Hippies created the first subculture in modern history to reject the inevitability of, and the necessity of entry into, adulthood. To reach this daring conclusion they had to defuse all of the American culture’s most valued mores, roles and expectations. They had to imagine and then choose to embrace life outside of both childhood and adulthood. They chose to explore the uncharted realms of NOT-adulthood.
The ability to see beyond what tradition, custom and culture tell you is normal, customary and expected is a remarkable gift. The ability to see what no one else has seen and do what no one else has done is what inspired the artists who first painted the cave walls in Lascaux. The Renaissance astronomers who first questioned the Earth-centric model of the cosmos and the amateur political philosophers who brought forth a democratic republic in North America also shared this radical commitment to free thinking. The Hippie movement’s historically unprecedented dismissal of adulthood was its most sterling achievement and its most unforgivable sin.