It was sex, drugs and rock and roll, and those were all fun. But at the core of the counterculture was a spiritual revolution, in a sense of leaving the Western religions of control, and exploring the Eastern disciplines of liberation. There was meditation. There were workshops in advanced breathing.
The counterculture represented a certain economic threat, because here were several people sharing a car, or not getting insurance, but taking care of each other, making their own clothes, using less electricity, making candles.
The Justice Department was trying to infiltrate communes. I spoke to a friend of an ex-FBI guy who said they had the FBI hippie squad. And they had to learn how to roll joints, the better to infiltrate with. Originally, the CIA intended LSD to be used as a means of control, but all these young people deprogrammed themselves from the mainstream culture, and then reprogrammed themselves with a more humane value system.
All the people I know from that time have, whatever their profession, they brought that same sense of idealism and compassion with them. Socrates said, “Know thyself”, then Norman Mailer, said “Be thyself” and the unspoken mantra of the counterculture was “Change thyself.” And the psychedelics — but not necessarily them, it could’ve been meditation or Zen or whatever — served as vehicles for people to change themselves. And that included protesting against the war, which meant that the CIA’s plan had backfired.
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