Ever since the 1960’s the word counterculture has been thrown around. It seemed fairly clear back then. The counterculture was fighting against the Vietnam war, racial discrimination, sexism, and patriarchy in all American institutions, including the family. Yes, different groups had different solutions. Some believed in working through the system to transform it; others believed the current system was without hope. They felt that the only solution was to form a parallel America completely separate from the mainstream.
These days I have heard the word counterculture used to describe everything from neo-conservatives and tea-partiers to the Occupy movement to organic farmers to alternative healers. Does the term counterculture still have any meaning when everyone, at least in the United States, has access to any belief system under the sun at the click of a mouse? Is there a common culture to be Counter to?
To me, the counterculture is real, but it is not a group or a movement. It can only be described as an attitude. To form a counterculture “group” is, in my opinion, an oxymoron. Avoiding group-think is a mindset – one that must be constantly updated, guarded, and protected. It is all too easy to accept certain beliefs as gospel when, actually, the conditions we experience were created by us, and accepted by us. When we cease to accept them, they disappear – like public lynchings of black people and women being treated as the property of their husbands.
While these are extreme examples, the Counterculture Mindset is practical and can apply to everything in our daily lives. On a personal level, limiting beliefs and group-think are what keep us from creating professional lives that really bring out our best. Monday morning is still the most likely time for a person to suffer a heart attack. We drag ourselves to soul-crushing jobs that do nothing to maximize our infinite potential. And when we are no longer viewed as profitable, we are discarded without pity. We then hope we are used by the next taker before bill collectors and landlords descend upon us like flies on shit.
The art world should be an exception to this – an oasis of sorts – because art is, inherently, spiritual in nature. However, precisely because art is spiritual and not a bankable, economic widget, it is often disdained by our consumerist society, except as an investment vehicle for the ultra-rich. These people are told what to buy by “experts” and make their decisions based upon expected resale value, not their emotional or spiritual connection to the work. It is 180 degrees from what art is intended to be, but that is the Culture.
The Counterculture Mindset, however, rejects this ideology. Net worth and true worth are NOT the same things. Each one of us can make a small impact on his or her own community. People are not to be evaluated by their commercial value. Art is not better because it was sold for seven figures. People are not better because they are younger, more attractive, male, white, wealthy, or any other silly, money-based ranking system.
The purpose of life, in my opinion, is to know The Goddess and to make her known. You can only do that by being You to the fullest. You cannot get there by following the Culture and its dictates. The Culture is a seductress that will lead you with her siren’s call to the rocks of mediocrity. Don’t fall for it. Meditate, go within, and develop the Counterculture Mindset. It takes courage and constant vigilance. It is neither an easy nor a crowded path. You may have to stand alone against people that are selling the Culture and its brand of group-think. However, adopting the Counterculture Mindset may, in the end, be humanity’s best hope and the only way to be truly free.
Have a rebelliously wonderful week and follow your bliss!