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Author Topic: The Beat Poet and Art Bohemian Influenced Counterculture of the Sixties and the More Marxist Counter  (Read 7625 times)

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The Beat Poet and Art Bohemian Influenced Counterculture of the Sixties and the More Marxist Counterculture of the Seventies, and Beyond
Bernard Pyron

There was a time in the major Hippie centers, such as in San Francisco and the Lower East Side of N.Y., and in a few major universities, like the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin, when the American Left was not totally Marxist.

The hippies came partly out of the Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert LSD movement, which mixed mysticism of some Oriental religions with the psychedelic experience. Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert were both Ph.D. psychologists. So, they brought clinical and humanistic psychology into the mix of oriental mysticism and the psychedelic experience, Remember also that both came out of California psychology departments, Leary got his Ph.D. from Berkeley and Alpert from Stanford University.

Along with the interest then in oriental religions, there was also an interest in the Chinese Book of Changes, the I Ching, by some..  I Ching is a fairly sophisticated topic, and some psychologists then were interested in it back in the sixties.

The LSD drug movement was also promoted by Aldous Huxley. And Gregory Bateson at the Palo Alto VA Hospital helped to popularize the use of LSD. Bateson served in the OSS during World War II.

Aldous Huxley – of the British Elite – was important in creating the LSD or drug movement in both California and in the Boston area through his associates, Gregory Bateson, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert. Huxley promoted his LSD project in California by making use of Alan Watts and Gregory Bateson. Watts was the guru of a Zen Buddhist cult. Bateson, who had been with the OSS, became the director of a hallucinogenic drug experimental clinic at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. Bateson was one of the first to experiment with giving LSD to mental patients and others.

Bateson had some association with Stanford University in Palo Alto  Among the people that Bateson gave LSD to do in experiments was a graduate student  at Stanford, Ken Kesey.  Kesey, who became famous for his novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,"  soon organized a group  of LSD users called “The Merry Pranksters.”

Ken Kesey made the famous trip in the LSD Bus from California to Houston with the "Merry Pranksters" to see Kesey's friend, Larry McMurtry.  Kesey and McMurtry became friends when both of them were in a  in creative writing project at Stanford University in the early sixties.

And so the history of the beginning of the LSD movement as part of the Hippie Culture intertwines with the history of the end of the Cowboy Hero Western in the work of Texan Larry McMurtry.  Ken Kesey's dates are 1935-2001, and Larry McMurtry is apparently still living, having been born in 1936.  McMurtry wrote some more conventional Western novels, such as Horseman Pass By of 1962. After Ken Kesey died, Larry McMurtry married his widow.

During the 1960-1961 academic year, Ken Kesey was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at the Stanford University Creative Writing Center,.  The North Texan Larry McMurtry was also a Stegner Fellow who became friends with Ken Kesey. 

Though McMurtry wrote some Western novels before Lonesome Dove, it was his Lonesome Dove series which made him famous. The  Lonesome Dove stories are faithful to the Texan Cowboy of myth and reality, but McMurtry departs in this series from the Western Hero Formula.

Another major influence upon the Hippie movement which began in about 1962 were the Beat Poets, such as Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who may still be alive at about 100), Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure and Philip Whalen.

Then there are also the Art Bohemians who are forerunners of the Hippie Movement.. The art bohemians go back to 19th century French Painters, and the list of names include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Paul Cezanne.

The Surrealists of about 1920 to 1940 mostly in France continued the lifestyle of the Art Bohemians. And after the end of World War II, the New York Abstract Expressionist painters and sculptors tended to be Art Bohemians. Since many of these painters and sculptors lived in the Lower East Side,of New York City, when the Hippie movement began, some early hippies mixed in with the Art Bohemian groups on the Lower East side and apparently absorbed some of the Art Bohemian Culture.

In the  surrealism of 1920 to 1940 there was some interest in mental states. Andre Breton, surrealist poet said in his novel Nadja , 1928, that "La beauté sera convulsif ou ne sera pas du tout," "Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all."

In the Hippie movement the interest was in Mental or Brain States, and pot as well as LSD and other drugs were used by Hippies to change their mental states.   Sex in the Hippie movement was a way of changing Brain States, Hence the interest of the Hippies in sex.

Marxism does not necessarily lead to such an interest in brain states and changes in brain states can be positive or negative. Brain states can be under the sympathetic nervous system or under the parasympathetic system. Brain states can be pleasurable or terrifying, and apparently both are sometimes experienced under LSD.

Marxism is so systematically opposed to the absolute nature of scripture and Christian morality that a devoted Marxist does not easily develop faith in Jesus Christ and in scripture. And all who follow Marxism do not know they are Marxists.

"In the eyes of the dialectical philosophy, nothing is established for
all time, nothing is absolute or sacred." (Karl Marx)

Some Hippies, under the influence of the LSD-Oriental- Mysticism-Beat Poet-Art Bohemianism did become Jesus Freaks.

The question is, did the Hippies as Jesus Freaks come out of those influences enough to have faith in Christ and come to love his doctrines? Was the mind of Christ in them? Maybe they could come out of the Beat Poet and Art Bohemian influence easier than they could have come out of New Left Marxism?


"This dissertation seeks to demonstrate that many Christian Right activists did not come out of a fundamentalist or Pentecostal or even new evangelical background but rather came out of the counterculture"

Thats an interesting idea. Could it be said that some members of the elect of Christ did not come out of fundamentalism but out of the Counterculture?. Usually what is meant by fundamentalism is dispensationalism.

The book, Hippies of the religious Right: The counterculture and American evangelicalism in the 1960s and 1970s, by Preston Shires, whose link is shown above, goes on to say "But the countercultural spirit was indeed in evidence. And as one looks at the cultural pedigree of some of the radical activists of the Christian Right, one discovers that many of them were of countercultural descent."

Hippies of the Religious Right: From the Counterculture of Jerry Garcia to the Subculture of Jerry Falwell, by Preston Shires, Baylor University Press,: 2007, "This volume demonstrates that the Christian Right has a surprising past. Historical analysis reveals that the countercultural movements and evangelicalism share a common heritage. Shires warns that political operatives in both parties need to heed this fact if they hope to either, in the case of the Republican Party, retain their evangelical constituency, or, in the case of the Democratic Party, recruit new evangelical voters.".

This makes it clear that what Shires means by the Religious Right is dispensationalism.

We know that Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel in Southern California accepted many Jesus Freaks into his congregation in spite of their being too smelly and poorly dressed to come into a conventional church. And we know that Chuck Smith was a dispensationalist. Most likely many of the Jesus Freaks under him became dispensationalists.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 09:25:47 am by bernardpyron »

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