Paul Krassner on the ’60s

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.

The full interview is available here.

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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:

2 Responses to Paul Krassner on the ’60s

  1. > . I got past customs, and the only thing I brought with me was a tab of acid. I was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcast Company, and during the interview, the acid was peaking. I had to describe the American pavilion, and I remember saying, ‘This pavilion is really beautiful, with all these flowing colors’ (laughs). I burned my draft card there on camera. They had Marines there, guarding the place, who had gone to special protocol school. The lieutenant called the captain, and when the interview was finished, the captain told me it was against the law to burn your draft card. But it wasn’t really my draft card. I was speaking at campuses around the country then, so I had a lot of photostats of my draft card. So I showed the captain my real draft card, and the lieutenant went nuts. He said, ‘But he burned it, sir, I saw him, he burned it.’ So I said, ‘I burned the Photostat of my draft card, and I lied on TV. That’s not a crime. People do it all the time.’ The captain said it was also against the law to make a copy of your draft card. So I said, ‘Well, I destroyed the evidence.’ It was broadcast that night, and made the front pages.

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