Monday, 30 September 2019

I feel the chill this morning of nearly October

 I feel the chill this morning of nearly October. I reflect on the process of aging. I think of being 62 in April. Mortality and age is a process that affects us in many and varied ways. Some like Tony Benn and Bertrand Russell spot the oceanic and collective tides thatt takes us through the cycle of existence. Others become parodies or is it a pastiche? of our half rememembered experiences we call maturity. Some become ever more aware of our shadow or our Id. Others run from our deeds and our actions and project them on to others.

In the uncertain early morning when we awake restless and concerned with ourselves and those we love we are all prone to denial and darker thoughts. We construct a history of possibilities, a chronology of concern and the fears of what will come as the days shorten and the cold grows. Yet like the shamanic groups of our past we know too that spring will come again. Like Hegel ww learn to look at events and time as a process that endures and changes. The inability at times to see both the light and dark within ourselves is our bughear. I reflect on the classification of us all into distinct typologies imposed upon us by the powerful..

As we age we should see ourselves merging with the pulse of human experience and hope. In Manchester the frightened Tory Gammon sleep through the conference dreaming of a simpler binary world. I read comments from someone describing themselves as left of centre yet defending the arch Blairite Margaret Hodge as almost saintlike. They ignore of course the PFIs and the Iraq war, they ignore the refusal to redistribute wealth and the disappearance of ideology.

Yes as we age it is so easy to deny ourselves, our edges and our blind spots. Yet the antidote to this is to look beyond and build hope for those who are coming next while we find hope for ourselves only then do we refuse mortality and truly live and our prejudices are overcome. We make the moment of now as the one that truly matters. Of course we can sleep through it or take action...a tale of age and decline or a time of the celebration of the collective...we all must decide.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Philosophical Counselling



Philosophical Counselling

Philosophical counselling is an extension of philosophical consultancy which focuses on outcomes of an emotional or psychological nature. Philosophical counsellors help people in distress or confusion to evaluate their worldviews and reorient their emotional dispositions, without applying diagnostic labels or imposing clinical treatment programmes.
Philosophical counselling can have profound psychological benefits. Counsellors engage in dialogue about personal problems, predicaments and values, addressing the issues of concern in a professional and respectful manner and reflecting on the best ways to act or adjust. Often philosophical progress can alleviate the sources of stress and anxiety more directly than courses of medication or programmes of psychotherapy. For many people, this is a personal breakthrough.

Existential Counselling

Existential Counselling focuses on the individual's lived experience and examines the nature of their worldviews and the meaning of their emotions, promoting philosophical reflection and a coherent purpose in daily life. It is a humanistic and phenomenological approach to counselling, which encompasses insights and methods from many philosophical paradigms. It takes its name from the nature of the problems it addresses rather than from the Continental doctrines of Existentialism; it is independent of particular philosophical paradigms. For an accessible summary, see Emmy van Deurzen's "What is the Existential Approach?".

Logic-Based Therapy

LBT is an extension of rational emotive behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy. It assumes that emotions embody the conclusions of practical syllogisms, and attempts to identify and correct flawed premises. Read more in Elliot D. Cohen's "Philosophical Principles of Logic-Based Therapy" (Practical Philosophy, 6:1).

On Philosophical counselling
by Haris Dimitriadis
The majority of people are quite capable of resolving most of their problems on a day-to-day basis by themselves. However, when problems become too complex and life seems unexpectedly meaningless, a philosophy can be of a greater help than the average friend or family member.
The philosophical counselor deals with individuals whose minds are biologically sound but whose thinking and feelings are confused or obstructed and distorted. The philosophical counselor understands that most individuals live by many unexamined (rather than unconscious) assumptions and values that can affect thinking, behavior and feelings in puzzling or distressing ways. Through a series of dialogues the philosophical counselor helps the client come to an awareness of hidden biases, unspoken assumptions, and conflicting values that may be preventing an inquiry into alternative perspectives that could help to ease problems.
Philosophical counselling is intertwined with the emotions and feelings. These do not simply erupt from the dark unconscious but are set in motion by a perception, a certain way of apprehending the world. Consequently, a negative feeling or an emotion about oneself, for example, can be changed by means of a critical examination of one's perception of oneself, and one's apprehension of the world and place in it. But the philosophical counselor's aim is not simply to resolve a client's immediate problem and then send him on his way. The philosophical counselor also offers to educate the client in an effective way so that if a problem arises again the client will be better able to deal with it on his own. The philosophical counselor is concerned with both the mitigation of problems and their prevention. He is therefore both a counselor and a teacher, helping the client to think clearly about the issue at hand while at the same time giving the client the tools that will improve his behavior in future.
Cognitive approaches in psychotherapy and existential psychotherapy seem to already be doing some of what philosophical counselling claims to do. These psychotherapies are admittedly based on a philosophical type of inquiry into the client's reasoning. But these approaches were developed in the 1950's when psychologists were the only ones interested in the practice of counselling. Today there are a growing number of philosophers willing to work with individuals outside of the traditional academic setting.
Many philosophical counselors are hesitant to call philosophical counselling "therapy." This is because the philosophical counselor, unlike his psychotherapeutic counterpart, does not diagnose his clients according to some ready-made normative ideals about normalcy, mental health, self-understanding, or psychic well-being. Neither does he offer the sort of therapy that expects the client to passively receive treatment. But this does not mean that philosophical counselling is not therapeutic in its effect. Wittgenstein saw philosophy as having a practical use in "untying the knots in our thinking," or what he considered the treatment of "intellectual disease." The philosophical methods required for untying these troublesome knots he called "therapies." Therapy in the philosophical sense comes from the client's increased understanding, self-awareness, and feeling of well-being.
To undertake such an exploration some philosophical counselors prefer to use the reasoning of a single philosopher or philosophical system while others take a more eclectic approach. The key to philosophical counselling generally is to not manipulate the client so as to bring him to accept some particular philosophy as the "Truth." The philosophical counselor's intention is to help his client choose the best suited to his temperament philosophy.
While the adage that the unexamined life is not worth living is somewhat of an exaggeration, it is certainly true that the examination of a life by means of philosophical counselling can lead to the living of a better life.

