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Is it Time for Hippie Modernism Again?
Turn on, tune in, drop out, but read on about how Hippies and Hippie Modernism might rise again.
Before Hipsters, there were Hippies. Whereas Hipsters in our age live a gentrifying, alternative lifestyle, Hippies dug into a whole counterculture of rebellion in search of a utopian “Age of Aquarius.” A new exhibition at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, titled Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia revisits the search of the ‘60s and asks if it has any meaning for 2015 and beyond. In an era where Whole Foods replaces Whole Earth, can we make the ideals of the Hippie generation sing again and “let the sunshine in”?
What exactly is “hippie modernism”? Andrew Blauvelt, the exhibition curator, explains in his preface to the catalog: “Hippie modernism marks the tension between the modern characterized as universal, timeless, rational, and progressive, and its countercultural other, which adopts a more local, timely, emotive and often irreverent, and radical disposition.” In other words, hippie modernism takes modernism’s composed futurist hope and applies it to the present, losing none of those dreams while passionately thumbing its nose at the establishment status quo. Blauvelt sees the late 1960s as “a momentary reconciliation of these seemingly opposed values as a way of resolving the impasse that faced postwar cultural modernity.” Unfortunately, that “reconciliation” of the hippie years ran into the conservatism of the post-Watergate 1970s and Reaganite 1980s. Fortunately, however, that hippie modernist reconciliation might rise again today.
Blauvelt arranges the show along the lines of ‘60s guru Timothy Leary’s famous directive to “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.” It’s as good as any start for the dizzying assemblage of experimental furniture, alternative living structures, immersive environments, media installations, alternative magazines, experimental books, printed ephemera, and archival films. In Turn On, Hippie Modernism hopes to blow your mind by examining the hippie fascination with expanding individual consciousness and the struggle to visualize it in images such as Ira Cohen’s 1968 photograph of Jimi Hendrix taken in a mylar chamber to distort and bend reality like a drug trip.
Once you’re “experienced,” you move on to Tune In, which tackles the social consciousness of the hippie movement in the face of global war and pollution. In the final section, Drop Out, Blauvelt examines how hippies “dropped out” of mainstream society to form their own social structures that blurred boundaries between art and life, specifically the politics ruling over their lives. Starting with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters’ 1964 cross-country acid trip (that got things going) and ending with the 1973-1974 OPEC oil crisis (that stopped the long, strange trip of Western progress), Hippie Modernism packs a lot of ideas into a small window, like the time period itself.
Although hippie modernism’s most striking form — psychedelic art — has won attention from its beginnings, it hasn’t always won respect. Blauvelt counters that “psychedelia follows Impressionism, not chronologically but philosophically, as the artist depicts an altered sense of reality and the objects and spaces within it.” If Impressionism belongs at the beginning of modern art, then ‘60s-style psychedelia belongs right beside it. With that in mind, much of the puzzling art of the period snaps into conception clarity. For example, Haus-Rucker-Co’s Environment Transformer/Flyhead Helmet (shown above), one of the many bubble-related (sometimes inflatable) designs of theirs, transforms from an elaborate joke into a symbol of a new way of seeing. Esther Choi sees these bubbles as “a more nuanced and pliant framework for resistance” in keeping with the peace and love times and the hoped-for “Pneu world.” “Operating like a meme,” Choi argues, “the inflatable’s elastic configuration could absorb a range of intents, associations, and purposes evolving and self-replicating virally across genres, periods, and geographies.” Inside the bubble of hippie modernism, the whole world could unite as one.
For many, hippie imagery consists mainly of the trippy concert posters crammed to the borders with text and symbolic imagery. In their essay “Agency and Urgency: The Medium and Its Message,” Lorraine Wild and David Karwan argue for a method behind that hippie madness. They see hippie modernism’s graphic design as content-driven into content-overdrive and “focused primarily on the urgency of their communication (and not, for the most part, on contemporary professional graphic design).” Underground graphic artists shunned by the “professionals” found themselves with too much to say in too little room and broke all the rules in the name of message. (The exhibition catalog designers copied this aesthetic in their choice of font, paper, etc., to convey its jam-packed messages.) Corita Kent’s yellow submarine (shown above) belongs to this order. Kent, a Catholic nun, took the Beatles’ song and turned it into an “infographic” of love full of text that makes you scurry visually about the page. “The revolution could not be boiled down to a corporate-style logo or a simplified presentation,” Wild and Karwan conclude. “The ideas were multivalent, hypothetical, experimental, and the visual ‘argument’ of underground graphics signifies all that tumult.”
Much of the 1960s debates raged over freedom, usually individual freedoms versus the “freedom” of the free market. As Craig J. Peariso points out, Hippies saw freedom as “something like an ethos” rather than a commodity that could be traded or, dangerously, assimilated. A theater group calling itself the “Diggers” staged “The Death of Hippie” when they felt the idea of the hippie had become too mainstream and just another pose of mass culture marketing. Another theater group, The Cockettes (shown above), took those freedoms even further, asserting the freedom of sexual orientation. The Cockettes “unapologetic amateurism, their emphasis on fun over profit, and their persistent rejection of the boundaries of normative genders and sexualities made them seem like the perfect distillation of the various countercultural forces and ideas that had come together in the Bay Area at the end of the 1960s,” Peariso writes. If one image captures hippie modernism at its purest, The Cockettes might be it.
