Reclaiming ‘Hippie’: The Taboo of Positive Living

It seems like the more I make positive changes to my life the more I get called a hippie. Granted this is usually by friends and it might be in jest but nonetheless it points to an interesting phenomenon. The term hippie, as used today, seems to be a derogatory word, and even when it is used jokingly I think it reflects something important – that is, mainstream society’s indifference or perhaps even contempt for values that are not about doing whatever is normally done, whether or not it is good for you the individual, or the planet.

Most recently I’ve started making nut and seed milk. Yes okay, I can hear the cries of ‘hippie!’ starting already. Why? I think it’s probably not that great for a cow’s welfare to be forcibly milked all the time, at least I know I wouldn’t like it; nut milk is healthier for me too; it’s not much more hassle than going to the shop; it’s no more expensive than normal milk; it gets me closer to my food and it tastes amazing. What’s not to like?

Yet this is precisely the type of activity that is ripe for the mockery of the hippie tag, as is my thrice weekly yoga practice, healthy eating, daily meditation, interest in entheogens and probably a load of other stuff. It’s as if doing anything positive is socially unacceptable. How weird is that?! These are all really good activities, good for cows, good for my mind and good for my body, yet on hearing about them people choose to poke fun. I’m really interested in what’s going on here.

It’s not that I want to ban humour, and I’ve used the H word myself so I’m really not complaining, it’s more I’d like to point out that if we look behind this seemingly innocent jesting, we see that it conceals the way we have been conditioned to discount the value of things which are not ‘normal’, with normal meaning activities and habits that we have been conditioned to unconsciously believe are the right thing to do.

I’m thinking of the overconsumption of alcohol, the implicit support of large scale animal torture and murder, the mindless consumption of crappy TV, and addiction to food that will kill you to name a few. Most people mindlessly engage in these destructive behaviours without a thought and thus implicitly endorse all that they stand for. We all do it (even hippies), to a greater or lesser degree.

Of course there are exceptions but I find that often when someone uses ‘hippie’, even in humour, it indicates a tendency not to question the way things are, and an adherence to the conventional version of what’s right. Strangely they neglect the value of activities concerned with living as positively as possible. What is it about our culture that means we find the activities that are best for us strange and unappealing?

If people insist on using it then in response I’d like to redefine and reclaim the word hippie. No longer must we associate the term with outdated connotations of unwashed, long haired drop-outs. I’m proud to be called a hippie because to me what it stands for now is to be freethinking, to have the perception to avoid cultural brainwashing, the depth to always ask questions and the ability to step outside of the consensus trance.

It means never giving up and settling for things the way they are now, and always believing there is a better way to live. It means compassion for animals, concern for the environment and a faith in the potential inherent in humans and life. I don’t care if anyone thinks I sound like a hippie, to me it’s just the right way to live.

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28 comments

    1. Thanks Nenke! I appreciate your support. Keep up the good work on your blog!

  1. Gerry Proctor · · Reply

    Excellent reflection again Slim Shady! I think that in reality what you are describing is the reaction of many in society to the prophetic stance you and others have undertaken. What disturbs people I think is the fact that not content to simply debate these issues or endlessly discuss their various postitive attributes and potential negative consequences you put them into practice and quietly live them, not forcing your opinions on anyone but critiquing their lifestyle by your choice to live differently. Long may you continue!

    1. Thanks Gerry, your words are much appreciated! It’s hard not to feel like a bit of a weirdo sometimes! But I think ultimately you are right and it’s important for those of us who question things a little more and try to live well to have confidence in our choices.

  2. Incredibly well written! I have come to love and cherish being considered a hippie for some of the very reasons you state. Reblogging!

    1. Hey thanks so much! It’s great to hear feedback like that, and thanks for sharing too! Being called a hippie is certainly not bad!

  3. Reblogged this on The Live Simply Blog and commented:
    This is a much-needed look at how we view “out-of-the-box” lifestyles.

    1. Hey Amanda, thanks for re-blogging! Really appreciating the support!

      1. My pleasure! This was a brilliantly written post. πŸ™‚

  4. I love being called a hippie – it means I must be doing something right πŸ™‚

    1. Haha yes! I suspect you are! Thanks! Normal does not always equal good…

    1. Hey thanks plain Jane!!

  5. I’ve just stumbled across your blog. I often get called a hippie too, for the very reasons you mention. I even have one young lad in town who only knows me as Mrs Hippie!
    Great post.

  6. […] Secret Shade a new look at the term Hippie in a positive light. […]

  7. You have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!!!
    http://inspiredeverymoment.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/rewarded/

    1. Thanks very much for the support Katherine!

  8. […] the most compelling reason to go for most people, whether you’re a hippie or not, is simply the fact that afterwords you will feel incredible. Colours are more pronounced, visual […]

  9. I’ve had some coworkers call me a hippie recently for leading group stretching. I took it as a compliment. πŸ˜€ Just keep doing what you’re doing. The world and you are better for it. Namaste.

    1. Hey thanks very much, and thanks for dropping by! You’re right, and I’m starting to see being called a hippie as a badge of honour now…! Keep up those group stretches.

  10. […] Reclaiming ‘Hippie’: The Taboo of Positive Living (secretshade.wordpress.com) […]

  11. 01788 841277 · · Reply

    It is more discriminatory then that. I was recently told that I was an unsuitable candidate for the temporary job I had been doing for the last 3 years, because I was too much of a hippy. They were not saying I was hip, nonconformist, a free thinker, but an unkempt, irresponsible lefty with a contempt for societal values

  12. WOW! I feel like you expressed my own thoughts even better than I could have. As a vegan, psychonaut, and freethinker, I really connect with this post.

    The “consenseus trance” you talk about is so frustrating, but the best thing we can do is live with integrity and inspire others to question the cultural values they have always taken for granted. I’m making slow progress with some of my more conventional friends.

    Glad to have found your blog. Mine may interest you as well, it’s about consciousness and entheogens: http://psychedelicfrontier.com

    1. Hey! Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting too. I agree with what you say – I think the best we can do is live the way we feel is right and hope to inspire others. No one likes preaching!!

      Have bookmarked your website. At first glance it looks very interesting, not to mention right up my street, so I will defo take a closer look. Thanks for the positive comments, much appreciated. Looking forward to checking some of your articles out.

  13. […] Ayahuasca may provide the individual with a greater sense of meaning to their life, as though what once may have seemed senseless can now be seen to be part of a teleological path or life-long journey. Often the path involves goals such as healing oneself and relationships, or finding a way to live that has more meaning and makes a positive contribution to the world, or is a positive expression of the individual. Basically, it can turn you into a bit of a hippie. […]

  14. […] it’s tempting to keep our practice a secret to colleagues and certain friends, for fear of being called that most lazy of insults, a hippie. Or maybe that’s just […]

  15. jennyjusuf · · Reply

    I have stopped wearing make-ups for years and months ago I ditched body treatment products and switched to natural treatments. I minimized alcohol consumption and switched to coconut water. My friends talked about me, openly mocked me on social media (each of them has at least 5000 Twitter followers), laughed at me, called me a hypocrite hippie. I lost my friends, yes, but this path feels like home… so I’ll just keep walking.

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