May 17th, 2020

The hippies had a very wrong idea of love

I've written in the past about how people tend to have a wrong understanding of love, either mistakenly equating it with sex, or thinking that love just consists of being around other people at a party or some other social gathering. I feel that I described this idea pretty accurately in that post, but I was reminded again of this idea when thinking about music from the 1960s and 1970s and how this music expresses ideas about love. "Free love" was one of the foremost ideas of the hippie movement, and yet to the hippies, this seemed to have more to do with sex than love: "Free love" for them meant public orgies, not long-lasting, meaningful relationships.

In particular, I was moved to these thoughts when considering the lyrics to "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet", one of Bachman–Turner Overdrive's biggest hits. The narrator of the song repeatedly concludes that "Any love is good loving, so I took what I could get". Here is reflected the selfish, greedy, and thoughtless nature of what many people consider "love": The idea appears to be that if you want "love", it doesn't matter from whom you get it, as long as you do end up getting it. Presumably "love" here means "sex", but even if it means something non-sexual, the attitude on display here suggests something entirely shallow: Rather than trying to build a relationship with someone, the narrator cheerfully says that he simply took "love" from wherever he could get it, regardless of how or with whom. It did not seem to matter what the other person felt; what was important was that the singer felt loved.

Similar ideas are apparent in Stephen Stills' song "Love the One You're With", from the same era. (The song is often attributed to Crosby, Stills & Nash, because Crosby and Nash do in fact perform backing vocals on the original recording, but it was released under Stills' name.) The well-known refrain of the song concludes: "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with". Here, again, we see the conclusion that if you love someone but they don't love you back, then you should simply settle for whoever will have you. In dating parlance, this is called "settling": Wanting something (i.e. someone) but settling for someone whom you don't really like because you'd prefer taking someone you don't really love to being alone. The suggestion to "love the one you're with" is a deliberate self-deception, as if you can make yourself love someone whom you don't really like. How many hearts have been broken by people who did exactly this, thinking that they could force themselves to love someone when they were really in love with someone else? How foolish can people be to believe that this is "love"? I see people dancing, clapping, and singing along to this song, and I just shake my head and wonder: Do they really understand what they're saying?

The hippies had a very wrong idea of love. Love is beautiful, but not the way they practiced it, described it, or thought about it. Whenever I think about how bad the current period is, I think for a moment: It could be worse. I could have been alive in the 1960s. The 1960s were a nightmare which the world has thankfully awoken from and hopefully will never return to.

Every time, I think I'm done

Whenever I finish writing a post for this blog, I always have the same thought: "That's it, I've said everything I wanted to say. I have no more new thoughts or ideas, nothing else I want to communicate to the world. There will be no further posts after this, because I have nothing left to write. I am ready to die now". It's for this reason that several times, I have intended to take a break from writing this blog: If I have nothing left to write, then why write something? If you have nothing worthwhile to say, then it's better to keep your mouth shut.

But it just keeps happening to me that I think of something else I should write about. A day or two will go by, and I'll see something happen, or read something noteworthy, or hear somebody say something that gets me thinking, and after a while, I'll think: "I should write about that". This process has been repeating, pretty much without stopping, for around the last 10 years.

Just in case anyone wondered what the process is behind thinking up or planning posts for this blog: There isn't one. Every time, I think I'm done. And then another idea comes along and keeps the process going just a little longer.