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PERSPECTIVES IN BIOLOGT AND MEDICINE Volume 15 · Number 4 · Summer 1972 HIPPIRCLE RICHARD L. BUTLER, M.D.* A whole series of conflicts in our Now society has led almost countless commentators to speculate on the reasons for and effects of the confrontations. Articulate spokesmen for almost any point of view bearing on the obverses can be chosen to verify a particular stance. I suggest that most of these "white papers" project opinion, offering, however, very little supporting evidence or basis as to their validities. Two particular obverses, that is, the desire to return to the simple life in the presence of an affluent environment and the intellectual intercourse block between older and younger generations, provide ideal microcosm prototypes for examination of the macrocosm conflicts . If one considers these two conflicts separately and then together, a rational pattern may be seen to evolve and perhaps demonstrate that the Age of Aquarius is in reality the Age of Gemini. The current emphasis in our affluent society from hardhat to hippie on the good, the outdoor, the open, the unfettered natural life or on a "return to nature" is not new but is, rather, representative of a basic human desire that is recurring and has had centuries of vogues and vagaries. The common denominator of these vogues is man's inborn and primitive sense and need, alternately stultified, then bestirred by a culture's affluence and at the same time effects. Historically, and at the extremes of a spectrum of nature-boy advocates , are the classic response examples, Marie Antoinette and Thoreau. In the former, as the sated royal shepherdess of Versailles, and the latter, as the intellectual celibate of Waiden, one sees idea types of what has been and continues to be the circle (cycle) of man's desire to return to the "basic life"—the ever "new Waiden" if you * Address: 600 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, New York 13202. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Summer 1972 | 483 will. To be sure, the hippie commune member who so gladly deifies Thoreau would reject out of hand even the suspicion of owing equal obeisance to the French queen, but the body and health spa addict of today would certainly not be unhappy to acknowledge the origin of his addiction to have sprung from the garden life of Versailles. The antiquity of the concept that a simple life is a safe haven from the vicissitudes of ordinary human contacts, and representative of a basic human need for isolation and simplicity, however contrived, is seen in its most early sense in the manufactured pictures of many of mankind's heavens, for example, the Norse Valhalla, the Christian Heaven, the Greek Elysian Fields, the Indian Happy Hunting Grounds, etc.1 It is difficult, however, to convince each succeeding generation that a repetition of this primitive ideal and need occurs and is not de novo with each generation altering only in its expression . The metaphysical "heaven" example simply does not seem convincing enough. However, it can be reinforced in many clear-cut physical ways. For example, observation of the primitive-return desire in the acting-out phenomenon of dancing is an excellent physical demonstration of a primitive-return response. A rather comprehensive review of the subject (as well as common observation) suggests concurrently that there is little difference between the primitive cave dweller pictured as cavorting on the wall on the Neanderthal cave of the Troie Frere's and the fragging hippie of today [1, p. 186]. Further , the cyclic aspects of primitive dance frenzies as work expressions of group frustrations—physical or psychological—are too apparent to be dismissed. To sum up this point, Rosen has stated that the dance frenzies represent "expressions of great surges of human hope and despair" [2]—a generation identity. Just as the disbelief of generational sameness seems fallacious, so the accusation of hypocrisy from one generation to its preceding one is also a palpable fallacy, even on cursory examination, if one considers that there is simply such a sameness about this charge as generations beget generations. However, the standard attribution of hypocrisy of the Now generation to its parents and alleged cause of the current generation gap can be examined...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 483-490
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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