Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Good Times, Bad Times

Image provided courtesy of the Grey Goblin Gift Shoppe

Good Times, Bad Times
By Alraune

Today, I was checking up on how my very good friend Hippiechick79 was doing over at her new blog: Life In a Lost and Found, and I got to reading her latest post on December 22, 2011 – you really should head over and check her writing out, she is very articulate and a very creative woman – where she very eloquently and succinctly explained what I think is on the minds of many like-minded people these days – peace of mind. So, I became inspired and decided that today I was going to allow some of my thoughts to flow rather than trying to write my typical encyclopedic articles. Besides, I'm chilling and listening to some Rusted Root and sipping on concord grape wine, so my mood is very lax.

This is Hippiechick79's first attempt at a blog, as she decided she wanted to give blogging a try, and I think she is going to do great if she sticks with it. She is a very talented writer, and I never had the privilege of knowing that before now, so I truly do hope she sticks with it.

So, what was it that inspired me besides the very descriptive and tantalizing account she gave of a dancing woman at a hippie festival? Optimism and outlook. She really hit home with me!

Optimism and a beautiful outlook on the future sounds about right for now, as it just brings a smile to my face and makes me want to jam a little. Nothing like a little Cassidy from the Grateful Dead, then I think I'll kick on a little John Mayer – Wheel. After all, Hippiechick79's description of good times makes me think of such things.

Sure, good times come with the bad, but isn't that just a part of life? Would it be better without both? I don't think so. I think one of the things that makes life so exciting and so worthy of the gift that it is, is that it is like a roller coaster with its ups and its downs. If life were just a series of ups, then it would probably be like a drug where it took more and more just to make one little up seem better than the last – that's not living, that's jonesing.

Life is a wheel. Everything in our lives declare the truth of that statement. The sun comes up, the sun goes down. The summer fades, the winter comes. The moon goes through her phases, and we each celebrate another year of birth every single year of our lives. You can't love one part of it too much, as all of it is ours, and it all comes back around.

That's why the love and the peace you offer others is so important. You get back what you give – the good and the bad. Does that mean that if you are a very nice person and you give lots of love you'll never suffer? No! You still have the normal ups and downs, but what you give out does come back and it compounds on what you were going to get already. Your attitude also affects the way you perceive what exactly you are getting, as we all tend to attract “like” things.

So, if you are an ass who likes to evoke conflict and pick fights, then you are going to attract and be attracted to conflicts, fights and issues in your own life. Does that mean you will never experience conflicts or fights if you are a peaceful man or woman? No! But it does mean you will not unnecessarily compound normal life issues with more conflicts and fights that you drew to yourself or created via your attitude.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a realistic kind of guy and I'm not saying that attitude is everything – because it is not, but I am saying it is 90% of it! If you love others, you get back love. I think so anyway. As John Mayer says, “I believe that my life's going to see the love I give return to me. I believe...” Well, it's not just a belief, in my opinion, it is a fact of reality. You get back what you give, in equal parts, as energy can be neither created nor destroyed – you get precisely what you give, in the end.

Some of you might think that that just sounds like a beautiful and comforting thought, but you laugh it off. Why? Do you know what “the end” means? Do you really know that one person did more evil or good in their life and got the other? Do you know what their intentions were, as intention is part of attitude? Have you never seen a force produce an equal and opposite force? Sure you have! If an axe strikes a tree it takes a chunk out of the tree. Equal force, equal reaction. If the tree dies, then it no longer converts carbon dioxide to oxygen and participates in the nitrogen cycle to provide for your life – taking its life takes away a piece of your's. You get precisely what you gave – you take, you lose – you give, you get.

So where am I going with this? Hippiechick79 was looking to the future with the knowledge and the hope that her down period was going to be followed by an up period, and that all things come around again. That's the sort of attitude we all need to have! That's the way this wheel works, so there is no reason to be too down for too long, 'cause we'll have equal up time, in the end.

Peace. Alraune.

Nomadic Hippie: Migratory Living

Nomadic Hippie: Migratory Living
By Alraune

I intend to create a migratory plan for the future. My idea is that of three stages of migratory plans with several plans for each stage. There will be a foot or hiking migratory plan, a cycling plan, and a vehicular migratory plan. This way, I have many options and several plans to fall back upon depending on what the future holds.

The idea behind all of this is to follow the fruit seasons for food and medicine, which consequently also tend to follow the hippie festivals. Afterall, the concept here is to live free and simple and have as much fun as possible, as I believe the purpose of this life is purely to have as many positive experiences as possible in the least intrusive manner as possible.

The foot or hiking plan will likely consist of the Pennsylvania Mid State Trail, some sort of trail network that leads around Pennsylvania, the Appalachian Trail, the American Discovery Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and basically any long distance trail network that easily provides for a migratory pattern on foot. For this, as with all potential migratory patterns, I will likely require a lot of maps and research, which is right up my alley.

The cycling migratory plan is intended to serve as a secondary means of transportation and will likely follow the vehicular plan with perhaps a few discrepancies, as mountain biking is allowed on some hiking trails. In all honesty, the cycling plan is primarily intended to be a backup for any vehicle problems that went horribly wrong.

The vehicluar plan will perhaps be the most exiciting as I intend to plot several courses across the United States (and maybe also Canada and Mexico), with at least four tighter loops incase I become interested in a particular region which I like to hang out in, in which case I will have a plan for living in and migrating through that particular region on a yearly basis.

It is my hope that with these prelimenary plans I can develop some very well thought-out migratory plans which will enable me to live free, simple, and mobile, in such a way as to promote peace, happiness, independence, and a minimalistic life which is attuned to the cycles of the earth.

The three stage migratory plan is not necessary, but it gives me peace of mind in knowing that I will have so many options to fall back upon, and it will allow me to transport a bicycle and hiking equipment in the vehicle, which, if it becomes permanently disabled, will then afford me the opportunity to travel via bicycle, and then on foot if necessary or desired. Such a plan will greatly reduce the chances that I will be stranded anywhere against my will without requiring any dependence on the "system", particularly economic dependence.

It will probably take me some time to create these plans, but it is something I intend to work on a little here and there for some time throughout the near future. The great thing about this multi-stage plan is that since ideas and plans can change, it is highly adaptible, and I am not stuck following any one plan. In fact, if I decide in the future I'd prefer to stay closer to home, it would be absolutely no problem, nor would it be a problem if I decided otherwise, and most certainly it would be no problem if I decided a long-term trip was not feasible. It is pretty much a migratory plan that covers any option I might decide to take – so it works.

Flexible is good!

