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What is a “Modern Flower Child?”

What the heck is a modern flower child? Well, we gather here today to answer that burning (man) question. For the record, I have never been to the Burning Man Festival. It seems a bit too wild and unsafe for my tastes. I like a little bit of structure/organization, and this event appears, from my rudimentary research, to discourage that. 

What Does “What Is?” Mean?

Describing and detailing the parameters of an identity, community, or social group can strip its powers. Putting those “I Am/We Are…” statements into practice almost marks the end of the honeymoon phase. The same goes for one’s appetite and dietary preferences.

As a child, I adored cherries. Pepperoni was my favorite meat before realizing that that category of “food” was not for me. As a passionate plant-based pusher, I now laud the former choice and loathe my consumption of the latter. Tweenhood taste bud changes took cherries off the menu, but late teenhood brought them back in excess.* In a nutshell, I used to love cherries, then hated them, then welcomed them home. I used to love pepperoni but forbade it from my gullet forever, not out of taste (though now the thought of eating sliced animal innards is repulsing,) but for the respect of another. Therefore, both parts of my past self have changed from “a cherry-hating omnivore” to “a cherry-smashing vegan.” I held both of those truths so closely at one time, and then they switched. I can see with the near certainty of a seer that I will never revert, but in the past, change never occurred to me.

Short story long, you adapt. You evolve. You may even devolve and then jump four squares ahead of the game. But you WILL settle. Little in life is linear.

*Read about the power of, and my love for, cherries, in this recipe/nutrition post.

First, what is a flower child in the first place?

Ignore Webster. He doesn’t know shnickerdoodles about us.  The word was clearly defined during its prime. But no one needed to say it; it was lived. It needed no introduction, no explanation, and no excuse. Flower children were golden until things went dark for everyone.

Historically (blah, that word evokes countless eye rolls,) flower children were associated with “free” everything: freedom from societal expectations, freedom of expression, free love, generosity, a welcoming community, total social liberation, herbal healthcare, and, well, flowers. Plus bright colors, incense, and floral decor. “Flower Child” sounds more innocent than “hippie,” often omitting connotations of poor hygiene, stoner mentality, nudist colonies, and Charles Manson. An etic surveyor may lump ALL of the above traits into the category of hippie culture but, while summarily correct, this ignores the reasoning behind such distinctions. But that’s a nit-picky discussion for another day. Or never, whichever comes first. See? Even hippies struggle to see the positive, and it’s good to be able to remove thy rose-colored glasses when scrutiny proves necessary.

Okay, so what the fiddlestick is a modern flower child?

Modern usually implies a remake of something old; a building upon the foundation. This occurs within religions, various societal institutions (medicine, finances, entertainment,) and, broadly, generations. Let’s clear this up: Flower Childhood is not a religion or a cult, and it does not have to be a communist belief system, either. A modern flower child has worked out some of the 60s kinks. We know not to be as “in your face,” not as anti-aid (by that, I mean establishments, not the disease,) and, although it may seem contradictory and impossible, less political. Touchy topics include the Sexual Revolution, the Boom of the Shroom, and, while it is hard to believe, the introduction of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Some essential “tenets” of hippie-ism included going with the flow and fighting the conservative status quo. But even rivers slow down. We cannot be magnets constantly picking up new ideas, getting stronger and more radical with every step. In essence, the modern flower child preserves higher properties of the hippie cultural iceberg. Go ham on the hemp hearts, don a dress of daffodils, and stick daisies in your dreadlocks. Keep your judgments to yourself, share your smile, and get out of the go-go-go mindset. The best protest is living a non-intrusive life and harm-reductionist lifestyle.

As my mother said: “Be a groovy person who eats plants and loves animals. That means humans, too.”

Here’s your challenge: In the comments, write a 1-sentence definition of “modern flower child.” Go on. I’m curious!

In 2024, I’ll touch on the musical monuments of this movement, as well as focus on less factory-formed ingredients.

Unlike bills, bad energy, or virginity, I see no benefit to losing your Flower Childhood. Keep that piece, reap that peace.

Thanks for reading this far. Cheers to meeting you here again!


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