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I am currently working on my dissertation for PhD candidacy in Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. I will be attempting to describe and find commonality in the group of people raised in the counterculture in the 60s and 70s born between 1964 and 1978. It is my thesis that though each individual had a purposely-unique upbringing, there are indeed common patterns of experience and ways of being in the world that make these individuals a group. Also that the existence of this group challenges some of the current academic and societal assumptions about postmodernism, American culture, Generation X, and the 60s as simply a fad that died out. That this group, regardless of the life choices they currently make, or whether they have continued in the lifestyles they started in, brings a way of being and a plurality of thinking into their work, their families and their community activity that has an as yet little studied cultural impact.

This study is using an expanded description of the counterculture, different from the common use of the term. The typical practice is to conflate counterculture and hippie. In this study counterculture will mean the children of the 60s era who come from a wide range of experimental backgrounds, including the new left, and new religions. There is a precedent for this. Theodore Roszak, who coined the term “counterculture,” writes in his book The Making of a Counterculture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition “We grasp the underlying unity of the counter cultural variety, then, if we see beat-hip bohemianism as an effort to work out the personality structure and total life style that follow from New Left social criticism. At their best, these young bohemians are the would-be utopian pioneers of the world that lies beyond intellectual rejection of the Great Society” (66). The cultural bohemians who become known as hippies spring from a time of idealism that includes utopian views spawned by New Left thinkers.

Years later, in a 2004 postscript to the 1981 book The Survival of a Counterculture: Ideological Work and Everyday Life Among Rural Communards, Bennet M. Berger writes “Citing a distinction between ‘cultural’ and ‘political’ rebels is not entirely adequate, in part because some Hippies had New Left sympathies and participated in their protest actions, and some partisans of the New Left looked and acted like Hippies when they were not on the barricades or marching in protest”(xii). Though he later states, “their fundamental differences eventually split them apart” (xii), this study will show that the effects of the experimental lives of this larger expanded group on their children prove them to be closer together than current analysis claims.