But can we recover that fun, hopeful, boundary-busting hippie modernism today? When Sheila Levrant de Bretteville made Women in Design: The Next Decade (shown above) in 1975, she probably envisioned greater progress four decades later. Perhaps the greatest attribute of hippie modernism, and the one we need most now, is the hippie power of imagination, of thinking of the unthought. Felicity D. Scott points out that some of the earliest computer visionaries of the 1970s were the longhair hippies fighting to wrest control of early computer technology from the military-industrial complex to put it into the hands of the people.
“Countercultural engagements with computer research and communications media during the early 1970s were often motivated by a utopian faith that science and technology heralded a better and more united world,” Scott writes. Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia holds that we can find that faith once again. Social media can once again be more “social” than “media,” in the spirit of GlobalCitizen.org and like-minded, “hippie” movements. Hippie Modernism strikes you with stunning utopian images of the past, but should also inspire you to dream up your own utopias for the present. “That such radical social change did not come to pass at that time does not equate to ultimate failure or an affirmation of the neoconservative backlash that followed,” Blauvelt writes in defense of the often belittled hippie, “anymore than winning a battle constitutes winning the war.” Hippie Modernism calls us to pick up the hippie “freak” flag and let it fly once more.
A new study finds that dogs fed fresh human-grade food don't need to eat—or do their business—as much.
- Most dogs eat a diet that's primarily kibble.
- When fed a fresh-food diet, however, they don't need to consume as much.
- Dogs on fresh-food diets have healthier gut biomes.
Four diets were tested<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU5ODI1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjY0NjIxMn0._w0k-qFOC86AqmtPHJBK_i-9F5oVyVYsYtUrdvfUxWQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="1b1e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="87937436a81c700a8ab3b1d763354843" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: AntonioDiaz/Adobe Stock<p>The researchers tested refrigerated and fresh human-grade foods against kibble, the food most dogs live on. The <a href="https://frontierpets.com.au/blogs/news/how-kibble-or-dry-dog-food-is-made" target="_blank">ingredients</a> of kibble are mashed into a dough and then extruded, forced through a die of some kind into the desired shape — think a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_extrusion" target="_blank">pasta maker</a>. The resulting pellets are sprayed with additional flavor and color.</p><p>For four weeks, researchers fed 12 beagles one of four diets:</p><ol><li>a extruded diet — Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe</li><li>a fresh refrigerated diet — Freshpet Roasted Meals Tender Chicken Recipe</li><li>a fresh diet — JustFoodforDogs Beef & Russet Potato Recipe</li><li>another fresh diet — JustFoodforDogs Chicken & White Rice Recipe.</li></ol><p>The two fresh diets contained minimally processed beef, chicken, broccoli, rice, carrots, and various food chunks in a canine casserole of sorts. </p><p>(One can't help but think how hard it would be to get finicky cats to test new diets. As if.)</p><p>Senior author <a href="https://ansc.illinois.edu/directory/ksswanso" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Kelly S. Swanson</a> of U of I's Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences, was a bit surprised at how much better dogs did on people food than even refrigerated dog chow. "Based on past research we've conducted I'm not surprised with the results when feeding human-grade compared to an extruded dry diet," he <a href="https://aces.illinois.edu/news/feed-fido-fresh-human-grade-dog-food-scoop-less-poop" target="_blank">says</a>, adding, "However, I did not expect to see how well the human-grade fresh food performed, even compared to a fresh commercial processed brand."</p>
Tracking the effect of each diet<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU5ODI1OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3NjY1NTgyOX0.AdyMb8OEcjCD6iWYnXjToDmcnjfTSn-0-dfG96SIpUA/img.jpg?width=980" id="da892" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="880d952420679aeccd1eaf32b5339810" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: Patryk Kosmider/Adobe Stock<p>The researchers tracked the dogs' weights and analyzed the microbiota in their fecal matter.</p><p>It turned out that the dogs on kibble had to eat more to maintain their body weight. This resulted in their producing 1.5 to 2.9 times the amount of poop produced by dogs on the fresh diets.</p><p>Says Swanson, "This is consistent with a 2019 National Institute of Health study in humans that found people eating a fresh whole food diet consumed on average 500 less calories per day, and reported being more satisfied, than people eating a more processed diet."</p><p>Maybe even more interesting was the effect of fresh food on the gut biome. Though there remains much we don't yet know about microbiota, it was nonetheless the case that the microbial communities found in fresh-food poo was different.</p><p>"Because a healthy gut means a healthy mutt," says Swanson, "fecal microbial and metabolite profiles are important readouts of diet assessment. As we have shown in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jas/article/92/9/3781/4702209#110855647" target="_blank">previous studies</a>, the fecal microbial communities of healthy dogs fed fresh diets were different than those fed kibble. These unique microbial profiles were likely due to differences in diet processing, ingredient source, and the concentration and type of dietary fibers, proteins, and fats that are known to influence what is digested by the dog and what reaches the colon for fermentation."</p>
How did kibble take over canine diets?<p>Historically, dogs ate scraps left over by humans. It has only been <a href="https://www.thefarmersdog.com/digest/the-history-of-commercial-pet-food-a-great-american-marketing-story/" target="_blank">since 1870</a>, with the arrival of the luxe Spratt's Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes—made from "the dried unsalted gelatinous parts of Prairie Beef", mmm—that commercial dog food began to take hold. Dog bone-shaped biscuits first appeared in 1907. Ken-L Ration dates from 1922. Kibble was first extruded in 1956. Pet food had become a great way to turn <a href="https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/animal-by-products/" target="_blank">human-food waste</a> into profit.</p><p>Commercial dog food became the norm for most household canines only after a massive marketing campaign led by a group of dog-food industry lobbyists called the Pet Food Institute in 1964. Over time, for most households, dog food was what dogs ate — what else? Human food? These days more than half of U.S. dogs are <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/magazine/who-made-that-dog-biscuit.html" target="_blank">overweight or obese</a>, and certainly their diet is a factor.<span></span></p><p>We're not so special among animals after all. If something's healthy for us to eat—we're <em>not</em> looking at you, chocolate—maybe we should remember to share with our canine compatriots. Not from the table, though.</p>
New study suggests the placebo effect can be as powerful as microdosing LSD.