The Healing Power of Practical Philosophy
By Haris Dimitriadis
The great philosophers of ancient Greece formulated the ideas that have guided Western civilization. For the ancient Greeks, philosophy was a practical tool that could be used to guide one's course through life. By discerning truth from error and illusion, philosophy was the tool  in finding the path to the good life. Socrates used philosophy and common sense to expose the errors in people’s thinking to face effectively life's problems. Pythagoras used philosophy and metaphysics to remake society and base it on a solid, philosophical foundation. Plato saw in philosophy a healing power by attributing to knowledge the capacity to discover the ideals of life. Epicurus declared that worthless is the philosophy that does not alleviate human suffering. The philosophy he founded, was devoted to the alleviation of human pain and suffering through the pursuit of pleasure. The philosophy of Aristotle used reason as the means to living a fulfilling life. The Stoics through Zeno and Marcus Aurelius, praised the value of reason and Nature in living a meaningful life.
What Is Philosophical counselling?
The revival of humanist values in the Renaissance wouldn't have been possible without a rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy. Most of the stuff that the ancient teachings reveal is still relevant today. In a sense we have come full circle, never having gone. Human nature is the same notwithstanding our increase in knowledge. We have not necessarily become wiser beings. So philosophers are there again to help.
Descartes and Spinoza saw philosophy as the "practice of wisdom." Nietzsche complained that philosophy had degenerated into a boring academic pursuit. He was waiting for a "philosopher physician" who would muster the courage "to risk”. The twentieth century's most influential philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, asked rhetorically, "What is the use of studying philosophy if all it does for you is to enable you to talk with some plausibility about some abstruse questions in logic, etc., and if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life?" John Dewey, the American philosopher of education, wrote earlier this century that philosophy would show its true value "only when it ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men."
Nowadays, philosophy has become an increasingly theoretical, intellectual pursuit, far removed from the practical affairs of life. Philosophy has been locked up in the ivory towers of academia. But, in the early 1980's, the German philosopher Gerd Achenbach revived the old practice and offered his services as a philosophical counselor Philosophical counselling uses philosophical insights and methods to help people go through significant issues in their life. It can be very helpful for finding our vocation, making a difficult decision, facing career dilemmas, relationship issues, emotional distress, and in general being clear about what we want from life.
In recent years, philosophy professor and counselor Lou Marinoff, came out with the book “Plato, Not Prozac!” by which he greatly popularized philosophical counselling with the masses. As the title implies, Marinoff takes the issue with the over-medicalization and over-medication prevalent in conventional psychotherapy. The stigma of sickness is placed on those going through personal problems, many of which are actually rooted in philosophical dilemmas underlying one's basic approach to life and its problems. Medications just suppress the symptoms, without getting to the core issues, which are often philosophical. Marinoff offers philosophical counselling as a natural, drugless alternative to conventional psychotherapy. But, those who are having severe problems with mood distortions may actually need medication and psychotherapy.
Guidelines and Methodology
Philosophical counselling is based on a sincere, open communication, or dialogue, between counselor and client. It is designed to uncover the core philosophical issues that lay behind the problems the client is facing. The philosophical counselor drives the client define his core ethics, beliefs, principles and values.
Lou Marinoff outlines a five step PEACE process for working through problems philosophically:
P: Problem identification. Isolating and defining the core problem clearly.
E: Expressing emotions and feelings that are aroused or aggravated by the problem.
A: Analyzing one's various possibilities and options for solving the problem. The counselor can bring to light hidden options that the client may have been blind to or unaware of, or introduce a certain philosophical perspective to get the client to see his/her problem in a whole new light.
C: Contemplation of the problem and all its ramifications from a detached, philosophical perspective. From the total array of possible options for solving the problem, the client chooses the option that best fits his innate philosophical disposition.
E: Equilibrium, or returning to a state of inner balance and harmony, which can only come from a true, honest and sincere philosophical resolution of the problem.
The counselor presents to the client various philosophical perspectives that may be useful or indicated for solving a particular problem. And if the client benefits from a particular philosophy the counselor will recommend bibliotherapy; the reading of books and articles extolling that philosophy.
Which philosophies are useful in philosophical counselling? Basically, all of them, where indicated and appropriate. Any religion, worldview, science or system of inquiry that offers a valid perspective for evaluating life's choices and options, ethics and values. Philosophical counselling has remained free, open, and unrestrained by any rigid dogma or orthodoxy.
The Need for Philosophical counselling
Some may wonder why the philosophical counselling movement has re emerged. The answer is quite obvious; The modern world is in the midst of a philosophical crisis. It is suffering from an emptiness of reliable, fundamental ethics, values and guiding principles. This has led to spiritual disorientation and malaise. Its underlying causes are many and diverse, but the principal ones are: Modern science and technology which have explained the material universe in minute detail, but have left the world of mind and spirit in a very uncertain state of affairs. Also, Capitalism, the market economy, is coming under increasing scrutiny. Modern man has yet to find a satisfactory balance or working relationship between profit and remuneration on the one hand and personal development and well being on the other. In parallel, terrorism, associated with the fundamentalism of traditional religions, is on the rise, not just in Islam, but in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and other world religions as well. This trend is a desperate reaction against the moral, ethical and philosophical void and chaos generated by the prevailing socio economic trends.
One's nature and temperament profoundly affects one’s basic approach to life and relationship with the world. These are the building blocks for one's personal philosophy of life. Each type of person has his own inherent disposition on life's central issues and concerns and this creates the personal philosophical perspectives on life. This is what makes life so fascinating and complex, and a continuous journey of self discovery. In the philosophical questions and problems we encounter in life, we find reflections of our own inner nature. Every philosophy, as a therapeutic agent, has its own inherent nature and temperament, which gives it a certain affinity with one or more of types of personalities.

Things fall apart and the centre cannot hold....

As Parliament catches the vicious cycle of the discourse of violence and hate we approach the risk of another Jo Cox attack. As the word 'humbug' is used to put down the truth and the Bullingdon bully reveals misogyny and contempt. In London the Far Right plans rallies in support of Boris Johnson. The language of 'traitor' and of 'surrender' is used openly. As Johnson says that the best way to honour Jo Cox's memory is to get Brexit done we see the nature of his soul and desperation and lust for power. When even Dan Hodge tweets that Jeremy Corbyn should be Prime Minister. As the Attorney General uses language of death and destruction we see the machine of Ur Fascism creep up several notches. The truth is that fascism is within all of us but in varies in degree and power. A buffoon leads us as the darkness within him grows. The rhetoric of Cummings is unleashed and all of us are darkened and our flaws feed the heightened mood of despair. Watch the second part of "Rise of the Nazi's' and you see the equivalentt personalitiee of modern Britain. As Johnson uses propaganda to deny reality and of

connections between discourse and murder we enter Weimar and the year 1933 begins. The Freikorp walk our streets as in America a young woman comes within a few steps of a orange haired beast slouching it's way through the swamp towards a far right Bethlehem.
And yet as the choice for the next Prime Minister comes down to but two choices we see radical socialist policies produced and a decent honorable man waiting to take power.. As the implications of climate change begin to become clear for every far right discourse or numpty there are far more from the better angels of our nature. Hope is palpable and it all comes down to who you choose. The moderates cannot be locked in denial any more. There is no "moderate" position between hope and hostility; there is no portion between racism and toleration. There is no moderate position between equality and inequality. On Radio 4 on Thought for the Day I hear the same naive nonsencec that moderation is the only way forward once more stated. There is only one man waiting to be called to become Prime Minister who can calm us and turn back the hatred. It's time for Jeremy Corbyn and there is no one else who can rise to the occasion all of he has flaws and imperfections yet it is these cracks through which the light of hope will get in...choose now...we can no longer deny the dark forces that move amongst and within us...the inferno of rhetoric threatens to consume us all.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Its very simple..really

 If you want a second vote you vote Labour. If you want to have a chance to vote Remain then you vote Lbabour even Labour give you a chance to vote leave and we are the only party to respect the result of 2016. That's clear enough....
 This  next bit was written byStevie Burrows
You want a 'no deal' Brexit, so you'll vote for the Tory or Brexit Party - you'll end up with riots and violence on the streets when angry people with nothing left to lose fight back against austerity.
You want to revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit, so you'll vote for the LibDems - you'll end up with riots and violence on the streets from angry Leave voters objecting to their vote being ignored.
You want to bring the country back together and find a compromise after three pointless years of squabbling, so you'll vote for the Labour Party - and get the chance to vote on either a better deal than the Tories wanted or to Remain.
Choose either of the first two options and the country will head towards civil war, instead of doing something about protecting our future under climate change ...