Peace. Alraune.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Anti-union Propaganda of Wally World

The Anti-union Propaganda of Wally World
By Alraune

I came by some information that should not surprise me, but I am a bit taken aback by it. I was speaking with an acquaintance of mine I had not seen for some time, who had just begun working at Wally World a few months ago. After the usual lecture I like to give about overseas merchandise and labor practices I proceeded into my lecture about what I feel is their anti-union stance. What this individual relayed to me was really upsetting, though I suppose I should not be surprised.

My acquaintance said that during orientation they had been subjected to all sorts of "mindless films" (their words), such as how great it is going to be to be able to buy Wally World stocks, but in particular one of those films might interest me. Naturally, I pressed this individual further on this issue as it peaked my interest.

I was told that the title of one of the films they watched was, Protect Your Signature, and that it was given as part of the new employee orientation. The film was about how horrible unions are, how great Wally World's system of doing things is, how unions “trick” individuals into signing legal documents, and what generally sounded to me a whole lot like a tool of anti-union propaganda.

I was informed that the film featured a cast which looked to deliberately represent the ethnic, racial, and economic class make-up of potential employees (in other words, the cast seemed to this acquaintance to be deliberately selected to represent such peoples), and featured them discussing how horrible unions are, how they force you to join them and pay them dues, they do not allow promotions based on individualism but on seniority, and all of the usual attacks. Of course, as I had suspected, the film did not talk about how non-union employers can fire you for any thing, usually have a higher number of safety incidents, tend to subject you to strange schedules and hours, and to work you full time hours at part time wages, which I promptly proceeded to inform my acquaintance about.

My acquaintance then told me that their store manager asked if any of the new employees had been members of a union in the past, and then proceeded to inform the employees being oriented that they (the manager) had a family member who was in a union, and so they knew a little something about unions. According to my acquaintance, this store manager then went on to say that unions do not allow employees to go up the chain of command like Wally World does and that unions do not have an "open door policy" like Wally World, which is, as I know firsthand, a bunch of bull, since I was once a member of a union myself.

Naturally, learning all of this really blew me away. I had no idea that this company was so vehemently anti-union that they would actually force their employees to watch anti-union propaganda films as a condition of employee training! Needless to say, it was an eye opening discussion that really enlightened me to the lengths various corporations will go to screw the little man. I had never heard of any such thing taking place in this day and age, but I now stand educated. It is truly sad to think of how many poor and low income people are being brainwashed into believing unions will hurt them rather than help them as they slave away for slightly more than minimum wage and are worked at or near full time hours for part time wages and benefits.

Peace. Alraune.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The First Hippie Road Trip Plan

Image provided courtesy of the Magic Gifts Store

I decided to post the very first plan I had created for my “hippie road trip”, since I still had it laying around. As you will see, it was not very hippie, not very minimalist, not exactly cheap, and nowhere near what I have in mind nowadays, but nevertheless I provide it as a means to understand the evolution I and my ideas have undergone. Besides, it may be of some use to the individuals (young and old alike) who just want to have a great experience on some hippie-type road trip that they saw in some Hollywood movie somewhere (which I think was what I original had in mind).

Now some of you might think that planning for a “hippie trip”, as I did, sounds sort of at odds with the whole concept, but I assure you not all hippies fly-by-the-seed-of-their-pants without making some sort of plans in advance. Hippie does not necessarily mean stupid, as I learned during my years of research into my planned endeavor. Besides, I also learned through life experience that those who do tend to go through life rather freely and tossed about by the waves seem to fit perfectly with those who are more prone to planning and order. They tend to compliment one another rather nicely in situations such as the one being discussed, where the less prepared and more random tend to bring fun and excitement to the life of the, shall we say, more anal retentive; and the more orderly and prepared individual tends to serve as the perfect safety net and boy scout for the former, making both of their journeys much more enjoyable and free flowing.

You may ask what sort of life experience I had which proved this point to me? The answer is five years with my now ex-fiance (hey, I didn't say it works when you try to settle down, at least not when you are still young – LOL) who was what I would refer to as "walking chaos". She was the hippie-type who had no plans ever, no real dreams besides living in the moment, and just all-around a nice woman with a carefree spirit. I, on the other hand, was more of the planner, the thinker, the plotter, the guy who was just as carefree at heart, but much much more down-to-earth and willing to stare down the road to anticipate any potential circumstances that might throw a wrench in our happy chaos. She was perfect for keeping me from spending my life charting a course I would never set out upon (a fault she has somewhat helped correct), and I just knew how to make her smile when she was certain we were stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead car battery or no gasoline, and I seemed to magically produce my hidden preparations. Yes! I would suggest that polarized, yet compatible personalities make perfect companions for adventure, but I would not suggest the same is true when it comes to settling down to a less adventurous life, at least not at those extremes (Pisces and Sagittarius).

From the paragraph above you can probably gather that I do have some experience taking several shorter trips, which would be typical of a man of my personality. Therefore, I do hope that those who have never undertaken a major road trip, particularly if they are young, will carefully consider my suggestions here as somewhat knowledgeable.

As you look over the plan you will have to keep in mind that it was originally written some years ago, when gas prices were just starting to go through the roof, however, I had researched the projected costs by the planned timing of my trip (then planned to be sometime around 2015) and the projected fuel costs, as you will note, were extremely high (and just about on track with what I had read was predicted). Although it should be noted that in doing my figuring I projected rather high for all the things on the list figuring that it was better to be more prepared than less prepared. Also, I had planned on making one huge loop around the continental United States with a few detours in between, so the projected mileage was estimated to reach around 10,000 miles with an anticipated low fuel mileage of about 12 miles per gallon (with a fully loaded van), on average, and an estimated average fuel cost of between $4-$5.

I believe, as I am no longer sure, that the original plan was to make the road trip last anywhere from 6 months to a full year, or longer, depending on what was found along the way and how long it was wished to stay in any one location, which would explain the projected food costs of close to $2000 for at least two individuals – no one wants to be alone. Two thousand dollars would be close to somewhere around $160 per month in food costs for two people, for an entire year, not counting an additional $520 which I had planned to set aside for occasional stops at a restaurant, which would have yielded one restaurant stop per month, for two people, at a little more than $17 per plate, with nearly $100 left over for any extra travel companions picked up along the way, or any less fortunate individuals who looked like they were in dire need of a meal; in other words, 5-6 meals to donate.

Next, you will note that I did not factor in the cost of the vehicle, as it was assumed the vehicle would be procured in the meantime, and it is really rather difficult to assess the cost of a vehicle, years in advance, especially given factors such as fixing it up for the trip and adding any amenities that may be able to reduce the projected costs of the trip. Equipment such as a camp stove, sleeping bags, and other such things are also not included as I already possessed those items, since I am an avid camper and backpacker and I could never imagine not having those items available to me.

