|BACK IN THE DAY|
|by David Eide||.|
I was looking over one of those books that inspired me when young, published in 1969. I think I read it in 1970 or '71 and it coalesced quite a bit of my mind and heart, considering that I was a sapling at the time with little knowledge of anything. The book was able to articulate the fierce emotions and aspirations of youth that end in tragedy and pathos.
Many wanted utopia. Or more precisely, life without the grinding persistence of technology. We had a view of the planet that had been generously vouchsafed for the people of the Earth in 1969, from the surface of the moon no less. The nuclear weapons, cold war, and Vietnam necessitated the drive to change human nature through any channel available.
The necessity was to see the reality of things and then be able to deal effectively with the reality. Litte that was inherited from the culture inspired the young. All of the conditioning, benign for the most part, was resented and thrown off.
Raw humanity in the middle of invasive, dangerous technology.
Raw humanity in the midst of the "de-mythological" state of being, the emptying of its spiritual resources.
Therefore, the alienation of the human being from himself, from community or the sense of a community, and from the political process.
When had 20-year-old kids confronted the possibility of nuclear annihilation or observe men standing on the moon and seeing the Earth suspended in the distance thus confirming what he, as a 20 years old, knew intuitively? That is, the Earth is a permanent reality while the ideas and judgments that are carried by human beings were mere chimera.
The structure of the bureaucracy seemed dangerous and filled with massive mediocrity that was killing off the Earth in one form or another. There was a large bias against any dogmatism, anything that attempted to legitimize authority and organization.
The desire to celebrate the present: A significant feeling at that time. No past, no future, only the desire to expand the mind, structure it, test it, get it thinking, get it challenged and solving problems and so forth.
The "youth movement" began to die out about 72-73 and was definitely over by 1975. Living in Berkeley in 1976 I could detect a distinct change in attitude, a cynicism and disillusionment. The reality, close-up, of all the excess was not particularly pleasant to see.
But the questions still persisted. How to gain human joy, human optimism in the face of what the mind, in youth, knew existed?
The glorious opening of youth closed painfully over the wound and things dissolved in time.
In every generation humanity attempts to rescue itself. By the late 70's attention in my generation turned to computers; a one-time nemesis that proved to be a possible liberator.
Silicon Valley was the direct result of the "youth movement."
There was an aging new ageism that seemed worn and as credulous as the gypsy.
The old activists moved back to the University to start political correctness.
What a wonderful time to harvest the field of story!
So many believed that they were escaping from old human nature, the scripts and tapes of imposed nature and were self-consciously doing things out of the desire to show their liberation. It seemed a great deal more valuable to experiment than to straighten up and head for the nearest business, nearest agency, nearest academic cubicle, nearest bureau.
There was a good deal of craziness in it all.
It was a kind of twilight zone.
For several years then, the generation was atomized and that was that. "You are not what you think you are young people." It is sad but it is the way of all flesh.
Those who foolishly pine for this time to return are not seeing the way history unfolds in this country. More exactly, the way each generation unfolds. And it seems to change at the onset of the industrial/technological revolution as people get more years to live and there's more complexity to deal with.
The perception can get so immense it became meaningless. It breaks apart and with it, the feeling of community and solidarity with youth, global youth.
Nature demands growth and change. This is the painful fact of life.
Eventually you simply ask the question, "how has my experience helped develop my aspirations?"
And ironically, when I look back at this time, it"s apparent much more gets done when you grow out of this youth.
Perhaps that time took away certain ambitions but it certainly created new ones.
Anything that helps give you understanding of your experience should be celebrated!
The truth of the matter is that great challenges exist in life. Sometimes these challenges appear very simple, almost mundane. You must love life and help, when you can, other human beings.
Continually perceive reality as it is, renew yourself in that fashion. Love nature. Love the nature of the universe. Perhaps conflict is the underlying law of nature but still it must be loved. It must be loved more profoundly than one knows sometimes.
Don't be led astray by the ideologists, by the dogmatists. Work with people going in the same direction but don't allow the nay-sayers to get the upper hand. Don't be fooled by the counterfeit. Love and delight are the underlying law of all endeavor.
All menacing qualities of human existence, including nuclear weapons, can be reduced, pulled apart, played with, changed and so forth. Don't be afraid to use techniques in order to gain leverage over the obdurate reality.
One thing that has not been raised in subsequent years about the effects of this time is that people rebel out of fear and anger at being intimidated by a world and society that, at one time, they had trusted.
The act of rebellion, the act of standing up to authority, the act of challenging even the most menacing things on the world gave people confidence to recognize the stupidities of self-righteousness. Those who have resolved the antimonies are the one’s who contribute to the culture.
© 2014 David Eide. All rights reserved.