Eulogy to the Seventies

By Anniese Worth Giuntini

You came very quietly…on the wake of flower-powered dreams…we hardly noticed…so exhausted were we from the razzmatazz of the pass eclectic “anything goes” decade. 


You came very quietly, swaying gently with prayer beads and mantras…”sit downs” and “stand ins” at all the major yokel vocal city squares…you catapulted us out of the swinging metallic space age glam glam psychedelic…seedy…buzzing “burn the institution” 60’s into a gentler rhythm…


And we who were beginning to see…turned on at last to a more transcendent view of the human dilemma…


Phenomena of every kind were brought out into the clear light of day and…looked at…talked about…played with…and altogether given credence…


Those early years saw us racing back to nature with a vengeance…sensing an urgency in the air…in our hearts and minds…a wish to plunge ourselves into wholesomeness…hands in the soil…we felt a burning need to recapture our purity…we were appalled by our city jaded complexions…our inert posturing of manipulation and contrivance…making our vows of abstinence and self-discipline, we jogged and swam…prayed and ran…seeking new frontiers…new definitions of self…free of definitive…seeking a cleaner breath in our young pastoral dreams of rural self-sufficiency.


We were angry and indignant at our past testimonies of ignorance…in squandered energy resources…pollution…and dying species, as we beheld our beloved earth from a different perspective…a small precious jewel of miraculous interrelated biospheric dependency…we made then…a belated covenant…to cherish her…


And as we spun our yarn…built our A-frames…om mani padmi hummed…baked our wholewheat bread…turned to the East…astral travelled…raised our children on sugarless diets…talked of God…Christ…Buddha…Krishna…purpose…and aspiration…without embarrassment, we felt…in your quiet swaying incense perfumed presence…the license to at last expose our divinity…our simplicity…our ardour for wakefulness…


Lifestyles changed radically as we dropped out…laid back…tuned in, turned off…no longer rebelling against the old straight and predictably narrow path…we created a new milieu that fostered our orphaned creativity and growth…nurturing the refinement of our long overlooked sensitivities with a refreshing West Coast hedonism…we o.d.’d joyously on our new-found appetites…to change everything…within easy reach…free at last from millennia old crusading fervour to change the world…we humbly worked on ourselves…humming our way effortlessly through “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment”…happily birthing the great new emerging growth movement…protégé of the 70’s…


Then suddenly commensurate with the ants…we turned out sights to collaborative collusions…in collective…co-operative…co-existent community living! We locked in our thousands…to brotherhoods…and sisterhoods of the spirit…seeking to claim our roots…our part of a wholeness…aboriginal soul intent inspired us to burn our bridges…forsake our safe secure havens within the social systems that we had half-heartedly…broken-heartedly attempted to regenerate… we returned…joyously to the clan…spiritual homecomings to the tribe…the family…we came…human ants…to build a new sense of connectedness…


And as you breathed a compassionate sigh for our naïve attempts to discover our paths…there fell about our ears defamations…from the pundits of our misunderstood motives…cop-outs…cranks…escapists…idealists…fools…rang in our ears…as we left our mates…our schools…jobs…fathers, mothers, countries…the old…tried and true…methods of self-abnegation…yet even in those bitter hours of leave-taking…there was no doubt in our hearts…that you were at the helm…blowing us relentlessly toward irrevocable beginnings…


You breathed new life into us…new vision…replacing our desolate symbols of pop art…sterile futurism…post mortem nihilism…with warm symbols of relatedness…a return to authenticity…aliveness…


A new image of super deluxe male…female androgynes emerged in our literature…our media…our glossy magazines…as desirable…marketable products…well-versed in open marriage…and unisex clothing…go-getting first world culture…candid innovators of get set…jet set…press the recline button…life styles…centred in natural foods…yoga…meditation and the joys of sex…cosmic lotus eaters…feeding our pre-conditioned palates…with exotic fantasy foods…  


And as our folk heroes became increasingly heroic…inspired and pleased at attaining levels of technologically improved excellence…we blissed out with headsets…quadrophonic sounds…we joined in the new orgy of sensorial participation…multi-media pageants of rock operas…space odysseys…theatrical requiems…awaking us to the prodigy of our time…and walking home…under the moon…whistling Star Wars…engrossed in future fantasies made real by spectacular screen-play…we close-encountered a new artistry in seeing our inner depths on screen and billboard…the real and the superficial…the collective stream of consciousness was unzipping its fly…the media had grown wings…and clumsily…awkwardly…a modern-day dodo…we watched it take its first faltering flight toward global inter-communication.


The planet shrank as our airways became sky trains…frontiers diminished as planetary citizenship reached out in an expansive handshake…differences diminished as spirit came forth to congratulate itself for being recognised by all who could see…


Yes…you came quietly, swaying on the winds of change…bringing us to a threshold where we stand poised…as we witness the birth tremors of a world in labour…a world that knows fear…fear of scarcity…fear of a technology that threatens to replace human skill and artistry with silicon chops…fear of a science that has the power to replace everything…the power to pry into life’s holy genetic secrets…to create a new species of laboratory-conceived humanity…forsaking the womb…(the ultimate in patriarchal achievement). A world that knows the reality of war…of terrorism…a world that knows fear of…plutonium…radiation…starvation…annihilation…


We witness the human race standing in its own shadow…and as we assume responsibility…and a willingness to face the light of self-knowledge…fear evaporates…and purified of despair…knowing now that only optimism and expectancy can win through…we know at last…the privilege of being co-creators…with God…


You have brought us a long way to our arrival at the beginning…and looking about us we may recognize it for the first time…and in so doing…you charge us to put aside our formulas…our doctrine of indebtedness to life…to lay down our techniques for change and growth…to discard the significance we attach to self…ideals…vison…world…and forsaking our obsessions to be good…to be servers…to be anything…we acknowledge simply…that we are…and we stand…or kneel…naked…knowing that nothing is new…under the sun…you have reminded us that it’s all been said…it’s all been done…our only course of action…is to act…accoriding to our course…flowing from our source…trusting in the force…


We salute you…magnificent 70’s…may the force…be with us.


December, 1979.


counter culture, community, rebel culture