Monday, 23 September 2019

And on the first day of Autumn,..political thoughts

And on the first day of Autumn, on the September Equinox when light and dark are in balance we await the result of the Supreme Court decision. As Labour meets in Brighton and the pace of electioneering speeds up each day and the tensions rise. This is the time of decision and debate There will be a full public inquiry into Orgreave and other injustices going back over the decades. The ending of private education, the creation of an education system for all and social justice is on offer. On Radio 4 I hear a man defend the prep school as a creator of character and kindness and I wince thinking of the reality of the institution. I remember the fear that ran through the teachers of my prep school to the Labour landslide of 1966. I was 8 years old at 61 I wait for the time to come round again and this time we will not fail .He does not mention that many private hospitals in the pre war period were incorporated into the NHS. Nobody thinks of reversing this now. It is time to move on to the removal of the hereditary principle and establishment creation that the British state relies upon. As Autumn begins on a wet Monday morning the days come down to the most vital election since 1945. The UK faces thus crucial choice as it's very structure begins to fall apart. As we see the Lib Dems hypnotized by Brexit alone and as the Greens and Plaid seem unaware that only a Labour government can provide the social justice needed. Only a Labour government ment can bring a Green New Deal and a Green Industrial revolution. It is only renewables that can be democratically controlled. It is only cooperatives that offer a solution to the problems of ownership. A citizens income will only come through a socialist Labour led government. We are coming down to a simple decision and we cannot avoid it. Plaid, the SNP and the Greens have a major role in this government. They can provide a source of ideas, an accountability and scrutiny and a radical conscience for that government. It's time to decide and there is no middle's 1964 again the next Labour government will have a bare majority and it will need the radicals and the thinkers from across many parties and organisation to empower it and inspire it. The time is now..A

Friday, 20 September 2019

The Philosophers interlude with Bramble and Bracken.. and Finale

It was a glorious September morning in Glanrhyd as Bramble and Bracken headed back from their walk. Bracken sitting on the front step, looked quickly at Bramble and asked "Where does Martyn go during the day?

Bramble replied, " He goes to a place called Asclepius . It's thousands of miles away. I have been there three times. I am sure you will go there when you are older"
Bracken looked back and asked " What does he do there? "

Bramble replied "He talks a lot and I sit on people's knees. Once I went to a Philosophy course. When i disagreed with what they said I farted"

"Does he do anything else?" replied Bracken. Bramble smiled " He is a political activist. And he goes on and on about Kippers and just recently he told me that if I was badly behaved he would get Jo Swinson to explain to me how she had nothing to do with austetity"
Bracken looked up and said " What's this thing called Brexit?"" Bramble quickly said " It's an expression of a religious faith I think"

Bracken glanced around again and peered under the gate " Where do you think Martyn is now Bramble ? I heard from Tilly from Tawe Park that some Dire Wolves saw him in the Polaris wagon in Torfaen.

He anxiously asked Bracken, "Will he be home to walk us tonight.? "
"I am sure he will" replied Bramble." I dont think he had too much to do. He told me he was overthrowing late capitalism, proclaiming the Democratic Socialist Republic of Ystradgynlais and winding up the political right"

"Oh'l laughed Bracken "that sounds mild to me. Quite mild in comparison with taking us for a walk and cleaning up our pooh "

Bramble replied quickly " it sounds just the same to me. I think you are too young to see the similarities. Martyn likes cleaning up the crap He told me he was throwing them into the dustbin of history"

"Why do some people not like Martyn? " asked a worried Bracken.
Bramble laughed and said " Every saint has a past and every sinner a future" The two dogs roared with laughter and fell asleep. In Port Talbot Robert Miller still slept on.
As the dogs dreamnt on of Summers without end, the Red Flags were being raised everywhere and the crowds were gathering. Little did they know that the finale was coming to crescendo upon that curious day in October..

The Philosophers Tale . The Finale...

As the RSS and the Torfaen Irregulars fell into both self loathing and a curious mutual madtabatory projection the forces of the Left rallied. Westwards from the Millenium Stadium Graham and the forces of the Ecosocialists moved through South Wales towards Swansea. From Torfaen the Polaris wagon pushed back the confused remnants of the Seven Sisters Security force. In Bonymaen and Llansamlet the Labour activists reached a certain road of a certain Football coach.
In the Melin the ruins of FAN hall still smoked wildly as another former football coach muttered in his delirium to the Gauleiter of Resolven. Each muttered over and over again " it was all Shrewsburys fault...'

As the Sisters of the Night conjured another cone of power Nick and Dr Danielle still laboured on cleaning Port Talbot Deluded and Abused of even more homophobia and racism.
At the RSS Labour Camp in another part of Swansea the Liberal Democrats still dreaming of Saint Swinson and of the equivalence of the Left and Far Right laboured on. . those who argued with them were dismissed as misogynists who felt threatened. And so caught between the cosmic forces of a titanic battle the moderates remained in the slaughter house imprisoned partly by their own two dimensional thinking and the conditioning they had been given by their captors. Like horses controlled by an imaginary electric wires the Fib Dems remained imprisoned unknowing and uninformed.

On the Leavers of Swansea Facebook page the same trope echoes on. The threat of the foreigner ever present and ever growing into Schrondinger"s Immigrants who can both work and claim benefits simultaneously and who clearly exists but who has never been met except by the man a friend met down the pub.

Makanowsku in London wanders into more diverse and deranged conspiracies speculates on a species of shape shifting Marxist aliens who live inside a hollow earth and who masquerade as the global elite. Robert Miller still sleept on little knowing that he has missed the entire day .. he mumbles in his sleep, farts loudly and returns to his role as the Rip Van Winkle of the Aberavon Estate

As all these individuals and events unfurl and develop the bolt of power from the Swansea Valley crashes down completely destroying the remnants of the RSS a great pall of smoke rises up and forms the words "We got our country back". The wind blows this quickly away as faint voices can be heard whispering " we are slain yet we got Brexit"

Martyn muses to himself and reflects on the journey home. His thoughts settle on the nature of reality. He thinks as follows.
"In the hours that run like rabbits history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce. As we glance down at the characters acting out the drama upon this October day. We are entitled to ask if the events are allegory, satire or indeed an intersection of Brecht and Kafka. So I leave that answers for the reader to decide.

