HIPPIE KUSHI WAKING UP TO LIFE

Alternative Lifestyles * Vagabonding Travel * Searching for Hippie Happiness

HIPPIE KUSHI WAKING UP TO LIFE

What does it mean to live a Hippie Kushi life?

The Hippie Kushi mindset.

Some might say I’m a little bit mad, some would say eccentric; I think I’m a product of my difficult childhood, as well as my early party years in London, my travels around the world and the influence of the people I have fondly called my friends.

We are all unique but some of us just happen to live in a parallel universe where its hard to live a ‘normal’ life and our minds are constantly on fire.

“Poet-metropolitan subjects reject the homeland to shape an alternative lifestyle. They become artists, therapists, exotic traders and bohemian workers seeking to integrate labor, mobility and spirituality within a cosmopolitan culture of expressive individualism.”

GLOBAL NOMADS, Techno and New Age as Transnational Countercultures in Ibiza and Goa: Routledge; 1st edition (April 6, 2007) Anthony D’Andrea

Its a new year, 2019! and its looking like a turbulent one for my country: the UK. 

But for me this is looking to be an important year. 2019 is the year I embrace Hippie Kushi life.

Kushi is the Hindu word for Happiness!

I have been held back from achieving my goals over the past few years by debt issues but at the end of 2018 I finally conquered that particular demon and I freed myself from its ball and chain.

I now want to move forward in my search for happiness. First of all I plan to move to some cheaper more practical accommodation in central London. My flat in Hampton near Surrey is lovely but far too expensive to run. 

Eventually I would like to join a community living project that grows its own fruit and vegetables and rears livestock. I want to be around like-minded people, instead of putting up with my own company day in day out; and live a life with purpose.

of course my long term goal has always been to live on a canal boat and to travel the world, although four or five months in Goa every year would also make me smile. 

But first things first.

My short term goals are simply to begin achieving my dreams and find contentment living a hippie kushi life.

But what does hippie kushi life mean? I associate myself with the word hippie because I love the hippie mindset, the outlook and the ideal of love, freedom and togetherness. God knows we need it in a world of Donald Trump and Brexit.

I also love all the music associated with the hippie vibe, I like the clothes, the idea of living in communities and the drive to travel and embrace new cultures and religions.

But I do not believe in ‘should’s’ and ‘must’s’, I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian although my meat intake is the lowest its ever been. Vegans who force their politics on others are simply damaging their own cause; I believe we will naturally move in that direction as time goes by anyway.  

So, lets explore some of the aspects of hippie kushi life and ask the question; what is happiness and how can we achieve an alternative lifestyle that not only works but also makes us happy.

In the blog living at latitude 38 and 61 the writer explores what it means to live a hippie lifestyle:

“Hippie is a state of mind”

“An old mountain rescue buddy of mine, Steve Patchett, once said “Hippie is a state of mind.” Now I don’t think he originated that phrase, but he definitely set the example – maybe not all the time, but being hippie is something to strive for, like Nirvana.

My take-away from what Steve said is that you don’t have to have long hair and smoke dope to be a hippie. It’s the choices about how you live your life and how your mind views your world that gives one a hippie perspective.

I do not claim to be the spokesperson for hippies (I can only speak for the hippie in me) and don’t claim that I know everything about being hippie, but I have walked the hippie path for parts of my life and it is a mindset that I embrace. The whole free love thing aside (I think all would agree that all things, especially love, have consequences), what does it mean to be hippie in this day and age? I offer up to you my list (bearing in mind that no one’s list can be complete). What can we do to be more hippie? How can we get ourselves back to the garden, so to speak?”

1. “Grow A Garden – If you were looking for just one thing to do to be more hippie, growing a garden would be it. Many people give little thought to where their food comes from. Your body is a temple and you should take great care in selecting what you feed it. Growing your own food gives you a greater appreciation for what it takes to sustain yourself and your family – even if you can’t grow enough to feed yourself throughout the year. If all you’ve done is grow enough to provide your household with greens and potatoes for a month, you will have learned a great amount about what it means to live in a sustainable world. Some people catch the bug and raise chickens, goats and other animals. They know where their meat and cheese and eggs come from and how it lived and died.”

I personally have never had green fingers and any attempt in the past at growing flowers on my balcony has ended in disaster. But I like the idea of growing your own fruit and vegetables; it will save the planet and cut down on plastic container use, provide food for the table and save money in doing so and I think this would help us all move towards a more healthy diet.

There is something quite comforting in growing your own and I am currently looking for classes in how to grow your own vegetables because I think this will help with my future plans. 

