Monday, September 9, 2013

The Age of Aquarius

I was just watching a DVD of the old Smother's Brothers Show from 1967-69 (yes, good old Netflix). They had the West Coast Cast of the Musical "Hair" on. They sang "The Age of Aquarius".  In listening to them perform, I found myself drifting back to those times. I watched the Smother's Brothers show and loved it as a kid. So, this drew my mind back to those times, to the "Age of Aquarius" as we knew it back then. It brought back to me a sense of wonder. Forced me to compare then, and now.

That was a time of opening minds, of new possibilities. Of things being served to the public we had never known of before on a silver platter. Of Vietnam and the war there. Of despair, and boredom in our society and in our way of life. And then this "Age of Aquarius" hit and suddenly we were aware of new ideas, new thoughts, new possibilities. Of Hope. Hope in the possibility of forces outside of our daily lives giving more meaning to what we went through than what we were experiencing at the time.

The boredom and doldrums of the 1950s were then behind us, the early 60s were even behind us and there was hope that we could as a people, win out over the "Cold War", the "M.A.D. (Mutual Assured Destruction) nuclear arms destruction fears, our favored leaders being murdered, the binding chains of our history in finally making African Americans equal to all others, and experiencing the freedom of being able to take life on, on one's own terms. To make of life what we wanted of it and not just do what was expected of us.

To create, invent, explore what was out there and marvel at the unknown.

Lorraine Schneider poster
Watching the show reminded me of what it was about, that whole "hippie" movement, the"Love Generation". Slogans like "Make love, not war", and "War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things" a poster originally done by Lorraine Schneider.

It reminded me of that feeling of possibility, of hope, of faith, and how fulfilling it was to feel such things. To feel that hope and have a belief that somehow, out there, there was something protecting us greater than ourselves. and not just a "God" of religions. Or the concept that, if we could just figure it out, whatever it was, we could use it to protect us. That there was something outside of our Lives, Religions, our Leaders who had led us into war, or those authorities around the world who weren't making such a great world for us and in some cases, were building a nightmare for other humans under their charge, and the enemies of those people, who really weren't their enemies at all and in some cases, were us through some misunderstanding related to culture, ideology or geography, where we were all supposed to hate one another. Why?

I was shocked many years later to hear a Soviet citizen being interviewed on their streets saying that she was fearful of Americans. They were fearful of us? Because she said, with almost tears of fear in her eyes, that we Americans were the only nation in the history of the world who had dropped not only one but two atomic bombs on a civilian population of another country. Years after that I was again surprised to hear yet another Soviet citizen say that they actually liked American people whom they had met.

So they weren't the evil Communists after all, that we had for decades been led to believe they were. And though we were scared of them, they honestly had far more reason to be afraid of us, than we should have been of them.

It makes you think.

Watching the Smother's Brothers show brought all this back up again. To realize those 1960s feelings of hope, excitement at the possibilities in life, of wonder at the opening up of the universe to us, and to our minds. We need to remember that hope though it is something that we seldom get in life.

We find it in Science Fiction. Sometimes, in human interest stories. But not much anymore like we did in the 60s. That was a time of unique experiences that shimmered out into the culture as more and more people experienced things like transcendental meditation, smoking pot, "dropping acid", alternate ways of thinking outside the box, and so on. I'm not advocating drug usage, I'm advocating thinking, thinking in new ways, thinking in ways that push us upward and onward.

Those feelings of hope and adventure back then were palpable and real. Hope was giving us a chance to make things new and different. Now we just seem to have new, new technologies mostly. It gave us faith back then, if not so much faith in religion and God, in ourselves. Religious or not, that is always the first step. Whether God made us or not, or exists or not, we were put here to achieve and to rely on our "God given" talents, to make our way, to take care of others, to build on what we have, and to appreciate what we have achieved. If offering that up to God was how appreciating it was supposed to be, then you simply did that.

But more and more what we saw were people who were self-actualizing and when they did that they began to realize, that it was them who had made the differences in life. All the prayers and proffering they had been told all their lives were the way and the salvation, it finally became obvious... something was wrong. We began to question if what we had been told all our lives, were true. Or if someone had been sorely mistaken. Maybe, all of us.

The 60s were the "Age of Aquarius" and it could be now, again. Maybe it would be called something else now as after all, time has passed.

According to Astrology Zone (yeah, yeah I know but don't fade on me now, check this out):

"The age before the Age of Aquarius was the Age of Pisces. Since the earth is moving in retrograde motion, we have just left the Age of Pisces, which marked the years 1-2000 AD. This time coincides with the age of Christ and Christianity. Pisces is the sign known for universal love, compassion, self-sacrifice, altruism, creativity, intuition and deep spirituality. This Piscean mindset has been the way humanity has approached the world since we evolved and has colored everything that we have encountered during that period.

"Early Christians used the symbol of the fish (symbol of Pisces) as a secret symbol of their faith. The emphasis on washing of the feet as a ritual signifying purification of the spirit ties into Pisces symbolism as well, for Pisces rules the feet. Pisces "carry" the cares of others and often have sore feet. Christ spoke of his role as servant to his flock, which is also a very Pisces notion. Pisces says, "I believe," whereas Aquarius, the age we are in now, says, "Prove it to me scientifically." "

My point in all this is this. What happened to that excitement in life, and in the universe? It was replaced by what we had before, the 1950s. Have we really been evolving all that much since then? Stagnating may be more like it. We've advanced some culturally and retrograded some culturally. Technological and financial breakthroughs galore have occurred, but what about the adventure of the Human race? Or of Humanity's quality of life?

Why are we still working harder, only for corporations and the rich to live easier and make more off of everyone else's backs? Much of which those of the rich really don't even need? I'm not saying being rich is bad. Or that people shouldn't be allowed to strive to have more than others, I'm just saying at at some point, there is only so much to go around and for only a few to have so much, and for too many to have so very little, is in itself, too much.

We need to get back to an age of "waking up culturally" as we were in the 60s. When we did that it scared the hell out of those in charge and in the end, their power petered out into what, a "War on Drugs" to distract the masses. As if that was what had caused the upheaval, rather than a growing realization of the possibilities in life beyond 9-5 work days.

The next time you have a decision to make, or see a news piece on how things are in the world, try to consider it through a filter of what was meant in being in the, "Age of Aquarius". Try to see things outside the box we've been compressed into. Try to see that box. See behind the box to those who built it. And see if you don't see that we should, and we can, raise the quality of our lives, and of that of the Human Race in it's entirety.

Because wonder, is always the first step to making things better.

No comments:

Post a Comment