As we see them in the drama of this day we find that uncomfortable thoughts arise and disturb us all. If we were to take the characters of the far right as cut out figures taken from a child's comic of the 1970s we could place upon them the cut out costumes of the SA and the SS. The political figures of our time could easily wear the personas of Von Papen, Hindenburg and of Rohm and Himmler. There are even those who through my satire or allegory become more alarming and threatening than ever. The winterhilfswerk with the homeless. , the pretense of honouring the veterans, the use of the term "patriot" and the authoritarian style of the sportscoach was echoed and hinted in Weimar amongst the freikorp and the proto Nazis. These models appear in the psychological and political outlook of the Torfaen Irregulars and amongst the RSS while the crypto fascist is hidden within opaque, hidden and brooding. Perhaps they themselves do not know where their instincts come from. Perhaps it comes from a collective unconscious depository of Ur Fascism that creeps into their souls as they sleep and dream. Remember that though there is much humour in this story and mockery that this too was how many people laughed and mocked the Nazis till it became too late.
The figures of the conventional right look on these events and behaviours uncomprehendingly and fail to see the trajectory of history

In my allegory or satire the first instinctions of the conventional right is to see the far right as a means to stop the left. They would welcome the EDL and DFLA as means to stop the Corbynistas of Momentum with the same glee that Von Papen and the German ruling class used the Nazis to destroy the left in Weimar. But as the revolution of the Far Right developed it ate it's own children. In Wemar as in my story the same happens to the conventional right and the moderates . Yet in describing farce I provide a warning...

Martin's stream of consciousness ended here and as events moved on the drama continued.
Meanwhile on Abertawe Chitters Roy has finished his purging. Good old Jo K is posting a meme that says "Have a lovely Revolution Chitters and keep that politics away" Charles Wally Watkins begins writing an article for the Bay Magazine entitled "Martyn Shrewsbury Anti Christ and Marxist..
The Polaris wagon drops Martyn off in Ystradgynlais and the day is over. It's time to take Bramble and Bracken for their walk. It's been a good day..

Thursday, 19 September 2019

The Philosophers Tale Part 5....the beasts begin to fight.

The Philosophers Tale Part 5....the beasts begin to fight..

As the Polaris Wagon headed towards Torfaen to rescue their besieged comrades in tbe Vinyl shop.and Graham caught a bus to Cardiff having escaped the Torfaen Irregulars . In the Swansea Valley Sister Night and her group began to invoke the powers of the Old Goddess. This time she thought it would be easier . The defeat of the good old boys of the far right lay within their own psyches. While the far right dreams of a Kristillnacht against the left; their inner demons plotted a night of the Long Knives against their "patriotic" compatriots. The truth was that the lads of the RSS and of DFLA each suffered from a chronic insecurity deep within themselves. It had long been like this upon the far right . It had been there since Rohm versus Himmler, through Farage versus Cummings and was mirrored and hinted at in the rivalry between Dave and Weeco. There had already been a virtual punch up between the Cardiff lads and the Swansea ones. As Martyn, Graham and the Daughter of the Night thought of their next move on the numerous levels of existence the world began to change.

The passing of Elizabeth Saxe Coberg Gotta set a ripple of fear running through the establishment. As long ago as Weimar the ruling class had sought to use the street gangs of the SA to control and eliminate the Socialists and the Trade Unionists. There had been an echo of this perhaps conscious or denied within the ruling class of the British State. After all our dear family historian Charles Wally Watkins was friends with Weeco the Ernst Rohm of Swansea DFLA and as Martyn wondered who had been the agent on Abertawe Chitters providing young Weeco with information on the activities of the Left?

As the monsters of the far right"s ID and Shadow began to fall out rather than play with one another's Demons and the coup began to fade and break down.
As the diverse and scattered elements of the left began to rally and cooperate the diverse jealous insecure elements of the far right began to possess their psyches.
The Polaris wagon roared on as Graham and many others rallied Extinction Rebellion within Cardiff. Nearly five thousand of them were gathered in Millenium Stadium .
Once more the forces of the Swanses centrist looked on from their internment camp within Morriston still dreaming of the equivalence of the left and of the importance of the words the bountiful Swinson.. the Daughter of the voice.
Deep within Dave a deep loathing began for the boys of the Morriston DFLA. The worst demons of his nature burst forth evoked by the forces of the conjuration of the Daughter of the Night.
Throughout South Wales Martyn"s Dire Wolves ran on observing, sniffing out events, concerns and rivalries. His little birds moved quickly unseen highly observant and excited. As the Polaris wagon roared into Torfaen the comrades saw the remnants of the Torfaen Irregulars were observed to be drunk and squabbling..

In Llansamlet and Bonymaen Labour activists noticed the same "drunk and squabbling" behaviour amognst the lads of the RSS.
In the remnants of the FAN hall the Gauleiter muttered on and in Seven Sisters the SSS began to quarrel as Councillor Steve Crass Bunt looked for the enemies within and booted off 300 more fake alleged 'Shrewbury" accounts from 'his" Facebook group. The dogs of the right were braking at one another another and neared open fighting and struggle.
Did the collapse of the far right come from the psyche or the psychic? Neil in his Cogntive Analysis would see it one way.. Martyn see it from the Psychodynamic paradigm and the Old Faith saw it an other way...

Whatever the cause was it was ckear that the world was changing and the synthesis moved on. The paradigm was in flux and the contradictions and paradox lay bare the hearts and minds of the protagonists in the drama of Brexit Island . The ghost of Gramsci and Baudrilliard looked on as the last Torfaen Irregulars collapsed pissed as the lefties from the Vinyl shop ran up the Red Flag over Torfaen. The Red Flags flew as well over the Millenium Stadium. The climax of events were nearing apogee. A perverse triangulation was consuming the "patriots".. but still in Port Talbot Robert Miller slept on . .to be continued.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

I am a 1970s Socialist....

I  am a 1970s socialist because of 2010s 'liberals" like Jo Swindleson and their austerity and policies of privatisation . I am a 1970s socialist because of New Labour and it's tinkering with capiralism They adjusted income but did nothing about the distribution of wealth. They promoted Public Finance Iniatives and fought a hideous war killing millions. I have always been a socialist from the 1970s because it was the only analysis that made sense and offered an alternative. I am a 1970s socialist because it was a criticism of the austerity and semi monetarism of the Callaghan years. I hold it up as a badge of honour because I want to solve the problem of those who work but do not own and those who own but do not work. I want people to own the place they work at and that they are the first responsibility of the business and not the shareholders. I am a 1970s socialist because the health service and education system is a service and not a business. I am a 1970s socialist because I support an education system that is about critical thinking and not about serving our corporate master. I am a 1970s socialist becaus I believe that we must sweep away the Public Schools, the House of Lords and the whole Honours system. I am a 1970s socialist because I want a written constitution and a citizens income. I am a 1970s socialist because I support the right of numerous ethnic, sexual and gender identities. I am a 1970s socialist because of your austerity Jo Swinson because while you are a woman you are not a sister. Your friends will call me misogynist because I criticise you. Yet you were the misogynist supporting welfare cuts, privatisation and the bedroom tax. It was your policies Jo Swinson that through austerity killed 120,000 people. That's misogyny Jo, robbing families of mothers, suppressing income and slashing services. I am a 1970s socialist because I have sat with the victims of your policies Jo Swinson in DWP offices and tribunals . And you have the fucking nerve to dismiss those like me on an equivalence scale with the old Etonians bully boys of the Bullingdon?.
I am a 1970s socialist because I don't believe that my attitude to Brexit is a litmus test of everything that matters. I am a 1970s socialist because I don't excuse homophobes and bigots because of ambition and of being remainers.