“Hippie is a state of mind

2. “Protest something – The hippies protested Vietnam and the draft and inequality. They were so hippie, they protested against LBJ. Hippies have sit ins. They don’t show up at a rally just for the afternoon. Hippies camp out, in the cold, for weeks or months. Hippies are committed. Occupy Wall Street? Hippie. Tea Partiers who don’t like paying taxes? Cry me a river.  I’ll give you points for protesting an abortion clinic if you sleep out in the cold, but if you hop in your Volvo at 5pm to go sleep in your warm bed, nope.

3. Turn off your TV and read a book – There’s an old John Prine song made famous by John Denver that goes “Blow up your TV, throw away your paper, move to the country and build you a home. Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, try and find Jesus on your own.” As a degreed journalist, I have to say that 24-hour cable TV news has destroyed the quality of news in our world. There’s just not enough real news happening each day to keep eyeballs glued to the TV so that networks can sell advertising. The result is that stories are hyped and important-but-boring news is suppressed to increase ratings. Forget the news; nighttime programming is drivel these days as well. Reality shows (which are actually scripted) and competitive cooking dulls the mind. Read a classic novel, read a modern novel, read a book on science or history. Even science and history TV programming has become dumbed down or exaggerated in the name of ratings.”

I’ve never been very good at protesting, not because I don’t care, but because when ever there’s a protest I wish I had been on (eg: Against Brexit) I find out about it after the event. Living in Hampton doesn’t help; I think when I move back to central London I should hopefully be more up with the local events and get my arse into gear. Its no excuse and something I need to work on.

“Hippie is a state of mind”

4. “Move to the country and build you a home – Okay, so not everyone can do this, but if you have the opportunity, don’t pass it up. Building a house gives you a great appreciation for sustainability. If everyone had to build their own home, we would all live in smaller homes. Building a house is a lot of work. It’s a marathon that lasts more than a year to build something you hope will last several lifetimes. Every step along the way, every swing of the hammer, you will be proud of what you’ve done and glad you didn’t build it any bigger. You understand that excessive consumption by living in giant houses is not only vain and boastful, it drives up the demand and thus the costs of resources that others need to build their homes. If everyone lived in homes half the size, twice as many people could afford their own place. Even if you can’t build your own home, you can still learn a lot from volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.

5. Make your own energy – People who make their own electricity through solar PV or wind turbines or other means tend to use less energy because they know what it takes to sustain their own electrical load. People who waste electricity should have to pay a higher rate because they increase the demand and thus raise prices on those who are struggling to get by. As excessive consumption proliferates, society must pay for more transmission lines to move power from more distant generating facilities. Be hippie, use less.

6. Cut your own firewood – People who make their own heat tend to use less because they know how much work it takes to heat their homes. They also learn about the need for replenishing forests with new growth and mitigating fire danger by removing down, dead fuels.”

Not everyone has the skills to build their own home but co-op living, as part of a like-minded community could be the alternative. Growing your own crops and keeping livestock is the best option for me. Its not always easy and its not for everyone but its something to think about.

Below is a link to the post I wrote on this subject:

Community living

“Hippie is a state of mind”

6. “Be spiritual – Science can’t explain everything. There is a spiritual level of being to our universe and if you aren’t connected to it, you are living an unfulfilled life. Pick a religion and try it out. There are many paths to salvation despite what many religious people will tell you. Be wary of those who preach from one book without taking the time to study the theology, dogma and history behind their own text.

Religion can have a lot to do with controlling other people. Spirituality deals with the soul and enlightenment. Hippies know that we are all free to find our own path.

7. Share – Everything good in life is better when you share. What good is it to eat a cake or a fresh loaf of bread by yourself when you could be sharing with friends? Why sing a song if there is no one to hear it? Share all that is good with others. Cooperatives are an extension of that concept. Share the ownership of lawn mowers and snow blowers with your neighbors. Lend your bicycle or car to friends. Donate clothes and furniture that you don’t use. Share your income with those less fortunate.”

Spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing. I class myself as spiritual and have my own beliefs about god. Spirituality especially in the Hindu faith is about togetherness, all things equal and good karma (your deeds in this life will have an influence on who or what you are in the next life). Meditation is a form of spirituality and helps me greatly in my day to day life. 

Hippie is a state of mind”

8. Don’t get hung up on race or sexual orientation – Good and bad people come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The US has some major Victorian suppression hang ups over sex and race and gays. If you’re confident in your own relationship and sexuality, you won’t care if a black woman and white man are in love or a Hispanic man and Asian woman or two guys. Biblical marriage came in many forms other than one man and one woman. Focus on your own relationship and stay out of everyone else’s.