- New research from Imperial College London investigated the psychological effects of microdosing LSD in 191 volunteers.
- While microdosers experienced beneficial mental health effects, the placebo group performed statistically similar to those who took LSD.
- Researchers believe the expectation of a trip could produce some of the same sensations as actually ingesting psychedelics.
Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="92360c805fe66c11de38a75b0967f417"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5T0LmbWROKY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>For the study published in eLife, the team recruited 191 citizen cosmonauts to microdose either LSD or a placebo over the course of several weeks and note the psychological effects. Volunteers were already microdosing LSD, so there was no true control. Each volunteer was given instructions on creating their own low-dose gel capsules, some containing LSD, others not. Then they mixed the capsules in envelopes so they didn't know if they were taking the real thing or not.</p><p>The trial design was ingenious: each capsule featured a QR code that was scanned after the addition of ingredients but before they were placed in the envelope so that researchers knew what they were ingesting.</p><p>The problem: volunteers sourced their own LSD. Lack of quality control could have had a profound effect on the results. </p><p>The results: LSD microdosers reported feeling more mindful, satisfied with life, and better overall; they also noticed a reduction in feelings of paranoia. </p><p>The catch: the control group felt the same thing, with no statistical difference between the groups. </p><p>Lead author Balázs Szigeti comments on the findings: "This suggests that the improvements may not be due to the pharmacological action of the drug but can instead be explained by the placebo effect." </p>
Credit: Alexander / Adobe Stock<p>Psychedelics are notoriously difficult to control for given the intensity of the experience. Yet there is precedent for the above findings. A <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-020-05464-5" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that 61 percent of volunteers that took a placebo instead of psilocybin felt some psychedelic effects, with a few volunteers experiencing full-on trips.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Several stated that they saw the paintings on the walls 'move' or 'reshape' themselves, others felt 'heavy. . . as if gravity [had] a stronger hold', and one had a 'come down' before another 'wave' hit her."</p><p>The Imperial team believes the expectation of a trip might have been enough to produce similar results. Senior author David Erritzoe is excited for future studies on the topic, believing they tapped into a new wave of citizen science that could push forward our knowledge of psychedelic substances.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Accounting for the placebo effect is important when assessing trends such as the use of cannabidiol oils, fad diets or supplements where social pressure or users' expectations can lead to a strong placebo response. Self-blinding citizen science initiatives could be used as an inexpensive, initial screening tool before launching expensive clinical studies."</p><p>As investments into the psychedelics market explode, with one company <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-03/thiel-backed-magic-mushroom-firm-atai-hits-2-billion-valuation" target="_blank">reaching a $2 billion valuation</a>, a recurring irony appears in the long arc of psychedelics and research: the power of our minds might be enough to feel greater life satisfaction and a deeper sense of mindfulness. If that's possible with a placebo, we have to question why the rush to create more pharmacology is necessary. </p><p>This is, mind you, a separate conversation over the role of psychedelics and rituals for group bonding. The function of group cohesion around consciousness-altering substances will continue to play an important role in many communities. </p><p>Of course, we should continue to explore the efficacy of psychedelics on anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, PTSD, and addiction. <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/antidepressant-effects" target="_self">Pharmacological dependence</a> is a stain on the psychiatry industry. Whether or not psychedelics can be prescribed for daily use remains to be seen, but we know a moneyed interest is expecting a return on investment—the above company, ATAI Life Sciences, raised $157 million in its Series D round. </p><p>When it comes to wellbeing, some things money just can't buy. How we navigate the tricky terrain of mainstreaming psychedelics remains to be seen. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
What makes some people more likely to shiver than others?
Some people just aren't bothered by the cold, no matter how low the temperature dips. And the reason for this may be in a person's genes.