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The Greening of America

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  • Tarjei Straume
    In 1971, I met a guy from South Africa in England who was in exile in his parents old country because law enforcers in S.A. had caught him with some acid and
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2004
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      In 1971, I met a guy from South Africa in England who was in exile in his
      parents' old country because law enforcers in S.A. had caught him with some
      acid and he was facing fifteen years behind bars. He was a real hippie who
      treated me to South African "Derbin Poison" - the strongest weed I've ever
      smoked. I was reading a lot in those days; he wasn't. And he said, don't
      read Newsweek (I had Newsweek in my pocket) because it's all
      pro-Establishment. Read "The Greening of America," he said. "That's the
      only book you'll ever need to read." Wow, of course I read "The Greening of
      America" immediately. Neither of us had ever been in America, but this
      brilliant book taught us everything we needed to know. I don't have the
      book anymore, but I just stumbled across an excerpt:

      ***********************************************************************

      http://www.superseventies.com/greening.html


      "The Greening of America"

      By Charles A. Reich

      America is dealing death, not only to people in other lands, but to its own
      people. So say the most thoughtful and passionate of our youth, from
      California to Connecticut. This realization is not limited to the new
      generation. Talk to a retired school teacher in Mendocino, a judge in
      Washington, D.C., a housewife in Belmont, Massachusetts, a dude rancher in
      the Washington Cascades. We think of ourselves as an incredibly rich
      country, but we are beginning to realize that we are also a desperately
      poor country -- poor in most of the things that throughout the history of
      mankind have been cherished as riches.

      There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past.
      It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change
      the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence
      to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence. It is now
      spreading with amazing rapidity, and already our laws, institutions and
      social structure are changing in consequence. It promises a higher reason,
      a more human community, and a new and liberated individual. Its ultimate
      creation will be a new and enduring wholeness and beauty -- a renewed
      relationship of man to himself, to other men, to society, to nature, and to
      the land.

      This is the revolution of the new generation. Their protest and rebellion,
      their culture, clothes, music, drugs, ways of thought, and liberated
      life-style are not a passing fad or a form of dissent and refusal, nor are
      they in any sense irrational. The whole emerging pattern, from ideals to
      campus demonstrations to beads and bell bottoms to the Woodstock Festival,
      makes sense and is part of a consistent philosophy. It is both necessary
      and inevitable, and in time it will include not only youth, but all people
      in America.

      The logic and necessity of the new generation -- and what they are so
      furiously opposed to -- must be seen against a background of what has gone
      wrong in America. It must be understood in light of the betrayal and loss
      of the American dream, the rise of the Corporate State of the 1960's, and
      the way in which that State dominates, exploits, and ultimately destroys
      both nature and man. Its rationality must be measured against the insanity
      of existing "reason" -- reason that makes impoverishment, dehumanization,
      and even war appear to be logical and necessary. Its logic must be read
      from the fact that Americans have lost control of the machinery of their
      society, and only new values and a new culture can restore control. Its
      emotions and spirit can be comprehended only by seeing contemporary America
      through the eyes of the new generation.

      The meaning and the future of the revolution emerge from a perspective on
      America. The revolution is a movement to bring man's thinking, his society,
      and his life to terms with the revolution of technology and science that
      has already taken place. Technology demands of man a new mind -- a higher,
      transcendent reason -- if it is to be controlled and guided rather than to
      become an unthinking monster. It demands a new individual responsibility
      for values, or it will dictate all values. And it promises a life that is
      more liberated and more beautiful than any man has known, if man has the
      courage and the imagination to seize that life.

      The transformation that is coming invites us to reexamine our own lives. It
      confronts us with a personal and individual choice: are we satisfied with
      how we have lived; how would we live differently? It offers us a recovery
      of self. It faces us with the fact that this choice cannot be evaded, for
      as the freedom is already there, so must the responsibility be there.

      At the heart of everything is what we shall call a change of consciousness.
      This means a "new head" -- a new way of living -- a new man. This is what
      the new generation has been searching for, and what it has started
      achieving. Industrialism produced a new man, too -- one adapted to the
      demands of the machine. In contrast, today's emerging consciousness seeks a
      new knowledge of what it means to be human, in order that the machine,
      having been built, may now be turned to human ends; in order that man once
      more can become a creative force, renewing and creating his own life and
      thus giving life back to his society.