I am a 1970s socialist because I don't believe that someone like yourself who is a parody of the head prefect of a private school from a novel of the 1920s or 1930s. I am a 1970s socialist because I believe in self determinism of the people's of these islands. I do not look the other way Jo because I deny the Scottish people a second referendum but want to deny the reality of the UK European referendum of 2016.

I am a feminist and a peace maker and a supporter of the identity of all enabled to discover who they are and to be able set out on a journey of self discovery I am a 1970s socialist because I don't believe that moderation is a virtue and is rather a statistical average of unthinking and prejudice. There are no moderate positions when confronting fascism and racism, poverty and injustice. I am a 1970s socialist because of the Blairs, Swinsons and moderates that I meet.

Since 2008 the economic system gas been cracking and breaking . We have had years of Corporate Welfare with pay outs for the rest, we have bailed out the bankers and the plutocrats. I am a 1970s socialist because we can't go back to the way things were prior to 2008. The tragedy is that Jo and her friends don't even realise what has happened or indeed have the tools to analyse it. You don't even realise that your actions are what caused Brexit and the rejection of neoliberalism. So I raise the Red Banner and stand below it.. That's why I am a 1970s socialist...

And you Jo are simply a means by which the ruling class can keep on ruling. You are the means by which the structure of the existing system would be preserved. You are Jo with your party hooked into grandiosity and narcissism and you are completely unaware of reality.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Psychology and belonging

Much of human behavior, thought, and emotion stems from our psychological need to belong. In psychologist Christopher Peterson’s words, other people matter. In fact, they matter so much, that they become a source of our self-esteem. We may even base our self-concepts not only on our unique traits and characteristics (individual self), but also on the attachments we form with significant others (relational self), and the social groups we identify with (collective self), thus, continuously navigating our self-definitions between “I” and “we” (Brewer & Gardner, 1996, p. 84).

Emotional consequences of belonging have been well studied. Bonds with other people can become causes for happiness. Supportive social networks can act as buffers against stress. The feeling of being connected to others can be a protective factor against depression. Among students, a sense of belonging to peers and teachers can positively affect academic performance and motivation. For some, belonging and attachment to co-workers is a better motivator than money. Belonging can also contribute to a meaningful life, since being a part of a group connotes being a part of something larger, something that expands beyond the boundaries of our own self, thus promoting a sense of  “lastingness” and “continuity” (Lambert et al, 2013, p. 6).
Recent neuroscience studies have revealed that the brain uses similar circuits to deal with our social pleasures and pains as with our more tangible delights and woes. For instance, the brain’s reward system has been shown to respond as strongly to social rewards (e.g. social recognition) as it does to money. On the other hand, when social ties come undone and connections are severed, the resulting social injuries may not only become sources of copious ill-effects, but may also affect our brains in similar ways as physical injuries would. Thus, as some neuroscientists have suggested, human beings could be wired to feel pain when we are bereft of social connection, just as evolution has wired us to feel pain when we are deprived of our basic needs (e.g. food, water and shelter).

Source: CC0/Pixabay

So what does it feel like, to belong?

“Belonging is like stepping up on a platform and feeling like you are fully supported,” says Naomi Hattaway. In 2013, having recently repatriated to the United States, Ms. Hattaway founded a group called I Am A Triangle to help others like her who, as a result of frequent intercultural relocations, were re-appraising what it really meant to belong. The community has now grown close to 12,000 members (with an online engagement rate of 67%), offering Ms. Hattaway a glimpse into the very mechanics of belonging. What is, then, one of the earliest signs of belonging?
“Vulnerability,” she says. “Seeing others be vulnerable and become encouraged to ask questions and share stories is almost like watching belonging take shape.”
Belonging also takes shape on the grounds of shared experiences. The members of I Am A Triangle, for instance, may be scattered around the world, but they are connected through their common appreciation of what it’s like to find the thread of belonging over and over again—a task that is often among the most heart-breaking and at times heart-building aftermaths of moving. After the hundredth goodbye, belonging (to somewhere, to someone) can become a complicated feat. A feat that feeds both on the urgent hunger to connect and the quiet dread of the inevitable farewell. Sometimes, it can feel like walking with one hand stretched out to the world—open, gentle, receptive—while the other hand is pressed against the heart—guarded and reserved—where the cut of the latest dis-attachment heals.

Perhaps that’s when social belonging can act as a psychological remedy. Research by Stanford psychologist Gregory Walton has revealed how even the smallest social belonging interventions can yield lasting positive effects on individuals. In his study, minority college freshmen, who read and internalized encouraging messages from more senior students about the common and temporary nature of transitional hardships of the first year in college, reported improved academic performance, health and well-being for the rest of their time in college. Thus, a boost in belonging can also serve as a “psychological lever” for times of social setbacks. The key, it appears, is to interpret events from a more non-threatening frame, since “the impact of adversity depends on its perceived meaning - how it is subjectively construed” (Walton & Cohen, 2011, p. 1450). For the students in Dr. Walton’s experiment, it meant not attributing the challenges of the first year in college to their “fixed deficits” and feelings of non-belonging, but rather, seeing these setbacks as “short-lived” and, importantly, “shared” (Walton & Cohen, 2011, p.1448).

Belonging, thus, offers "reassurance that we are not alone," says Ms. Hattaway. That it’s not just us, even at times of loneliness and isolation (whether as newcomers to a college, or a foreign country). That our stories are validated and that our experiences matter. But there is one thing that can make belonging even more meaningful. It, according to Ms. Hattaway, is finding a way to give back to others.

“We forget how it feels to be filled up by giving to somebody else,” she says. “When I drink a glass of water, I can feel it hydrating me on the inside. When you give a service to somebody else, it’s the same: it fills you up on the inside. We all have something to give to this world. If we don't show up with our hands open or willing to give a smile, we don't know who will cross our path who might need it.”

So, day after day, we fan the flames of belonging by nurturing our bonds. By finding solace in each other’s humanity—that someone else has walked through our pain and someone else has tasted our joy. We need others. For completing the patchwork of our identities, with our singular traits and those that we share with kindred and friends. For the safety they give us to pursue our goals. For the affect and meaning they breathe into our lives (“Meaningfulness comes from contributing to other people, whereas happiness comes from what they contribute to you,” writes psychologist Roy Baumeister). Sometimes, sitting across people who love us, with food on the table and laughter in the air, belonging is easy. Other times, when the warmth of home is a mere memory, a stranger’s kind smile will be the only promise that we are not alone. And then on other days, the best way to find belonging will be by letting others find belonging in us.

