My brief description of the ’60s

The wonderful cultural revolution that was centered in San Francisco was over by the “Summer of Love.” I grew up in SF and watched it all unfold and in fact quit my job as an insurance broker n 1965, because I found I had more in common with the people 10 years younger than me than with my own generation.

Almost everything I’ve read that was written about those few years is inaccurate. The Diggers, despite what transplanted New Yorker Peter Coyote writes, were hard-edged east coast entrepreneurs, the “hipper than thou” guys, who proclaimed themselves leaders of the pack and got the ears of the press. Totally different from the spirit that created the short-lived peaceful and gentle community in that neighborhood.

Here’s what I wrote in a note in the appendix of Homework: Handbuilt Shelter, in 2004:

Magical cultural revolution that changed world going on. Mostly misunderstood these days.

Artistic underground in San Francisco, early ’60s.

Beats: fading artists of old world

Hippies: joyous, open, sharing/entirely different mindset.

Wonderful few years (before “Summer of Love”).

Non-conformity, dropping out, experimenting, searching, expanding awareness, looking for better ways to do things. Loving, exciting community on Haight Street, San Francisco, world headquarters for a few years.

All these things not so much new as being discovered for first time by millions of young Americans:

Astronomy * astrology * meditation * Gurdjieff * Ouspensky * Zen Buddhism * the Tarot * the Kabbala * the Koran * the I Ching * dolphin consciousness * Dune * Strangers in a Strange Land * building your own house * The Owner-Built Home * organic gardening and; farming * self-sufficiency * Native American culture * ecological awareness * political activism * poetry * rock and roll * the blues * Ali Akbar Khan * Beatles/Stones/Dylan * domes * LSD/marijuana/mescaline * Monterey Pop Festival * Rolling Stone * Whole Earth Catalog * The Tassajara Bread Book * viewing earth from space * Edmund Scientific catalog * L. L. Bean catalog * chickens by mail from Murray McMurray/and on and on…

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

7 Responses to My brief description of the ’60s

  1. Those were fun days indeed,house trucking,be-ins,selling candles on the street when you needed some gas to move on ,thoughts of homesteading on a piece of land in the mountains somewhere ,hare krishnas ,rajnishis,all the great nude swimming holes ,endless summer!!!

  2. Yes, Yes, Yes,………all that and so much, much more. I'm so very glad I dropped! Unforgetable experiences which inform my perspective to this very moment. Love that's real will not fade away.

  3. Lloyd, thank you for this post. I sometimes take the long way to town just to take a look a 60s era dome, still lovely though abandoned.

  4. you should post links about these subjects you're relating; for ex Whole Earth Catalog * The Tassajara Bread Book * … It's better for us youngs to be guided in our researches (mostly by a guy like you and mostly in these yimes of reappropriation of the common knowledges by businessmen).
    …if I check 'The Tassajara Bread Book' in Wikipedia, it proposes me 'The Tasaki Broad Brook'… I think it doesn't have to do with.

    MG, from France.

  5. The feeling is hard to describe, harder to recapture – but I think the twentysomethings who repeat these experiments do feel it. Many of those things are more popular than ever, but the original discoverers have faded away… so the new entrepeneurs announce they've discovered Passive Solar (or whichever), and the new doubters say it's Impractical to do, and everyone forgets it's already been Done, sucessfully, for years.

    Btw occasionally I hear some people say the 60's "failed" (because universal peace did not come to pass?) But you DID change the world. Millions of people are living better because they've been touched, directly or indirectly, by the life changes and discoveries you made.

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