A Celebration of Freedom to Choose

At work on the rewrite of the novel, 2013.

At work on the rewrite of the novel, 2013. 

I am just over a third of the way through the re-write of my NaNoWriMo challenge novel which involves the removal of a few scenes that don’t fit in the global sense, the story line. I didn’t really know what that story line was really going to be when I began writing; I simply let the words come. Now that I am aware of the story that was trying to tell itself, the story is growing in the re-write phase, growing slowly.

In my last post, I talked about the flower children, or as they are better known, hippies, as representing a new collective mythology. As I wander through that myth, I am finding more and more natural experiences of nudity, of being clothing free as an expression of freedom and honesty. Being nude in group settings was about trust and respect in the group. Contrary to what media would say, it wasn’t about communal orgies. Yes, people fell in love and yes, they celebrated their love by making love – no different than experienced by others who kept their clothes on.

hippy

It’s not about the clothes, it’s about the intention.

There wasn’t a sense of having to prove anything. Sometimes clothing was worn, sometimes clothing was discarded. The intention was to celebrate freedom, freedom of choice. Nudism groups today are too often fundamentalist, demanding and expecting themselves and others to conform – nude twenty-four/seven – in order to be considered true nudists. It becomes and either/or dialectic that isn’t much different than assault on human freedom that is practiced by all fundamentalist groups – religious, political, social, economic – an assault that leaves too many broken. Fundamentalism is the wellspring of war.

The flower children knew this and so was born a brief moment in time when all of this was rejected and replaced with an authentic and transparent way of being. “Make love, not war,” was the mantra. And, that making love wasn’t about sex. Young men and women gifted the angry responses, the soldiers, the police – with smiles, flowers and songs that celebrated a real love for life.

And this, is the thread which I found emerging in the story of one young man wandering through that time in our social history.

6 thoughts on “A Celebration of Freedom to Choose

  1. I really appreciate your perspective . I think that moment in American history was pivotal and really was about freedom and moral integrity more than anything else . It took a lot of courage to oppose the status – quo . I’m proud to have not marched in time with the established order …. While not participating directly my allegiance was with the “hippie’s “. The Quakers and others stood up spoke against the war . It was a very sad time for me personally .

  2. The Hippies of the 1960’s/70’s it seems to me were a fairly small core of the visible “revolution” of the times and like all novel movements attracted a huge amount of media attention. Unfortunately, it appears to me that many participants were casual opportunists and joined in on the action for superficial reasons and that there was also an enormous “base” that did not buy into the message and simply remained silent only to emerge as the young corporate power brokers and politicians of the 80’s and beyond. Most jumped on the materialist gravy train and quickly forgot all those youthful ideals.

    Although the war in Vietnam galvanized the movement there didn’t seem to be any lasting commitment to other aspects, particularly naturism. The basis of the German FKK philosophy appears to have been missed entirely and it along with the Hippy generation faded.

    I think it is fair to generalize the observation that conservatism has been on a steady rise in the developed world since that time and has in the present become the dominant political and social “norm”. The naturist movement’s enthusiasts perhaps have become more militant in reaction to this conservatism that scorns and marginalizes “disgraceful nudity”. Like so many conflicts we see around the world there seems to be a complete either/or divide and less and less any accommodation in the middle.

    It would, I think, be incredible and quite refreshing if as you write, “There wasn’t a sense of having to prove anything. Sometimes clothing was worn, sometimes clothing was discarded. The intention was to celebrate freedom”, could have become a social norm within the western developed nations at least, but even in progressive nations in Europe it is far from acceptable, except in very specific circumstances.

    I certainly do not have a clue where the future lies, however, there are many Internet sites that pretend to be about naturism/nudism but are clearly porn (kiddie porn) sites in a very thin disguise that undermines the more philosophical FKK/naturist movement.

    I feel, like you I think, a deep sense of loss of the real message(s) of those times and the cheap commercial exploitation of it. The “fundamentalists” may be the shrinking remains of a doomed experiment.

    Bill

    • Thank you as always, Bill, for the serious and well presented response to my post. We both share the same concerns about the rise of fundamentalist conservativism and its assault on the freedom to be individuals within the collective.

  3. Food is natural, but it can poison you.
    Sunlight is natural, but it can give you cancer.
    Fire is natural, but it can burn you.
    Electricity is natural, but it can kill you.
    Air is natural, but it (a tornado) can destroy your home.
    Water is natural, but it can choke and drown you.

  4. Yes , Bill – thank you for those observations . I think I may be slightly romantic about the way that time was portrayed and I didn’t identify strongly with the right or the left . I think most people will conform to belong as it were

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