Now, it is not possible to prepare for all things, unless you wish to go insane, so naturally I planned to wing it if my equipment became damaged or any theft occurred, although I did plan to take every precaution to ensure neither of those things would happen. Such situations simply cannot be anticipated, and as noted, it is not practical to prepare for ever single possibility, which is one reason why all costs had been estimated towards the high end and the trip itself was open to such a wide margin of duration, since that would allow for extra money should something very bad occur. In short, the most practical and likely reasons to require money had all been covered and their costs estimated toward the high end.

As I had stated previously, this plan was created when I first decided that I wanted to undertake such a trip, so it really is not very adherent to many principles which I would now consider “hippie”, such as a minimalist approach and a more environmentally-friendly way of travel, and it is most assuredly not concerned with keeping the costs down, as you will notice, so as not to support the system which I despise with too much vigor.

The total expenses of the trip were projected to be a whopping $17,125, which I had planned to acquire by moving in with someone, dramatically cutting my annual expenses, and dumping nearly every penny I earned the year prior to the trip into savings (which could have been done on full-time minimum wage), or by convincing my travel companion (or companions) to split the cost. I certainly would not spend an entire year raising that sort of money for such a trip now, as I am older and wiser and could turn that money into twice that in just another year, and even purchase a house or some land in some locations, but my point here is to show you how I was going to do it, not what I intend to do now after having much more time to think about it, grow, and learn. I will share those plans with you later. Again, my purpose here is to show you the evolution of my plan and my life, although I will say that if one has that sort of money they should consider doing something more productive with it such as purchasing a home or perhaps splitting it in half, cutting back their trip a bit, and feeding a few starving people in this world!

You could also just produce the vehicle, take out a few ads, and have some college kids pay for your trips around the country and the food for your belly (just a thought). There are lots of younger men and women who would love to provide gas and meals in exchange for not having to worry about driving, and who are eager to have a cool cat show them where to find the safe and hip hangouts.

But, without further delay, here is the trip plan. Look it over and see if there is anything you didn't think about, or anything I didn't think about. You will notice it is merely a financial budgeting plan and not a trip itinerary, as although I would be more than willing to offer you advice, a brother still has to make a living, so if you want the real meat you're just gonna have to offer to gas me up! Besides, the trip is whatever you make it, the planning shouldn't so much be about where you are going to go and what you are going to do along the way or even when you get there, but more about how you plan to get from point A to point B and back again safely, securely, and while having as much fun as possible.


Vehicle Costs-

Insurance with Towing ($600)
Registration ($75)
Inspection ($30)
Automotive Club ($100)
Basic Maintenance ($100)
Automotive Repairs ($300)
Motor Oil ($100)
Antifreeze ($50)
Windshield Washer Fluid ($20)
Brake Fluid ($20)
Power Steering Fluid ($10)
Transmission Fluid ($10)
Tire Replacements (4) ($250)
Battery Replacement ($75)
Washing & Cleaning ($50)
Air Fresheners ($20)

* Note (particularly for the non-mechanically inclined): vehicle fluid costs are high because long trips blow through motor oil and other fluids which you will want to check daily when traveling

Travel Costs-

Fuel ($4000) (for 10,000 miles at 12 mpg, loaded van)
Toll Charges ($200) (try to avoid)
Parking Fees ($150) (also try to avoid)
Traffic Fines ($300) (inevitable)
Campground & Camping Fees ($300) (plan for mostly free spots)
Maps ($75) (might be available through Auto Club)

Food & Water Costs-

Food ($2000) ($166 per month, 2 people, for one year)
Restaurant ($520) (1 meal a month, 2 people)
Water ($520) (grossly underestimated, anticipating lots of free fill ups)
Other Beverages ($370) (special non-alcoholic drinks)
Spices ($20) (for cooking)
Cooking Fuel ($100) (depends on stove)
Dish Cleaning ($20)
Fire Igniters ($20) (lighters, matches, fire starters, etc. for campfires)

Toiletry Costs-

Toilet Tissue ($75) ($6.25/month, should yield close to 24 cheap rolls)
Toilet Chemicals ($75) (for pre-bought camp hassock toilet, for on-the-go)
Showers ($300) (at truck stops, and obviously not everyday)
Shower Products ($50)
Hygiene Products ($50) (not figuring female specific products which can cost a decent amount more)
Cologne/Perfume ($50) (to smell nice for the police)

Clothing Costs-

Laundry Fees ($300) (about $5 a week for the laundromat)
Laundry Products ($50)
Clothing Repair & Replacement ($100) (because hippies tend to lose their clothes)
Souvenir Clothing ($100) (from that “special” concert)

Medical Costs-

Medical Fees ($100) (about two doctor's visits)
OTC Medicines ($50)
Prescription Medicines ($150)
First Aid Supplies ($50)

Communications Costs-

Phone Cards ($200) (prepaid phone, $15/month)
Postal Fees ($100) (in case you need something shipped from home)
Extra Phone Costs ($300) (in case you don't have a cheap prepaid phone)
Equipment Repairs ($100)

Entertainment Costs-

Fairs & Festivals ($120)
Concerts ($800)
Music Purchases ($100)
Pubs & Clubs ($500) (for occasionally letting loose, when in one spot for awhile)
Carry-along ($500) (drink for the campsite)
Other ($1950) (whatever your recreational preference is for the next year)**

* Entertainment is often just as expensive as our day-to-day needs. As someone who is now interested in minimalism, I might suggest that the easiest way to go minimal (if you are interested) is to learn to cut your entertainment costs while still acquiring the entertainment.

**  It's a hippie road trip...What do you want to do?

Other Costs-

Souvenirs ($100) (junk you just have to have)
Gifts ($100) (junk for others)
Donations ($100) (give a little, maybe skip the junk and give twice as much)
Firewood ($150)
Safety Net ($100) (that one unanticipated inconvenience)


As is clearly evident, my very first trip plan was outrageously expensive, though not so much if one considers the planned duration of the trip. Living off of $17,000 a year is only slightly better than federal minimum wage at a full-time job, and you get to do it on the road, having one of the greatest adventures of your life.

I would recommend that any one looking to do the hippie road trip they saw in the movies consider this plan and adapt your own plans from it (provided you are considering a similar mode of transportation). Since the plan is budgeted to last the duration of one full year, you can simply take the number of weeks you plan your particular trip to last and multiply it by approximately $350 to get a rough estimate of the costs of your trip (the higher the number of weeks, the more accurate the estimate will be), otherwise just use the list provided and factor in your own estimates, adding or removing items as you see fit. With a little effort, and some creative thinking, you and one other person could have a very exciting adventure next year around income tax refund time! Two people who already possess a vehicle worthy of the trip could most certainly make their income tax returns last an entire season, if it is something they really wish to do.

Otherwise stay tuned or read on and learn how my plans have evolved into something much more worthy of the hippie lifestyle. How are your feet working?

