Re[2]: Impact of sixties culture
Thu, 26 Jun 97 09:31:34 PST

To All:

I suspect Mr. Morgan and I will continue to disagree over basic
definitions. Was the "majority" of the "counterculture"
self-indulgent? He doesn't seem to think so, but I do. Perhaps our
differences stem from our associations during the period. I have
noticed that people who were primarily involved with political action
tend to see the core of the counterculture as "political," and the
other areas as fringe.

I, on the other hand, had my "political" consciousness formed in the
civil rights struggles of the late fifties and early sixties. To me,
that was always "the movement." And that movement hit rock hard
against cultural stereotypes, ingrained habits, deep seated fears,
etc. So, for myself, and my compatriots, the change in culture and
cultural attitudes were seen as preeminent. China, the Soviet Union,
etc. clearly showed us that regardless of the political social
structure, while culture and attitudes remained the same, racial
strife and personal suffocation would remain.

Now, I think it goes without saying that we were terribly naive. We
thought that psychedelic drugs (particularly LSD) would transform the
consciousness of America. We could not imagine how people could
remain prejudiced or sexually hung up if they experienced some form of
chemically induced nirvana. (I remember long discussions about the
feasibility of getting massive quantities of LSD in the local water

My perception of myself and many others also centers on how we gave
noble interpretations to our own suppressed psychological needs and
acting out. We said (and believed) that drugs and free love would free
society, but what we really meant was we hoped they would free us from
our own fears. Now personally, I read Eric Fromm and Walden II and
Mannheim and a variety of other authors who spoke on legitimate
meaning and the difference between license and liberty. Of course, me
and my friends always acted from responsible liberty; other people
acted out of license!

Forgive me. I do not want to deprecate anyone's experience nor start
a flame. My perceptions are personal. And I wish less to convince
anyone of the "rightness" of my perceptions, than to clearly state
what they are and where they come from. Today, my major perception of
the era is that of paradise lost. We were high on possibilities, but
we did not understand the inertia of history nor how much our grand
generalities were influenced by our own personal fears and
subconscious. We also tended to think of the "counterculture" as an
entity without realizing how really fragmented it was.

I regret the passing of the sixties as I regret the passing of my

Karl Slinkard