A friend forwarded a piece (which I won’t link to) written by a “pissed-off liberal” about being flooded with emotional melt-down memories of ’60s nirvana days. “An earnestly felt if overwritten first paragraph,” I replied, “and then the piece devolves into the usual litany of cliches. No sober perspective, no ‘I can see clearly now’ assessments”…just a dreamy memory pool.
“No, it wasn’t that either…it was ’66 and half of ’67. That’s all it was.” — Lem Dobbs line from The Limey, as spoken by Peter Fonda.
Dobbs was saying that the ‘mid ’60s current was serene and cosmic and gentle and heavenly when the hippie thing first hatched in early ’66 (if you lived in really charmed circles the seeds were discernible in ’65) but it got worse and worse as it spread out from the charmed realms and elite circles (musicians, academics, writers, poets, adventurers) and filtered down into the broader social realm. The spiritual elan and property values began to fall and fall along with the hygiene levels.
“Spare change, man?”
You didn’t have to drop acid to realize that we’re all intertwined and vulnerable, so delicate and ethereal and humming the same ohhm, sharing the same pulse…everything and everyone in ways that defy strenuous attempts to explain. And all you have to do is let it in. Or not. But it’s there either way.
In 1976 a 34 year-old Brian Wilson (who, it has to be said, was a little more mentally spry back then) was asked about psychedelic drugs during an interview with Mike Douglas, and he said that “a lot of hippies said the great messiah was supposed to return in the ’60s, but it came in the form of drugs…I agree there’s a certain amount to be said for that.”
I began my time on this planet feeling very angry at God for giving me such a miserable life in suburban New Jersey and especially for giving me such strict, hard-nosed parents, particularly a mother who made me go to church every damn Sunday. Then in my teens I went through a period of mocking and taunting Him. Then I dropped acid in my early 20s under controlled, meditative circumstances, and came to embrace and worship a Hindu version of his Altogetherness….all that mystical light and harmony stuff. Which is absolutely real and eternal.
Then I came to a realization that God is, depending on how lucky or unlucky you are in terms of good genes, parental and tribal lineage and birth location, at best impartial about whether you’re living a happy or miserable life.
Then again God does give you the freedom to become someone like Trump or David Bowie or whomever. If you want happiness and you’re not living under a horrible dictatorship, orchestrate your own version of it without making things worse for others.
God doesn’t care at all. Really. He’ll shine bright sun, love you, nourish your land with rain and rich minerals, make you rich or poor, drown you, plague you, abuse you, Holocaust you, rape your cities, cut off your head…anything that any earth-residing monster dreams up and wants to do, God will go along with.
As Al Pacino/Tony Gilroy once said, “He’s an absentee landlord.” And you can bet Donald Trump is cool with that.