate to have been at ground zero for that explosion in my youth. I am, perhaps, a tragic figure for having to live through the aftermath of all of these years of the dilution and pollution of that explosive energy. Having seen the potential inherent for all of humankind, but not only not seeing it realized, but seeing the very antithesis of it play out for the last eight years….having watched in great frustration as ….seemingly….the last remnants were destroyed, as exemplified by George “The Torturer” Bush. And the seminal representation of hate and fear, the Anti-
ChristHippie, and Anti-Love….Dick Cheney.
A tragic figure…..unless….
Unless somehow the end of the era of the antithesis of Love and Peace is somehow …meaningful.
Perhaps…..and JUST perhaps… the feeling of angst and chaos and restlessness that seems to be gripping the world right now is a precursor as well. It could be certainly said, by an impartial observer of the Bush years, that the best minds of a generation have been destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked….
Unless, and let us now fall on our knees and wish and hope and pray, my fellow children……Unless a new Wave is coming.
Because still, all this time later, through all of the decades of pollution and dilution and evolution withing the animal minds of the poor, poor Human Race since that wave of Love Energy struck like a lightning bolt and changed the world….there has been no other Unifying Principle, the same Principle that inspired Christ and so many others in their own ages of evolutionary explosion, discovered.
Perhaps, and I repeat, JUST perhaps we are on the verge of a new evolutionary infusion and explosion of Love Energy.
Goddess knows we could use one. Because for all of the Change for which Obama is nominally a symbol of, amidst all of the inevitability of this era of Change which Obama really has not very much to do with at all except as symbol, there is one thing missing, one thing I am distinctly NOT feeling.
The conditions for true planetary change are all lined up, all we need is a shoe to drop, or perhaps a kick in the head, all the conditions are right. All of the new vast young generation that is larger than the Baby Boom needs, so that it can turn away from the paradigms and horrors of the Bush Years and fulfill the promise of this new era are in place. All they need is to embrace and emphasize, in their own unique way, The Unifying Principle. That’s all we need.
All we need….is Love.