Many thanks to Naomi Hattaway for being generous with her time and insights. Naomi Hattaway is the founder of I Am A Triangle group. 

Allen, K. A., & Bowles, T. (2012). Belonging as a Guiding Principle in the Education of Adolescents. Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, 12, 108-119.
Anderman, L. H., & Freeman, T. M. (2004). Students’ sense of belonging in school. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 13, 27-63.
Aron, A. Aron, E. N., & Norman, C. (2001). Self-expansion model of motivation and cognition in close relationships and beyond. In Fletcher, G. J. O. & Clark, M. S. (eds.), Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Interpersonal processes (pp.478-501). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

The Philosophers Tale 'an interlude in time' Part 4

And so the people bowed and prayed to the Brexit God they Martyn stood outside the remnants of the FAN hall. He asked himself if that mornings events parody or pastiche? Were they Brechtian? Or indeed Beckian?

The answer came suddenly to him and he smiled . Then he laughed the attitude and philosophy of these far right groups were more Benny Hill. Their attitude to gender, sexuality and authority smelt and sounded so like a parody of the 1970s. This was more "On the busses" and "Love thy Neighbour" than anything else. Then he heard a faint tapping below a piece of masonry. Someoneone was tapping out "Tales from Topographic Ocean." Clearly Neil Wagstaff had sutvived Glancing over to another pile of masonry he saw the Gauleiter of Resolven Chris Von Edwards mumbling to himself a string if words " it was all Shrewsburys fault. Everything always was from Hiroshima to Holacaust. I'm a libertarian" ...the drivel wore on and on.

In another part of Swansea Chareles Wally Watkins returned to his researches. For Charles history was an essential project of facts. Interpretation was purely quantitative rather than qualative. His history betrayed his accountancy training. For him Whig history or Marxist history was a myth there was no appreciation that the writhing and writing of history was itself a product of the present rather than the past. His history was a series of the doings of great men. It was an account that resembled GCSE history an account of events mediated by the winners.
Surrounded in the train Graham Law thought quickly. Graham realised that Simpson and the Torfaen SA had little appreciation of irony. Borrowing a dog collar from a Vicar slumped into the corner of the carriage. He created a new prelate character. As Bishop Mallaghan stepped down from the train he began in medieval Latin to celebrate a high requeim for the departed soul of Elizabeth Saxe Coberg Gotta. In awe the boys of the Torfaen SA prostrated themselves in prayer and adoration to her memory. As they dreamed of a white right wing and masculine culture Graham escaped and headed towards a clump of Trees. The events continued to unfurl and the world moved on...
Anorher series of issues would be listened to and discussed . What would the events involve?
Sister Night began a new conjuration and elsewhere the Privy Council began to meet. Throughout the breaking tectonic plates of the British State events like these were paralleled with those of South Wales. A curious alignment was taking place as Roy turned on the television and Robert Miller slept on.

Martyn glanced around the smoking remnants of the hall as Chris Edwards muttered on. Dragging the masonry off of Wagstaff they loaded him into the Polaris wagon . Leaving the referee and the 'libertarian" to gently come to in their own time. The Polaris wagon turned back and headed towards the besieged vinyl shop in Torfaen .. a new phase in the struggle was about to begin...

The '60s culture


The 1960s Timeline

How It All Went Down

Oct 4, 1957

Sputnik Launches Space Race

The Soviet Union successfully launches Sputnik, an unmanned satellite, into space. Earlier American efforts to launch a similar satellite had failed.
Nov 8, 1960

JFK Wins Presidency

Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States. His margin of victory over Republican candidate Richard M. Nixon is just over 100,000 votes. Kennedy wins 300 Electoral College votes to Nixon’s 219.
Jan 20, 1961

Kennedy's Inaugural Address

John F. Kennedy is inaugurated President of the United States. In a memorable address, he urges Americans to "ask not what your country can do you—ask what you can do for your country."
Mar 1, 1961

Peace Corps

President John F. Kennedy issues an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. The Corps aims to disseminate good will and practical knowledge by enlisting volunteers, most under age 30, to two-year terms of service.
May 1961

Federal Protection for Freedom Riders

President John F. Kennedy orders U.S. Marshals to provide protection for “Freedom Riders” attempting to integrate interstate bus travel.
May 5, 1961

Minimum Wage Hike

President John F. Kennedy signs legislation raising the minimum wage in stages from its current $1 per hour to $1.25 per hour by September 1963.
May 25, 1961

Kennedy Proposes Moon Program

In a congressional address, President John F. Kennedy pledges to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
Jun 30, 1961

JFK Appoints Segregationist Judge

President John F. Kennedy appoints Judge William Harold Cox to the federal court. The appointment of Cox, a segregationist, angers civil rights advocates. According to some accounts, Kennedy appoints Cox in order to gain Senate Judiciary Chairman James Eastland’s support for Thurgood Marshall, an African American who Kennedy wanted to name to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Other America Published

Michael Harrington publishes the The Other America, a shocking exposé about poverty in the wealthiest nation in the world. President John Kennedy is among those influenced by the book; he and his successor, Lyndon Johnson, declare war on poverty and launch a decade-long political mission aimed at reducing unemployment, increasing federal support for schools and adult education, and expanding the network of government programs assisting the poor and elderly.
Apr 1962

U.S. Steel Crosses Kennedys

U.S. Steel announces that it's raising prices just weeks after President Kennedy convinced the steel workers union to temper its wage demands. Kennedy's anger with U.S. Steel is reported in the press and Attorney General Robert Kennedy adds further to business anxieties by convening a grand jury investigation of the steel giant. The stock market will fall in the following weeks, climaxing with a 6% drop on May 28th.
Sep 29, 1962

National Guard Desegregates Ole Miss

President John F. Kennedy orders federal troops and the federalized National Guard to the campus of the University of Mississippi to enforce the court-ordered admission of James Meredith, an African American. Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett had blocked implementation of the court order citing the states rights doctrine of interposition.
Dec 14, 1962

JFK Proposes Big Tax Cuts

In a speech before the Economic Club of New York, President John Kennedy unveils a plan for economic recovery that emphasizes large tax cuts and credits for businesses. One of his liberal economic advisors labels it the most “Republican speech since McKinley.”1 These proposals will become part of the Tax Reduction Act signed into law in 1964.
Nov 22, 1963

Kennedy Assassination

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson is sworn in as president the same day.
Jan 8, 1964

LBJ Declares War on Poverty

In President Lyndon Johnson’s first inaugural address, a little over a month after assuming the presidency, he declares war on poverty and outlines an ambitious domestic agenda aimed at reducing unemployment, increasing support for education and job training, and expanding public services for the poor.
Feb 26, 1964

Johnson Slashes Taxes

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Tax Reduction Act lowering income tax rates from a range of 20–91% to 14–70%. Corporate rates are reduced from 52% to 48%.
Aug 30, 1964

LBJ Signs Jobs Bill

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act, one of the centerpieces of his domestic agenda. In order to combat unemployment and poverty, the act allocates funds for job training, adult education, and loans to small businesses. VISTA, the Job Corps, and Head Start are also administered by the Office of Economic Opportunity.
May 22, 1964

