The weight of a petal has changed the face of the world and made it ours. Loren Eiseley.
The “Hippies” or “Flower Children” had legitimate concerns about the spiritually corrupting influence of material worship. “Wheels,” for them, were often a cheap form of transportation. They could also be, however, a sarcastic visual counter-culture protest against what they perceived as the ludicrous practice of equating a man’s worth with the price of the car he owned. They were heavily into Carnival, not so much into Work or Prayer. They exulted in the aphorism; “Free drugs—Free sex and Free rock and roll”. Many experienced the horror of their parent’s divorce and vowed to avoid the trap by not getting married.
Unfortunately, as Auden pointed out, the over-emphasis of Carnival, at the expense of Work and Prayer, proved to be disastrous.
The motto of the age was; If I do my thing and you do thing everything will be cool.” Poet Walter Tubbs wrote a rejoinder
If I just do my thing and you do yours
We stand in danger of losing each other and ourselves.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations;
but I am in this world to confirm you
as a unique human being,
And to be confirmed by you.
We are fully ourselves only in relation to each other;
The “I” detached from a “Thou” disintegrates.
I do not find you by Chance;
I find you by an active life of reaching out.
Rather than passively letting things happen to me,
I can act intentionally to make them happen.
I must begin with myself, true;
but I must not end with myself;
the truth begins with two.
St. Helena High School had about 500 students which meant that most of them knew each other. With all the rumors, misinformation, even distortions, it was a wonder that anyone signed up for the Biodesign Class. I had many labels; “Father Young,” “frustrated preacher,” pseudo-philosopher, nut-case, Guru, happy hugger and some unmentionables. The problem was understandable. Although the kids belonged to a class, the Biodesign experience was ultimately a personal journey with no two experiences the same. It was always a mystery as to what students would “reach out” and grab what I hoped would be a shiny brass ring on the carousel of life.
Sadly, I have met with dozens of ex-Biodesigners who searched (unsuccessfully) for a college or university class that would have extended their wilderness education.
Even worse, I have met with students (now adults) who have lamented that they know that they are “missing something,” but have no clue as to where to “find it.” I doubt the efficacy of advice in the self-discovery process regarding the art (or science) of personhood, however, I can confidently assert that using Auden’s triad of, Work, Prayer and Carnival, as an educational model, transformed lives. I know this because I experienced it, often on a daily basis.