Origins of the Hippie movement.

Origins of the Hippie movement.

The Hippie movement was a counter-culture movement that appeared in the USA in the beginning of the 1960s. The origins of the term “hippie” are uncertain. Actually, this word was used by non-hippies. Hippies prefered to call themselves “flower children” for example.

Many hippies were middle class students coming from the “baby boom” generation.

No theory was elaborated about the Hippie movement, but their inspiration and references came from authors like Jean Jacques Rousseau, Henry David Thoreau , and later on William BurroughsAllen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

One of the caracteristics of the Hippies is that they were against the traditional values of the previous generation (who were their parents, most of the time), against authority, army, the war in Vietnam, materialism, conformism, consumerism, capitalism (everything in “ism” in general… just joking!) and the American “way of life” in general.

They were interested in ecology, oriental philosophies and religions, the promotion of equality, peace of course, and a life based on total freedom, very often within a community.
Unfortunately, they were also pro drugs, which is fact was not considered destructive at the time. Everybody was experiencing one sort of drug or another. Some of their communities became more or less sectarian, and some people became radical and pro revolution.

Nowadays, we tend to see the Hippies in a sort of romantic way, as we remember that they popularized organic food for example, and a cool way to live, but actually, they were not accepted very well by the traditional American society of the 1960s (which is not very surprising after all, as the Hippies were openly against their values!).

However, they actually invented a new and very interesting culture, with its writers (novelists, poets…), philosophers, musicians, painters… and its fashion too!

They influenced children’s education and were also influenced by some of the progressive educational theories (Summerhill, for example)

(Source of the photograph above)