Johnson Proclaims "Great Society"

In a speech at the University of Michigan, President Lyndon Johnson introduces the theme for his domestic agenda in stating that we must "set our course toward the Great Society."2
Jul 2, 1964

Civil Rights Act of 1964

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act outlaws discrimination in public facilities, such as parks, and in public accommodations, such as hotels and restaurants, and it prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, or gender.
Jul 9, 1964

Johnson Signs Transit Bill

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Urban Mass Transit Act allocating $375 million for the construction of urban transit systems.
Oct 1, 1964

Berkeley Free Speech Movement

Hundreds of students at the University of California, Berkeley spontaneously surround a police car as it attempts to remove a political activist for engaging in political advocacy on campus. Roughly 3,000 students will join the 32-hour protest marking the beginning of Berkeley's Free Speech Movement.
Nov 3, 1964

LBJ Trounces Goldwater in Election

Democratic incumbent Lyndon Johnson is elected President of the United States. He defeats Republican Barry Goldwater by the largest margin in American history. Johnson wins 61% of the popular vote and 486 of 538 Electoral College votes.
Dec 8, 1964

Cal Faculty Backs Free Speech Movement

The Faculty Senate of the University of California, Berkeley passes a resolution supporting the position maintained by the student leaders of the Free Speech Movement. The Senate urges the administration to acknowledge rights of student speech subject only to reasonable time and place restrictions.
Jan 3, 1965

Berkeley Administration Compromises with Free Speech Movement

The Administration of the University of California, Berkeley announces a new student speech policy that largely meets the demands of student protestors. An “open discussion area” is established on the steps of Sproul Hall, and student political organizations are permitted to staff tables at several locations on campus.
Jul 30, 1965

Creation of Medicare and Medicaid

President Lyndon Johnson signs the bill creating Medicare, a national health insurance program for the elderly. Companion legislation creates Medicaid, providing health care for people on welfare. Later, Medicaid will be broadened into a more comprehensive program financing health care for low-income persons.
Aug 6, 1965

Voting Rights Act of 1965

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The act abolishes literacy tests and other tests used by local and state governments to inhibit African-American voting.
Oct 20, 1965

Higher Education Act

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Higher Education Act creating the first federally funded college scholarships.
Sep 23, 1966

Minimum Wage Increase

The minimum wage is raised in stages from its current $1.25 per hour to $1.60 by February 1968.
Jan 30, 1969

Tet Offensive

North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launch a massive assault on South Vietnamese towns and American outposts on the Lunar New Year or Tet. American and South Vietnamese forces eventually repel the attack and recapture most territories lost. The Tet Offensive, however, reveals that the communist forces are still strong and, thus, American administration claims that the war is nearing conclusion are discredited.
Mar 31, 1968

Johnson Abandons Hope of Second Term

President Lyndon Johnson announces that he will not seek another term as President of the Untied States.
Apr 1, 1968

Housing Discrimination Ban

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Open Housing Act outlawing discrimination in the sale or rental of most privately-owned homes and apartments.
Apr 23, 1968

Protests at Columbia University

Students at Columbia University seize several campus buildings to protest the university’s involvement with the Institute for Defense Analysis—a Defense Department think tank—and university plans to build a gym on a park in a neighboring Black community. The protestors will be removed from the buildings on April 30th after a violent battle with the police.
Aug 1, 1968

Johnson Signs Low-Income Housing Bill

President Lyndon Johnson signs into law a housing act allocating more than $5 billion to meet the housing needs of low-income families. The bill finances the construction or renovation of 1.7 million units and provides subsidies for housing purchases and rentals.
Aug 26, 1968

Protests at Chicago DNC Convention

Thousands of protestors converge on the Democratic National Convention to protest the war in Vietnam. Violent confrontations between the protestors and police lead to thousands of arrests. Republican nominee Richard Nixon will take advantage of the disorder in Chicago in the upcoming presidential campaign and promise to restore law and order to America.
Nov 5, 1968

Nixon Wins Presidency

Republican candidate Richard Nixon is elected President of the United States. In defeating Democrat Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson's vice president, Nixon wins 43.4 % of the popular vote and 302 Electoral College votes. Humphrey receives 42.7% of the popular vote and 191 Electoral College votes. Former Alabama Governor George Wallace receives one Electoral College vote.

Man on the Moon

Astronaut Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon, fulfilling President John Kennedy’s pledge to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
Oct 1969

Curt Flood Sues Major League Baseball

St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Curt Flood is traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, prompting Flood to sue Major League Baseball. He argues that the reserve clause in players’ contracts, which binds them to a club for life, violates the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the nation’s antitrust laws.
Oct 8, 1969

Days of Rage

The Weathermen, a radical political organization growing out of the Students for a Democratic Society, launch the Days of Rage in Chicago. For three days, a few hundred protestors will smash storefronts and vandalize public and private property to demonstrate their willingness to employ violence in an attempt to end the war in Vietnam and fight perceived social injustices in America.
Mar 6, 1970

Weatherman Bomb Accident

Three members of the Weathermen, a radical political organization growing out of the Students for a Democratic Society, are killed when the bomb they are constructing in their Greenwich Village townhouse explodes.
May 21, 1970

Weather Underground Declares War Against "Amerikan Imperialism"

The Weathermen declare “a state of war” against “Amerikan imperialism” and pledge to use their “strategic position behind enemy lines to join forces in the destruction of the empire.”3
Dec 6, 1970

Weathermen Back Off Violence

The Weathermen, a radical political organization growing out of the Students for a Democratic Society, announce a new tactical direction in a communication labeled "New Morning–Changing Weather." Admitting that they had succumbed to the "military error" of believing that "only bombing and picking up the gun was revolutionary, with the glorification of the heavier the better," they urge activists to maintain faith in more traditional forms of protest and mass demonstration.
It was "time for the movement to go out into the air, to organize, to risk calling rallies and demonstrations, to convince that mass actions against the war and in support of rebellions do make a difference."4

Flood v. Kuhn

In Flood v. Kuhn, the United States Supreme Court rules that, due to baseball’s “unique place in our American heritage,” the nation’s antitrust laws do not apply. Curt Flood’s challenge to baseball’s reserve clause is rejected.



The '60s

Bell-bottoms and incense, long hair, free love and psychedelic rock—the 1960s are commonly reduced to a set of easy-to-replicate images, phrases, and styles.
Once branded as immoral, anarchistic, and revolutionary, the counterculture of the 1960s is now playfully imitated. Its sounds, styles, and slogans are the subject of high school spirit days and rally skits. No longer the harbinger of cultural meltdown, the '60s have become a party theme.

Lost, of course, in this transformation is any deeper understanding of what the counterculture represented. For those most deeply invested in the movement, the counterculture was more about philosophy than style. American society, these claimed, had been corrupted by capitalism and the materialist culture it spawned. In pursuing "success," people had lost sight of the more meaningful experiences life had to offer.
"Turn on, tune in, and drop out" was less an invitation to party than a call to experience life more intimately and deeply.