Peace. Alraune.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Background Journey: In the Big Inning (1975-1989)

I offer you a sketch of some of the journey which took place in my background so that you may understand how I got from there to here. The point being multifaceted: to provide you with some details on your author, to hopefully shatter any bullshit paradigms you might have, to share my humanity, to record some of my life before I am too old to remember it, and thus, secure some rudimentary form of immortality, and to more adequately explain what exactly I am talking about on this blog.

My story begins in late November of 1975, today in fact (I'm a Sagittarius for those interested), when my mother gave birth to me at a United States Air Force Hospital in New Hampshire. As should be clearly self-evident to those of you who are not completely burned out, that would make me a neo-hippie, as unfortunately, I missed the party and was born just in time to tag myself onto the tail end of Generation X.

My father was an Air Force sergeant, and due to the nature of his job and the era, my family lived on a military base which had the specific responsibility of making sure that bombs were dropped onto millions of people should their enemy government so much as threaten to drop their bombs on us. You could say I was born with a nuclear bomb under my ass!

After I was born, and before I even completed my first year of life, my father left the Air Force and my family moved back to their hometown in Pennsylvania. It was me, my mother who we will call Mom, my father who we will call Dad, and my older brother and only sibling who we'll call Dippy (we'll be talking a lot about Dippy). And that is just about all that I know about until around age 4 or 5, with the exception of some sort of shadowy recollection of watching my dad collapse in the kitchen from heat exhaustion, which supposedly occurred when I was 1 or 2.

Dippy and I were very close, you could say we had always been best friends. We were only two years apart in age, so naturally I followed Dippy everywhere Dippy went, I looked up to Dippy, and Dippy and I spent many hours discussing life's important questions. Dippy and I were two very different people, in fact, Dippy was more of the nerdy smart type and I was more of the dumb jock type; nevertheless, Dippy and I were still very close.

Dippy and I spent our days riding our bicycles around the small town we lived in, fishing, running through the woods, climbing trees, and generally exploring our world. We were even in Cub Scouts, 4-H, and the church choir together!

Dad worked all the time at a factory to make ends meet, so I barely saw him, which is what our society calls “good”. So that's about all I remember about Dad from early childhood. Although I should mention that Dad was an agnostic, if not an atheist, during this time in my life.

Mom was pretty normal and pretty cool back then, or should I say that she at least appeared to be. She was a Sunday school teacher, the church choir director, the director of our 4-H club, a special needs teacher for the mentally disabled and handicapped, and otherwise what this society would consider an upstanding and productive member of society.

We were all happy Methodists, except for Dad, and I can tell you that I spent a lot of time in that church, which was the same church Mom and Dad got married in. I actually had a lot of fun in that church, running around in it at night, discovering the room of pipes for the pipe organ. Yes, indeed, music and religion were ingrained in me from a very very early age.

Aside from church, I played T-ball and generally loved to play sports, play “army”, and otherwise be a mindless child. I was always very good at athletics, in fact, I wanted to be a major league baseball player and play for the Philadelphia Phillies. I was marching straight down the road towards becoming part of the state-guardian class, as Socrates put it. I, like my brother and my parents, was a shining example of the public education system. I always had straight As, but never had an original thought, which is how you do it if you want to be praised and succeed in this world. Sit down, shut-up, and do what you are told, and you'll be taken good care of, so long as you remain useful!

Yes, everything seemed to be quite normal and lovely in our tiny little town, and our family seemed to be quite the typical American family, with the exception of our low income housing. Did you know that once you get into those things it is damn near impossible to get out of them due to the way they figure rent? We were eventually able to move out because my uncle loaned us the money.

Somewhere around age 6 I got into my first and only trouble with the law. I just did what any kid would do – I built a fort with some friends. Unfortunately, we made that fort by basically hollowing out a pine tree (by cutting branches off our neighbor's pine tree). It wasn't my idea! I was just doing what I knew how to do, and listening to my elders. It was the older kids who I was hanging out with who came up with the idea (Dippy wasn't around that day). It was also their idea to throw the tomatoes in our neighbor's tomato garden at each other.

This occurred back when small town cops were still peace officers and not jack-booted law enforcers. The State trooper actually pulled my dad over on his way home from work just to tell him what had happened. In any event, that was my first experience with how the police use various tactics to get you to confess. I had no intention of telling them who the older kids were (not that I feared getting beat up, I've never been beaten up and I never will be – I'm too smart, too strong, and too damn likable), but I was just a 6 year old kid. The bastards threatened to put me in jail if I didn't spill the beans! I don't care who you are, when you are just 6 years old and the cops tell you they are going to lock you away, and you have that 6 year old imagination, all of your rational thinking goes out the window!

So, I ratted the older kids out, but don't worry I make up for it with age, experience, and wisdom. It don't matter anyway, they just got threatened like me and no one got into any actual trouble for it. Besides, they deserved it, those same kids stole my bike. They did gang up on me and threaten to beat me down for it, but twelve year olds shouldn't be threatening 6 year olds, nor should they jump on them and cock their fists back. When they do, certain 6 year old kids who have already proven they are prone to panic, kick them in the nuts, and then smack them over the head with a metal Tonka truck – which makes them drop like rocks. Then their mom drags them, while they are still bawling, over to your house and waves a frying pan at your mother, until she finds out her 12 year old just got thumped by a 6 year old, then she turns around and beats her kid for being such a loser and picking on a kid half his size and half his age.

If anything, I learned from this life lesson that strict pacifism is not natural (at least for me). If you are threatened you are going to either fight or flee, so to me, there are times when violence is acceptable, and those times are when it is done to preserve or protect you or someone else from harm, not as a preemptive action (like bombing someone because they might bomb you some time in the future), but as a last resort, when you are backed into a corner and you are certain harm is imminent and you are unable to find a different solution to escape the crisis. So, I admire pacifists and I respect them. I also see the point behind their philosophy in that violence only breeds more violence, but the world is not perfect, so I am not personally a strict pacifist and I oppose all attempts to remove my right to protect myself and others from big meanies who want to pound those of us who are children at heart.

Anyway, other than that little event, all would seem normal in our little world until about the time I turned 7. Then Mom and Dad started arguing a lot, and eventually they separated, leaving me and Dippy with Mom. Mom got all “cowgirl” and started hanging out with her sister at festivals, wearing cowboy hats, and driving around in her funky green '79 Chevy Nova, and eventually ended up seeing some guy who was a lot younger than her. During this time period I was mostly raised by Dippy since Mom was always drunk or whatever or hanging out with the jerk she was seeing. I actually got closer to Dad at this time and developed a healthy hatred for the jerk who was with my Mom. The guy actually threatened me when she wasn't around and he used to give me beer (I was like 7 or 8). Dippy hated his guts too. I guess one should expect that anyone who would knowingly break up a relationship is likely to not be a very nice or caring human being. I also started smoking around this time.