      We have all known the loneliness, the emptiness, the isolation of
      contemporary America. Our forebears came thousands of miles for the promise
      of a better life. Now there is a new promise. Shall we not seize it? Shall
      we not be pioneers once more? The breakdown of the Corporate State and the
      growth of radicalism would still lead nowhere, would still justify only
      despair, if there were not a new vision. It is the power of the vision that
      can turn hope into reality.

      The extraordinary thing about this new consciousness is that it has emerged
      out of the wasteland of the Corporate State, like flowers pushing up
      through the concrete pavement. Whatever it touches it beautifies and
      renews: a freeway entrance is festooned with happy hitchhikers, the
      sidewalk is decorated with street people, the humorless steps of an
      official building are given warmth by a group of musicians. And every
      barrier falls before it. We have been dulled and blinded to the injustice
      and ugliness of slums, but it sees them as just that -- injustice and
      ugliness -- as if persuaded that giant organizations are necessary, but it
      sees that they are absurd, as if the absurdity had always been obvious and
      apparent. We have all been induced to give up our dreams of adventure and
      romance in favor of the escalator of success, but it says that the
      escalator is a sham and the dream is real. And these things, buried,
      hidden, and disowned in so many of us, are shouted out loud, believed in,
      affirmed by a growing multitude of young people who seem too healthy,
      intelligent, and alive to be wholly insane, who appear, in their collective
      strength, capable of making it happen. For one almost convinced that it was
      necessary to accept ugliness and evil, that it was necessary to be a miser
      of dreams, it is an invitation to cry or laugh. For one who thought the
      world was irretrievably encased in metal and plastic and sterile stone, it
      seems a veritable greening of America.

      - Excerpted from "The Greening of America" by Charles A. Reich (New York:
      Random House, 1970).

      ***********************************************************************

      Cheers,



      Tarjei
      http://uncletaz.com/
    • Tarjei Straume
      ... As you can see, the attempt was made - one hell of an attempt! - to change America, levitate the Pentagon and send it home to Jesus, Turn On, Tune In, Drop
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2004
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        I quoted Charles A. Reich from 1970:

        >There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past.
        >It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change
        >the political structure only as its final act. It will not require
        >violence to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence.
        >It is now spreading with amazing rapidity, and already our laws,
        >institutions and social structure are changing in consequence. It
        >promises a higher reason, a more human community, and a new and liberated
        >individual. Its ultimate creation will be a new and enduring wholeness and
        >beauty -- a renewed relationship of man to himself, to other men, to
        >society, to nature, and to the land.
        >
        >This is the revolution of the new generation. Their protest and rebellion,
        >their culture, clothes, music, drugs, ways of thought, and liberated
        >life-style are not a passing fad or a form of dissent and refusal, nor are
        >they in any sense irrational. The whole emerging pattern, from ideals to
        >campus demonstrations to beads and bell bottoms to the Woodstock Festival,
        >makes sense and is part of a consistent philosophy. It is both necessary
        >and inevitable, and in time it will include not only youth, but all people
        >in America.

        As you can see, the attempt was made - one hell of an attempt! - to change
        America, levitate the Pentagon and send it home to Jesus, Turn On, Tune In,
        Drop Out with Timothy Leary, dreaming of a better world with Martin Luther
        King, imagining a brotherhood of man with John Lennon - and there was
        indeed a considerable amount of optimism that the Green Revolution was
        indeed on the way. And Bob Dylan sang:

        The Times They Are A-Changin'

        Come gather 'round people
        Wherever you roam
        And admit that the waters
        Around you have grown
        And accept it that soon
        You'll be drenched to the bone.
        If your time to you
        Is worth savin'
        Then you better start swimmin'
        Or you'll sink like a stone
        For the times they are a-changin'.

        Come writers and critics
        Who prophesize with your pen
        And keep your eyes wide
        The chance won't come again
        And don't speak too soon
        For the wheel's still in spin
        And there's no tellin' who
        That it's namin'.
        For the loser now
        Will be later to win
        For the times they are a-changin'.

