60's era

Thu, 30 May 1996 13:03:33 -0400

Martin posted a good analysis- I would esp. consider the
optimistic feeling of well-being that permeated this culture
up through Kennedy. My caustic profs use to tell me, as they
surveyed the embattled campus, 'wait til Europe and Asia catch
up to the US in economic power.' The point being that there
was a wide-spread belief that affluence would continue on and
on and, therefore, privledged citizens like students could dream
and do just about anything. Why not? Just do it. That was the
Another point to consider: culture goes through periods of
'adrenelin' and periods of 'stability'- much progress came out
of that period of time but, then, people grew up. When you start
having kids you begin looking at culture in terms of what can
harm your kids and that initiates a new set of values. It is
very interesting to note that the '60's' was a world wide
phenomena and that, eventually, the USSR and Chinese youth
rebelled in similiar fashion. You could make an excellent
case for calling the last half of 20th C. the age of youthful
regeneration of civilization. Environmental values have become
mainstream, the oppressive mainframe computer has been broken
down to the pc global network, the old hierarchies learned from
the military have given way to 'empowerment', the peoples of the
world communicate and mix together like never before. People
have the ability to define themselves just about anyway they want.
I take that to be a liberation of sorts. So, I wouldn't call the
'60's' a failure- I'd call it a shot of necessary adrenelin that
did everything it was capable of doing. It's up to the next
few generations to continue to add their vitality to things. I
would hope they would abandon some of the bad tendencies of the
time. Quite frankly, I think the X generation is better than
the baby-boomers and, more important, are not going to get as
victimized by an era as the baby-boomers were. But, who knows.
That period of time between Kennedy and Reagan is now history
and will be treated with more honesty and complexity than can be
done at this time. For instance, I've rarely seen any analysis
or speculation of the influence of the space adventure on
consciousness at that time. The whole earth etc. The mere fact
that consciousness left 'home' means that it can never look at
'home' the same way. That means most parochial identity dissolves
and what is left is the stark reality of the natural world and its
interconnected systems. This became a 'given' since all one had
to do was look at pictures. But then, is that view sustainable?
If it is 'given' doesn't it spoil? Any mystical literature shows
how difficult and what strenuous pains the mystics went through
to get to that state where they could perceive the 'whole earth'.
What happens when that is instantly available to anyone with
curiosity? Those are some of the cultural questions that come
out of that period.
Well, I find a lot of baby-boomers going through the mid-
life crisis because they underestimated the economic struggle
or threw off the 'competative' nature only to find themselves
in a tight economic life that they don't particularly enjoy.
That is, perhaps, what the younger generation is seeing and
why they aren't going that way. But, I think that period of
time will hold some fascination for people in the future. It
could be the last time human beings could experiment on such
a large scale given the large platform available in tolerent,
affluent America during those years.
Good luck