In one memory, I don't recall why, but I wanted to speak with Mom. Her “boyfriend” and her were somewhere and his older brother was watching me. Well, that guy did something to me that I didn't like very much (I don't recall what) and I demanded to see my mother. He told me I could not, and that was all it took. I began to freak out, being just a little kid, and during it all I realized that he was blocking the stairway, so I immediately assumed my mother must be upstairs. I managed to push past him (I think I might have bit him) and ran upstairs where I found my Mom lying naked on top of her “boyfriend” who was also naked. For those of you who don't believe separations screw up kids, try that image on for size!

Now, I understand that if the ultimate goal is to break down the conventions of society (like the Cynics) things like marriage and monogamy must go, but how many consider what it does to the poor kids who are caught in the transitional phase? And is it even worth allowing things like that to happen to them? Isn't there a better way? I didn't even know what sex was yet and I had to see my Mom screwing some guy who I did not love, and who was not my Dad whom I did love. I will tell you though, that after seeing that I developed an interest in sex, out of curiosity, and so I was 8 years old and trying to get laid. After all, little kids just do what they see their elders doing. As you are beginning to see, the whole issue of their separation really screwed me up, and I can vouch that it also screwed up Dippy.

Shortly after this incident my Dad became a Christian, and all of the sudden Dad got pretty cool, really involved, and just seemed happier. He seemed to genuinely become a new person, but I do not tell you this to talk up Christianity, “oh no!!”, on the contrary, I tell you this so you can mark the time period this occurred and then watch what unfolds afterwards, and also to back up what I shall be discussing later on, which is why I refer to my brother, whom I love very much, as Dippy.

Eventually, Mom got into some trouble and she lost her job, her place as choir director and Sunday school teacher, and good old Child Protective Services (aka the kidnappers) actually came into my school to interview me. That's what they always do, because if you aren't a parent who understands and exercises your Constitutional rights on behalf of your children, the state is more than happy to try to come and steal them when the first opportunity presents itself, and especially when you are not looking. Thankfully, I had already recently learned from my experience with the tomato garden to never believe a word anyone from the government says, and to distrust their intentions with all of my heart, soul, and mind. That was probably my first original thought. Ain't life funny? So I didn't say a word to them and I demanded to speak with my Dad, who then came to the school and pulled me and Dippy out.

I just wanted my family back together and for all of the bullshit to stop. Dippy and Dad just wanted the same, and we all got our wish. Mom's world came crashing down around her, and Dad stepped in to whisk her off her feet and carry her and her children away from danger.

Dad got a good job working for Roadway, he borrowed some money off his brother, and he moved us all up to the Pocono Mountains to start all over. I had just turned 9 years old, I was in 3rd grade, and the year was 1984.

I'll tell you some of the best times of my life were had up in the Poconos. I became a true child of nature, and nearly every moment was spent in the forest, as, anyone who lived up there locally knew (at least back then), the forest is everywhere, and you kind of have to try to not be in it. It was certainly different from when I lived in the Susquehanna Valley.

I made lots of friends, ran just about everywhere barefoot, built many forts, ate lots of freshly picked berries, actually touched a wild deer one day when roaming through the forest, got chased by a black bear, and just generally had a ball escaping the midlife crisis both of my parents were having by kicking it with Mother Nature and generally never being home.

I really can't tell you all that much about what went on at home during that time because I was never there. I can tell you that that was the time in which Dippy became super computer geek and learned to program in about six thousand different computer languages. I can also tell you that that is when Mom gave up drinking and Dad started.

Of course, I kept playing baseball and still held my far-fetched dream of the major leagues, and by 1987 (I was only 12) I actually had scouts watching my baseball games and commenting on how they would be keeping an eye on me as I progressed up through the leagues. That year I hit four grand slams, had over thirty home runs, and our team was undefeated. Go Pocono Lions 'Red Team' Minor Leaguers!

Eventually, I progressed throughout the baseball leagues right through Little League and up into the Majors – which was for those still too young to play for High School. Somewhere around the Majors I started to suck, just as my life started too, and I lost interest in baseball altogether. Now I could give a rat's ass about any sport, except for maybe playing hacky sack while stoned. To be honest, a large part of the reason I began to suck at baseball was because I was supposed to be wearing glasses, but I didn't wear them because my family couldn't afford nice ones. I had cheap geeky looking plastic frame glasses that embarrassed the hell out of me.

Going back to 1987, it was also around that year, or maybe a year or two earlier that Kelly Monaco (the actress) moved up to the Poconos and became a classmate of mine. So there is the one famous person I know, as if I care, but it might be worth mentioning. We'd be in classes together for the next several years and even worked together. She was an “alright” person, but as I recall some kid, who was considered by most to be a nerd, and who was obviously from a poor family, got into a fight with me for some reason having to do with her. Some malicious person said something to him or her about him liking her and somehow he got his feelings hurt – don't ask me why or how, all I know is that was what I eventually learned. Anyway, all I know is the kid came up behind me out of nowhere and smacked me across the face with his fist and busted my glasses (at least the kid had some self dignity), so I thumped his ass (because so do I). He ran to the bathroom crying – that was in 6th grade. That was the only fight I ever got into in school, and once again, as always, a fight that I did not start. I've never started one single fight in my life, I am basically a peaceful person, I do however, tend to finish fights if they are brought to me.

Speaking of fighting, when I hit 7th grade and was in Junior High School I signed up for jujitsu, which I very much enjoyed. That was when I developed an interest in the martial arts. I'd recommend them to anyone, and I would further state that they help reinforce the concept of only fighting when it is absolutely necessary and when it is in the interest of self defense or the defense of others who are in critical need of help. I really enjoyed the mind-over-matter mentality of martial arts, where little tiny people can toss big guys like me across the room through the simple use of leverage. The martial arts are nothing like barbaric brute force, but are actually a sort of intellectual form of combat which combines the use of a balanced mind, body, and spirit to achieve its ends. As Bruce Lee, who's philosophy I would later adopt said about jeet kune do, “It is the art of fighting without fighting”, and the martial arts really are, or can be, for that purpose. Besides, it is great exercise and self-discipline! Even if you are a strict pacifist, you should consider giving the martial arts a try, or at least go and watch the training in them once. There is a huge difference between what goes on in training and what you might see on the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is a commercial enterprise that ruins the image of martial arts, in my opinion.