        Come senators, congressmen
        Please heed the call
        Don't stand in the doorway
        Don't block up the hall
        For he that gets hurt
        Will be he who has stalled
        There's a battle outside
        And it is ragin'.
        It'll soon shake your windows
        And rattle your walls
        For the times they are a-changin'.

        Come mothers and fathers
        Throughout the land
        And don't criticize
        What you can't understand
        Your sons and your daughters
        Are beyond your command
        Your old road is
        Rapidly agin'.
        Please get out of the new one
        If you can't lend your hand
        For the times they are a-changin'.

        The line it is drawn
        The curse it is cast
        The slow one now
        Will later be fast
        As the present now
        Will later be past
        The order is
        Rapidly fadin'.
        And the first one now
        Will later be last
        For the times they are a-changin'.

        Yep, it was a general consensus that the Old Order delivering Death and
        Misery because of - well, Retarded Thinking again - would have to go.

        Today, the Neocons are singing:

        The Times They Won't Be Changin'

        Come gather 'round people
        Wherever you roam
        And admit that the liberals
        Around you have grown
        And accept it that soon
        You'll be sick to the bone.
        If your churches and guns are worth savin'
        Then you better start shootin'
        Or you'll drop like a stone
        For the times they won't be changin'.

        Come writers and critics
        in your pink underwear
        I'll tell you some bad shit
        You don't wanna hear
        Join us or die,
        You who tremble with fear!
        And there's no tellin' who
        That we're namin'.
        For we are in charge
        And we don't really care
        For the times they won't be changin'.

        Come senators, congressmen
        Give us your orders
        We'll stand in the doorway
        And block up the borders
        For he that gets hurt
        is beggin' for quarters
        There's a fire outside
        That we're quenchin'.
        It'll fill our prisons
        And protect your daughters
        For the times they won't be changin'.

        Come mothers and fathers
        Throughout the land
        Give your kids a good whacking
        so they'll understand
        That your sons and your daughters
        Must obey our command
        Your "new road" was
        Crushed down in Beijing.
        Please get out of the country
        If you can't lend your hand
        For the times they won't be changin'.

        The line it is drawn
        And we're pitching a fight
        The left-winger now
        Will swing to the right
        As the present now
        Will prove our Might
        The order won't ever
        Be fadin'.
        And the first one now
        Is ready for his bite
        For the times they won't be changin'.

        But let's get back to Charles A. Reich's 1970 book, "The Greening of
        America." It's been wow 33 years since I read it, and I don't have it
        anymore, but I'll try to make some remarks from memory. There was some
        trivial baloney here and there, but his central idea was inspiring and
        deeply impressive. There was something nonsensical about peanut butter -
        Reich wanted crunchy peanut butter but could only find the creamy variety
        in the stores, and this had something to do with corporate conspiracy and
        so on. And then he kept picking on skiers. Why does a person ski? he asked.
        He thought it was an unnatural lifestyle, this skiing - and you know that
        sounds weird to Norwegian ears.

        But then again, Reich had some very interesting reflections from what he
        observed in American society at that time. He found the hippies interesting
        and attractive because even though they were young (in their teens and
        twenties), many of them looked older, they looked "as if they had lived
        longer". (My comment:) In the youth-obsessed West, it is an outrage for
        young people to look old; it's associated with decadent, decrepid
        lifestyles and excessive substance abuse. What Reich saw, however, was
        people who seemed to have lived longer, and who were genuinely concerned
        about the problems in the world; they were people of conscience and wisdom.
        He compared these wise, mature, intelligent faces of young hippies with
        "the baby-faced tennis player", i.e. the corporate executive who may be
        middle age or older but looks like a kid because his soul has never
        matured. And then he gets sidetracked into that nonsense about skiing and
        his pbsession with crunchy peanut butter, but whenever he returns to his
        central theme, he's brilliant.

        What Reich described in this book was the young hope of an era, of a
        generation. It was too immature to succeed, there were too many parties,
        sex and drugs, and the liberty was hijacked by hedonism, honest outlaws
        became hardened criminals, and the others, like Bill Clinton, sold out and
        joined the Establishment.

        But the hierarchies will try again, and again, and again, looking for the
        right generation to succeed. And that's what we should be telling our
        children and grandchildren..

        Cheers,


        Tarjei
        http://uncletaz.com/
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