The hippie culture, like all other cultures, is not a monolith of its own. Rather it has several branches and each branch of the “tree of the hippie” may be considered as a cultural element in itself. Some examples such as cyberculture or the rave scene started at very different times than the hippie era but may still be considered part of the bigger picture.
The actual “hippie culture” as it is defined here, was a youth movement that began in the U.S.A., Australia, and New Zealand around 1965-66 and lasted until 1973-74 before becoming absorbed into mainstream society. It has been said to be influenced by beatniks from the 1950s and early 1960s, but this is something that has been hotly debated. More importantly however at its core was a cultural shift towards individualism, secular humanism, and much less rigid social structures; this gave people more freedom to experiment with alternative lifestyles of all kinds. This movement coincided with the escalation of the Vietnam war which probably added fuel to the fire of its anti-establishment leanings. There is a fine line however between some protest movements and hippie culture, despite both opposing war and fighting for peace. The hippies were not actively trying to overthrow the government so much as they were simply opposed to everything about it!
What was the aim of hippie culture?
The hippie culture, while having several different forms including neo-hippies, never had a single aim. The original 1960s hippies sought to eradicate what they considered the evils of mainstream society and create small close-knit communities where everyone lived in peace, love, and harmony. These communes were an idealistic attempt at tearing down social barriers and promoting sexual, racial, and religious tolerance. The hippies also sought to expand love and peace into all areas of life including art, music, society, and nature.
Their aim was not just confined to the United States of America either; many hippies traveled around the world on “peace missions” (e.g. Trans Europe Halles) to spread the message of love and peace. In fact, hippie culture has been said to have had a greater global impact than any other counter-culture movement in history.
The 1960s hippies can be seen as some of the first foot soldiers in the modern environmentalist movement, although their efforts were not always appreciated by everyone at the time.
The goals of neo-hippie groups are somewhat different than those of the original 1960s hippies, but they still retain some elements of love and peace. Neo-hippies tend to want to reduce their carbon footprint by using alternative energy sources (e.g. wind power) and political activism (e.g. the anti-war movement).
If you want to understand hippie culture, if you want to find out what it was all about, and if you want to learn how the original hippies lived their lives then this is where to begin. The material within these pages should tell you everything that there is to know about the hippie movement, from its origins and development right through to its ultimate demise. The origins of the Hippie movement are a little muddied but most historians agree that it began in California or New York around 1965-66 and spread out from there. Although some argue that the hippies were just a small part of larger youth movements such as beatniks, others believe they evolved separately from other movements. Some also suggest that the beatniks went extinct and were replaced by hippies, although this is something that has never been proved.