Again, speaking of fighting there is one instance I must speak of, lest you think I need to have my ass kicked to learn some kind of lesson. As I said, I've never been beaten up, and it will never happen because I only fight when I feel I must, which means I only fight if I am willing to die, if necessary, trying to win, so the day I get beat up is the day I either die, or I am incapacitated and therefore unable to continue defending myself. In any event, there was one time somewhere around 1986 or 1987 in which I was severely “brought down”. There was no fight. Not a single punch was thrown and no one actually got hurt, except for my feelings. Some older kids merely grabbed me, held my arms behind my back, and threw crab apples at my face because they “didn't want me to hang out at their clubhouse”. And you would think that being hit with crab apples would do damage and be considered assault by most, but they were rotten, so it was almost like being hit with tomatoes or even marshmallows. It was more humiliating than anything. If you want to call that a fight, then so be it, but if you've never been in an actual physical altercation which results in extreme physical pain for at least one of the individuals, in which actual blows are being delivered by either one or both parties, then I am going to conclude that as far as I am concerned you have no idea what a fight is. However, it did scare the crap out of me, because I realized for the first time that there were some instances where my physical strength could not save me from other people who wished to do me harm. I simply could not move my arms with three older kids holding them behind my back.

I was like 11 or 12. The four kids who did it were actually about my brother Dippy's age, or older (some of them were in High School). So, naturally I went and complained to my brother, Dippy, who really surprised the hell out of me. I never saw him angry before. He just kind of typed away on his computer, sat around in T-shirts and blue jeans and bare feet, smelled really bad, and listened to, played, and wrote music. He actually went and started a fight. He went and knocked one of the kids out with a front snap kick to the jaw. Drop him like a lead plate! That was the only time I saw my brother, Dippy, start a fight, and the only fight he ever won. The kid was a jock, and my brother, Dippy, was a total nerd who programmed computers and was a band fag (as we called them). The closest he ever got to fighting was he learned to fence. I guess he was having a bad day or something.

So anyway, let that be a lesson to all of you out there. Never screw with a smelly barefoot nerd! My lesson was, as I mentioned earlier, that I signed my ass up for martial arts.

Moving along, it was during these years 1984-1989, that my family went fundamentalist Christian. That is a key point that you will need to remember for later on. Ever since my Dad became a Christian and Mom had her whole deal, our family life just progressively went to shit. It almost seemed as if God was breaking stuff just so He could claim He fixed it, or more like the entire acceptance of the religion is really the acceptance of a curse, which is pretty much what the religion says you are under, if you believe in it. Yes, if one accepts and wholly believes in any of the monotheistic religions they are stating that they believe they are under some sort of curse brought about by a fallen state – think about that a second. What if belief in a curse is all that gives it power? What a way to control the masses and ensure their plans will always be thwarted by their own hands!

It is not my intention to bash Christianity, I have respect for you and your beliefs. If you are a Christian and you are reading this, please do not run away or feel insulted – hear me out and read my life story. And just think about it, that is all I ask. I am not blaming anything on Christianity, I am only raising questions that I encourage everyone to think about on there own. My life is laid out here for each individual to analyze (what I've told anyway) and to make up their own mind as to what went on and what caused what, if they even believe in any sort of causality. And if you don't give a damn about analyzing it, because you aren't me and you couldn't possibly have all of the information, then just enjoy the story and listen to my thoughts. I realize that most people who criticize Christianity or raise any questions about it seem very spiteful or downright rude towards Christians, and I realize that does none of us any good, so I apologize in advance if I come off like that anywhere. I want to reach out to you in love and peace and not chase you away.

I attended just about every sort of fundamentalist church. I went to Assemblies of God, Mennonite churches, Baptist churches, Evangelical, and right on down the line – all of them. I attended tent revivals and all sorts of things. It don't get much more fundi-Christian than the road I went down. So naturally, I missed out on dating and just about everything which is supposed to be fun for a teenager. Yeah sure, I lived a little wild between ages 7 and 9, but frankly after that I threw my entire teenage life out the window for the war God Yahweh. Not surprisingly for a war God, my life became filled with turmoil, violence, and upheaval. Just keep on reading on my background journey.

I do not doubt the very real spiritual experiences I had during that time period of my life and afterwards. Christianity is real, it just depends on what you think it may be that makes it real. You'll read about some of my real spiritual Christian stories, and then you will read about the ones which had nothing to do with Christianity. It's all spiritual man, it just depends on what vantage point you are coming from. Have you ever even stopped to try to define “spiritual” or do you just chuck it up to something so far above you that you can never define it? If so, and you admit you do not know what it is, then how can you say any one spiritual way is right or wrong when you do not even know what the spiritual is? You have to at least have some definition to make that decision, so I encourage you to find that, and then start there with that definition and see if it works for making your determinations, because if it doesn't, then either your definition is wrong or you are wrong.

Lastly, for the conservatives out there who have been indoctrinated to hate all hippie types and believe they are all a bunch of communist-loving losers, this part is for you. Both me and Dippy began working at age 12, under the table, as dishwashers, and we kept right on working after that, and especially once we were legal to work at age 14. We worked to help our parents (who we both loved very much) pay bills when times were tight, to buy ourselves school clothes and the things we personally wanted, and to have money to blow at the arcade or the ice cream shop, or whatever capitalist business we so chose to spend the money at, money which represented our time and part of our lives as human resources (as all people are considered by the rulers).

Had your piece of excrement system, which you love so much (and no, that comment does not automatically make me a socialist, as I'll being bitching about that later) been moral or had worked properly, I would have been taught about the true value of money and not blew it on crap (which sort of ignorance is what capitalism thrives upon), I would have actually seen my father when I was little and maybe he could have taught me about money, both of my parents would not of had to work to support us, CPS would not have been able to make a profit off of stealing children and thus they would not be sneaking around parents, and generally speaking, many of my life's problems which were caused by either a lack of money or the system's desire to not teach true and accurate money management, would have been non-existent, so don't start in on lazy hippies. I probably started working before your ass did!

That's it, that's all I wanted to say to those who think all of those out there who would consider themselves hippies don't work. I started working before I was even of legal age to do so, so shove it!

So there you go. There is a brief run down of my background journey from 1975-1989. I hope it helps you to gain a proper perspective on exactly where I am coming from. If not, I hope you at least find it entertaining.

Peace. Alraune.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why the Hippie Movement Failed

Why did both the Cynic philosophical movement and the hippie movement (two very similar movements) fail? I believe the answer is that they both failed to clearly convey their message. Certainly a message was received and absorbed by society, but given the nature of the two movements, an absorption of some of their ideals by society would seem to me to speak more of a failure than a success.

The nature of what the two nearly parallel philosophies sought to convey is such an enormous issuesince the two philosophies speak to the entity of society itselfthat proper communication of the philosophy to the masses would have been crucial to its success.

Assuredly, both movements were subject to hijacking by various social and political movements almost as soon as they had begun, as this is the case with all grassroots movements and revolutionary philosophies. Specifically in the hippie movement, everyone with an agenda most definitely hopped onboard and implanted their ideals into the movement as if those ideals were somehow compatible with the initial philosophy. For example, certainly no one would dare argue that a true criticism of the nature of society is somehow compatible with an economic or political philosophy, since both economy and governance are two of the pillars of society itself. How could one argue for a new economic or political philosophy and dare criticize the nature of society? That would be like arguing against breast-feeding with the right tit and suggesting the left is somehow more perfect. Indeed, it would have been hypocritical for a hippie who was a true Cynic to attach their self to such things, which would have been in direct opposition to their ideals.

