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…