America's institutions were the targets of much of this cultural critique. Even those founded on lofty ideals, it was argued, had become props for a morally bankrupt society.
  • America's democratic government was corrupt—filled with dishonest, self-seeking politicians and corporate-serving lobbyists.
  • Churches were less spiritual oases than repositories of self-righteousness and social complacency.
  • Schools had long abandoned the more noble purposes of education. Instead, they merely churned out the technicians and middle managers needed by the corporate order.
  • And marriage had become little more than a loveless prison, demanded by social convention but wholly incompatible with the more expansive human potential for love—and sex.
Within this totally jaded society, the "individual" had little chance.
In fact, his only hope was to escape in some fashion, perhaps into the woods where a person could rediscover the fundamental truths that nature revealed, or into hallucinogenic drugs that pushed the mind past the limitations drilled into it by education and upbringing, or into a completely different lifestyle grounded on more humane and authentic values.

An American Tradition

These deeper philosophical aspects of the counterculture remind us that there was far more to it than clothes, hair, and music. But they also reveal that it wasn't particularly revolutionary. Most of its themes had surfaced much earlier in American history.

In the 1840s, transcendentalists retreated to Brook Farm to look for the truth in nature and pursue lives far removed from the materialism, meaningless work, and corrupted values of mainstream society.
Henry David Thoreau cultivated this ethic more privately and retreated to the woods outside Concord, Massachusetts, where he wrote the classic prescription for discovery of self and truth within nature. His observation that most "men live lives of quiet desperation" would aptly summarize the conclusions of cultural critics a century later.
And his following phrase would provide 1960s counterculturalists with a slogan for individual self-realization: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."45

In the 1850s, advocates of "free love" blasted the hypocrisy of contemporary marriage and urged people to give their emotional and sexual feelings free rein. Inspired by Charles Fourier's doctrine of "passional attraction" and Emanuel Swedenborg's idea of "conjugal love," these reformers argued that the passions were essentially good and ought to be indulged rather than denied. Both physical illness and psychic dissatisfaction stemmed from society's demand that our instincts be repressed.
The application of these ideas was far ranging, but the most notorious implication was that individuals were entitled, even obliged, to pursue their romantic and sexual passions to their natural ends. Divorce, polyandry, and polygamy were all possible and legitimate outcomes.
Mary Gove and Thomas Low Nichols became the most prominent spokespersons for this philosophy. When they married in 1848, they pledged neither perpetual commitment nor absolute fidelity. As Gove emphasized, even in marriage, "I resign no right of my soul." Therefore, the only fidelity that could be pledged was to "the deepest love of my heart." And should that love lead her to another, "I must go."46

50 years later, a loosely connected group of authors, artists, and architects undertook the elaboration of more authentic forms of expression—ones that broke free from the stuffy conventions and material complacency of Victorian culture. They celebrated "real experience" and urged people to rediscover the primal essences lying buried beneath Victorian politeness.
Victorian architecture was scorned as overly and soullessly ornate, and Victorian parlors were mocked as perfect expressions of a culture obsessed with material goods and physical comfort. Contemporary work, equated with the emerging legions of white-collar clerks, was described as emasculating and unfulfilling. As an alternative, these cultural critics celebrated the craftsman who worked with his hands, produced something real, and invested his entire being—his creative intellect, his physical labor, even his soul—into his work.

During the 1920s, a new batch of critics emerged to condemn the moral and cultural emptiness of American society. Sinclair Lewis mocked "Main Street" and lampooned the materialism and mania for success of America's Babbitts. H.L Mencken attacked the moral smugness and intellectual shallowness of the "booboisie," and a whole group of cultural critics fled to Europe where they claimed to find a less materialistic and intellectually sterile society.
Another group stayed at home and toured working-class and minority communities where they hoped to find more authentic expressions of the human spirit. Most famously, they frequented Harlem where they drank, smoked, and snorted their way to what they believed were more vital, less repressed, forms of existence.

This quest was interrupted by the Depression and World War II. But during the 1950s, another group of cultural critics resumed the search for self-realization and deeper experience in San Francisco's North Beach and New York's Greenwich Village. The Beats, much like Thoreau a century earlier, ignored politics and shunned social activism. Instead, they placed the highest value on personal fulfillment and developed theories of art that emphasized expression over communication. What was important was that artists explore and express themselves, not that audiences understand, be moved or influenced by a work.

Placed within this history, the counterculture of the 1960s appears less revolutionary than cyclical—part of a tradition of cultural criticism that periodically revives similar themes and pursues similar alternatives.
Still, there was something different about the 1960s. Earlier movements remained relatively small, esoteric expressions of a cultural elite. But the counterculture of the 1960s grew to be the dominant expression of an entire generation. In addition, at least its images and styles persisted much longer. A half century later, its music is still performed, its styles are still imitated, and its slogans still draw a cheer.

Measuring the Legacy of the 1960s Counterculture

But is there any depth to it all?

Some would argue that there isn't, that the very success of the counterculture was its undoing, and that the more broadly it was embraced, the more shallow it became. These folks might argue that the real legacy of the 1960s was the proof they provided of our consumer society's amazing ability to dilute and absorb even the most revolutionary cultural expressions. What might have begun as a philosophically deep and radically ambitious assault on the very bases of American society was turned into a set of consumable products: a style of dress, a type of haircut, and a collection of record albums.

There's plenty of evidence to support this argument. The "commodification" of the counterculture may have begun as early as 1968 when President Richard Nixon, leader of the "silent majority," went on the popular TV show Laugh-In and muttered, "Sock it to me." The most painful moment may have come when Bob Dylan, the countercultural poet, appeared in Las Vegas, the city known for material excess and the empty replication of history and art. More substantively, those arguing that the counterculture proved ultimately ineffectual might note that Wall Street is still Wall Street, and that American society is still riddled with inequities tied to race, class, and gender.
Others, however, might argue that there's plenty of evidence suggesting that the counterculture produced more and remains more than just a bundle of stereotyped images.

For starters, Americans are far more ecologically conscious than they were 50 years ago. Virtually everyone acknowledges the imperative of respecting and preserving our natural environment. The workplace has been transformed—flex-time, job-sharing, and e-commuting contrast sharply with the button-down corporate culture of the 1950s.
America's sexual ethic has undergone revolutionary change. In 1963, the use of contraceptives was illegal, and now, condoms are distributed at school. A 2008 Census report revealed that 6.4 million unmarried heterosexual couples live together, while in 1980, there were fewer than one million.47
Even attitudes toward drug use have softened. In 1975, President Gerald Ford's son Jack caused a public relations storm when he admitted using marijuana. And now, several states have legalized its use. In 2008, President Barack Obama, one of the more popular presidential candidates in American history, openly acknowledged using cocaine as a teenager.

In other words, while countercultural purists might lament the degradation of their movement, while their last act of rebellion might lie in condemning the corruption or commodification of the very culture they created, others would argue that the '60s are still very much with us.
The principles may be diluted, America's free market foundations may remain unshaken, but closer to home, profound changes have occurred in the way people work, think, and live.