Trying to prevent various groups who each have their own agendas, including other governments, or the powers that be from co-opting any movement has always been a problem for any grassroots movement, and the only answer has always been to guard the movement, which is typically done either through centralized control (a bad idea for a number of reasons) or through a commonly understood philosophical ideal. For numerous reasons, the latter is usually the way it is done (basically because, unlike a man, you cannot kill an idea), but such a method has its weaknesses which are always taken advantage of.

I believe the solution to this notable problem is properly sufficient and efficient communication of the movement's philosophical ideal. Unfortunately, the lack of such communication has always been the downfall of any worthy movement.

By sufficient, I mean that the message should be appealing, desirable, and persuasive, and that it should be delivered in such a manner as to be nearly indestructable or tamper-proof. The goals and ideals of the movement should be presented much like food for the masses. It should look appealing, smell appealing, and if possible taste appealing, so that it is found to be desirable to a large portion of people. Presentation is really everything! For example, if one is criticizing society itself, then it would not only be a good idea to point out the insurmountable problems of society, but to also show, in an attractive manner, the most obvious benefits of the alternative.

Obviously any concepts which are counter to that of society are not going to look very appealing, since all people have been born into and weaned on their society, and it is all they know, so the sufficiency of the message should not only be targetted at making the alternative itself look attractive, but it should also be focused on changing the way the individual and the masses actually perceive their choices. In other words, it needs to be made attractive not only to their eyes, but also the very way in which they think about it must necessarily be transformed, if possible, before the actual perception is even had (making the way things are currently done look ugly helps too).

By efficient it is meant, that the philosophical ideals and/or goals of the movement must be clearly, concisely, and thoroughly expressed in a manner which is unmistakable to the overwhelming majority. By clear it is meant, that one should really have to either go out of their way or be rather dense to miss the point. By concise it is meant, that the message should be wrapped up in as few terms which can be misinterpreted as is possible, and in which the masses can easily understand it. Finally, by thorough it is meant, that not only should the arguments against a particular way of doing things be heard loud and clear, but the alternative should be understood just as clearly, and should be just as readily discernable as any criticism. The message should be capable of delivering the entire desire behind the movement and of bringing it into fruition, from start to finish, in as few words which are able to be misinterpreted as possible, and delivered in such a way as to be most efficient.

Such an efficient delivery requires two tools: individual representation and mass communication. Besides being made to look bad and ultimately falling prey to co-opting, the hippie movement lacked an adequate means by which to communicate its message to the masses. The social order was able to suppress and twist the message because it held a far greater and more efficient means of mass communication in its hands. To get around this, a movement would have to either take advantage of new means of mass communication which are not yet wholly controlled (such as the Worldwide Web currently presents itself) or use as extensive arsenal of tools of mass communication such as books, films, music, art, posters, etc. Something like handing out copies of films in mass would seem the most efficient means by which to deliver a sufficient method in today's world which, unfortunately, was not an option for the 1960s hippie movement.

Unfortunately, another problem which any movement designed to criticize society undoubtedly runs up against is the use of tools which society built in order to aid in the acheivement of its goals. Such a practice is inevitably accused of hypocrasy, but the means by which to counter this accusation is to make clear from the start (perhaps in the original message itself) that in order to free another from their prison one must physically walk into the prison and release their shackles. In other words, if they are imprisoned by the use of indoctrination through mass communication, it is necessary to use such tools of mass communication to initially free them from their indoctrination. You cannot reach out to someone in the virtual reality of the social order unless you go there yourself.

And so, I am convinced that the hippie movement was a failure due to two things: it failed to sufficiently and efficiently convey its message and it was co-opted nearly from the get-go. I am fully convinced that the movement was initially grassroots and uncorrupted, but that it was taken over by extremist elements who had their own political agendas almost as soon as it got rolling, and then it was ultimately squashed by the ruling social order, who, more than likely, were also responsible for the initial co-opting and likely used controlled opposition as a means by which to end a legitimate movement of the people – such is the case throughout history. Afterall, if you make a movement look threatening or unattractive through the use of controlled opposition and mass disinformation before the overwhelming majority are awakened to this new way of viewing things, the people will naturally reject the movement.

If we want to see things change we need to learn to communicate better. We need to become more sufficient and efficient in our messages. We need to jealously guard the core philosophical principles of a genuine grassroots movement. We must understand the political, sociological, psychological, and military tactics which have been used throughout history to crush genuine movements of the people. We must understand what makes our fellow brothers and sisters "tick". We must understand the art of man-herding (as Socrates called it), take tips from past movements, perfect the implementation of centralized leaderless movements (take a tip from the Christians, who's leader was already dead and therefore unable to be killed), insist upon peaceful resistance and study the techniques of individuals such as Ghandi, Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Paine, etc. Because peace, freedom, and brotherly and sisterly love for all mankind is only one well-organized and intelligent communication of an idea away.

No one can fight the system, which is nothing more than an idea itself, in action, unless they fight it with an idea which is also placed into action by the people.

Peace. Alraune.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Ancient Roots of the Hippie Philosophy

It has been suggested that the hippie philosophy shares many beliefs with the ancient Greek Cynics. In fact, as early as July 7, 1967, a Time Magazine article asserted that the 1960s hippie counterculture espoused many of the same ideals as the ancient Greek school of Cynicism, and even made specific note of the philosopher Diogenes of Sinope – an interesting character to be sure. However, while it is true that no one school of philosophical thought could be considered to be the hippie philosophy, it is absolutely true that the idealogical force behind the lifestyles of most hippies is very much in line with the ancient Greek school of Cynicism.

The Cynics believed that the purpose of life was to live a life of virtue (ie. a sort of personal moral excellence and well-being) which was in agreement with Nature. This was accomplished through living a simple life and rejecting conventional (ie. "conformative") desires for things such as wealth, power, fame, and material possessions. They believed that we are all children of the world, that the world belongs to us all equally, that most suffering is created by the misguided values which society holds (eg. greed, etc.), that the nature and purpose of society needs to be questioned and corrected, and that true happiness can ultimately be gained through rigorous training of the mind, the attainment of self-sufficiency, and by living in a way which is more natural for humans than the machine of modernized civilization offers.

The Cynics would have almost certainly asked the questions: "What is the purpose of society?", "What are we doing?", "Is this happiness?", "What is the point of this great experiment and where is it going?" All of these questions would appear to be quite in line with the sort of thinking that characterizes most individuals who would identify themselves as hippies.

Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly given the way society treats those whom it deems a threat to its nature, the word Cynic is derived from the Ancient Greek word kynikos, which means "dog-like", and the word kyôn, which means "dog". Many explanations have been offered for why the first Cynics were given this name, however, it is almost certain that it was meant as a type of insult. Cynics seemed to have been amused by the term as is evidenced in the words of Diogenes who said, "other dogs bite their enemies, I bite my friends to save them."

One commentator stated: "There are four reasons why the Cynics are so named. First because of the indifference of their way of life, for they make a cult of indifference and, like dogs, eat and make love in public, go barefoot, and sleep in tubs and at crossroads. The second reason is that the dog is a shameless animal, and they make a cult of shamelessness, not as being beneath modesty, but as superior to it. The third reason is that the dog is a good guard, and they guard the tenets of their philosophy. The fourth reason is that the dog is a discriminating animal which can distinguish between friends and enemies."

In the late 18th and early 19th century, the term 'cynicism' came to be known as an attitude of scorn or jadedness, especially directed toward others as a general distrust of their professed motives. This modern definition would be in marked contrast to the ancient philosophy, which emphasized virtue and moral freedom through a liberation from convential social desires.

The founder of the school of Cynicism, is traditionally said to be Antisthenes (c. 445-365 BCE), who was a contemporary of Plato and a pupil of Socrates. His student, Diogenes of Sinope, is perhaps the most famous of the Cynics, likely due to his over-the-top antics. Diogenes was truly the most extreme of the Cynics.

Diogenes of Sinope (c. 412-323 BCE) was the son of a coin minter, who fled his home in Sinope after getting into some trouble for defacing the coinage. Shortly afterward, he travelled to Athens to study philosophy and challenge the established customs and values of society.

Diogenes taught by example and truly lived what he believed in. His goal was to demonstrate that wisdom and happiness can be found in the man who is independent from the constraints and false values of society, and that civilization itself was regressive. He maintained that all the artificialness of society was incompatible with happiness and that true morality necessitated a return to the simplicity of nature, saying, "Humans have complicated every simple gift of the gods."

When asked where he came from, Diogenes was known to reply, "I am a citizen of the world," which was a radical statement in his time since a man's identity was intimately tied to his citizenship in a particular city-state.

Diogenes believed that human beings lived very artificially and hypocritically, and that they would do well to study the dog. His reasoning was that dogs live in the present, have no anxiety, and they have no use for the pretensions of abstract philosophy. He thought these things as well as the uncanny ability of a dog to instinctly discern between a friend and a foe were excellent virtues, noting that unlike humans who either dupe others or who are duped, dogs will give an honest bark at the truth.

He was very well known for his antics, and among his more notable ones were sleeping in a tub, rolling a tub for no apparent reason, urinating on people who insulted him, and pointing at people with his middle finger. He is said to have walked about in the daylight with a lamp "seeking an honest man"; he requested a stick to chase creatures away from his body once he had perished – his way of commenting on the value of burial customs; and he is even said to have insulted Alexander the Great. On one ocassion Alexander found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of bones. Diogenes is reported to have said, "I am looking for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave." Another story relates that Alexander was thrilled to have met the philosopher and asked him if there was any favor he might grant him, whereby Diogenes replied, "Yes. Stand out of my sunlight."

Another story has it that there was a report out that Philip II was marching on Corinth, and the whole town was in a bustle. One man was furbishing arms, another was wheeling stones, and still others were patching walls and strengthening the battlement. Diogenes, having nothing to do, was so moved by the sight of all these men working so earnestly that he gathered up his philosopher's cloak and began rolling his tub up and down the Craneum. An acquaintance asked him why he was rolling the tub, to which Diogenes replied, “I do not want to be thought the only idler in such a busy multitude; I am rolling my tub to be like the rest,” which is an interesting way to say, “All the toils of civilized man are vain, and in fact, meaningless.”

In addition to Antisthenes and Diogenes of Sinope, other notable Cynics were Crates of Thebes, Onesicritus, Bion of Borysthenes, and Menippus of Gadara.

Cynicism was by far one of the most striking of all the Hellenistic philosophies. Much like the philosophies espoused by the hippie movement, it provided people with a sort of hope for a way in which to attain happiness and freedom in an age of great uncertainty. Although no official doctrine of Cynicism has ever existed, there are at least five core principles which can be summarized as:

  1. The purpose of life is to seek happiness and live in agreement with Nature.
  2. Happiness is attained through rigorous mental training, a positive attitude, and through becoming self-sufficient.
  3. The virtuous life is one in which the individual has freed their self from the influences of wealth, fame, power, greed, and other unnatural strivings, conventions and customs.
  4. Self-sufficiency is found in living a virtuous life. In other words, learning to live a simple life that is in agreement with Nature.
  5. The suffering in the world is ultimately caused by false judgments of value, which generate negative emotions and a vicious character. Another way to put it, is that concepts such as the high importance and value money is given in most modern societies are considered to be the major contributing factors to the overall decline in personal happiness and happiness as a whole.

So it was that the Cynics had little or no property – they were true minimalists. They held that a life lived in accord with nature required only the bare necessities, and thus they were perhaps some of the first civilized persons to dabble with the concept of “back to the earth” and a sort of primitivism. However, none of this necessarily meant that a Cynic would completely retreat from society, on the contrary, Cynics tended to live in full view of the public. The job of the Cynic philosopher was to evangelize humanity, as the watchdog of man, and thus they would colorfully point out the error of civilized humanity's ways while simultaneously leading them, by example, toward what the Cynic considered to be the ideal life of happiness where the individual was free from the illusions of commonly pursued social values, and in which he was self-sufficient and attuned with Nature.

Obviously not all Cynics were as extreme, or rather unconcerned with the way others took their antics, such as Diogenes, and the plethora of various hippies would be much the same. Not many hippies would think that urinating on someone who insults them is exactly a good way to go about changing the opinions of others, or that defacating in a theater, such as Diogenes is reported to have done, would somehow enlighten their fellow man. However, there are definite parallels between the ethics of the hippie counterculture and that of the Cynics, and it would seem quite self-evident that Cynicism has indeed been a philosophical undercurrent of the hippie movement.

Just as the Cynics, hippies come in many flavors, and all should not be lumped into the same categories of various extremist elements, or even into the exact same philosophical categories as many hippies are typically lumped by their contemporaries. For instance, there are Marxist-socialist hippies and there are also those with a more Libertarian economic philosophy, yet there are still others who really don't espouse an economic philosophy as they are much more like the Cynics in viewing money and property as being detrimental to the well-being of mankind, and ultimately the cause of much unhappiness.

The hippie philosophy has adopted many different philosophical viewpoints and should never be considered to be of any one, but it would seem that all hippies are somewhat cynical.

Peace. Alraune.


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