9. Embrace peace – War is terrible. Anyone who tells you differently either has never been in a war or is psychotic. There is no such thing as a just war. There may be a time for war when the attack is coming to your shores or your town, what some call a necessary war, but peace should be the end goal. Not all hippies were draft dodgers. Some went off to war and carry that burden with them today. They couldn’t get deferments or assigned to the National Guard like the privileged class. Some hippies didn’t even come back. Hippies don’t believe the scare tactics that claim cutting the military budget is harmful to our troops. Cutting the budget prevents military contractors from making fortunes. Cutting the budget brings our troops home to serve in a local capacity. When I flash you the peace sign, I’m not flipping you the bird. It’s a sign of hope – a sign of respect for all life.

10. Love – All you need is love. Hug people when you greet. Show compassion in all you do. Do everything with love and you can infect the world.

Okay, so about that smoking dope thing. Hippies were rejecting the values of their parents’ generation. They even rejected their parents’ drug of choice. Alcohol is abused just as much as weed. Weed, on the other hand, is something that individuals could grow for personal consumption so as not to support “the man” who makes money in the beer and liquor industry nor would it support the illegal drug trade. I don’t imbibe, but I would support legalization and taxation of weed. I also think that when people get their AARP card in the mail, it should come with a medical marijuana card to take the edge off of getting older.”

“So there you have it: Peace, Love, Dope and a whole lot more. Walk the hippie path. Embrace the mindset. As for me, I have built my own house. I grow a garden. I make my own energy and cut my own firewood. I embrace science and peace. I’m wary of the man. I vote, pay taxes and don’t try to shirk jury assignment. I love my black, white, brown, yellow, red, gay, lesbian, transgender and straight friends and family. I’ve been without cable TV since 2006 but I do love me some Netflix. I share, I give thanks and most of all, I love. Thanks for the advice, Steve.”

These concepts are all positive aspirations and we could all be a little more ‘hippie’.

The blog Living at latitude 38 and 61 is worth a read.

Living at latitude 38 and 61 

For me, the key elements of living a hippie kushi life are as follows:

  • HAPPINESS
  • BEING REAL TO WHO YOU ARE,
  • KINDNESS
  • THE WHIRLY MINDSET
  • MULTICULTURALISM
  • TOGETHERNESS
  • INNER PEACE
  • HAVING FUN AND PARTYING
  • ATTENDING FESTIVALS
  • AND LIVING A GOOD, ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE
  • TRAVEL/VAGABONDING

So lets explore these concepts too:

HAPPINESS

8 Ways to Ignite Your Inner Happiness

By Claire Charters

Your life is your message to the world; make it inspiring by becoming the happiest person you know. But, how?

  1. Have a Morning Ritual- By creating a morning ritual, you set the whole tone for the day. Greet the first few moments of the day by nurturing your body and soul. This is the time of day to seek out the simple luxuries of life, and embrace them – it can be meditation, morning yoga, a walk in natureor a delicious wholesome breakfast.
  2. Live with Gratitude- What you focus on you attract – so focus on what you are gratefulfor. Buy yourself a beautiful handmade notebook, and keep a gratitude journal. Before bed each night, write five things down that you are grateful for. By practicing gratitude, your perception will change, and you will develop a sense of appreciating the smaller things in life.
  3. Look for Opportunities- Things will not just fall in your lap; you have to go out, work hard, and earn them. In the process, you will make mistakes, however, instead of giving up, find a way that works. When you search long enough, opportunities will come your way. Be bold, tell the universe what you want. Yes, you may get a hundred “no’s,” but you will eventually get one “yes.” You will be surprised how often the universe says “yes!” You just have to ask first.
  4. Set Your Intention – Manifestation is extremely powerful, so get focused on setting your intent. By getting clear about what you want and sending out positive thoughts/feelings/emotions about it, you will find the key to fulfilling your dreams. Write your own personal mantra; then hang it where you will see it every day.
  5. Do the Right Thing – Live life with an open mind and loving heart. Don’t let your ego take over. Instead, give without expecting, refrain from gossip, and do not judge. Walk with grace, and keep your character strong. Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.
  6. Dream Big, and Take Risks – It is your birth right to live how you choose; dare to live it. Yes, it takes courage, because way to often you get belittled by small-minded people telling you, “you’re just a dreamer” or “that’s an impossible dream.” The people who achieve their goals are the ones who never give up, even when it seems all so hopeless.
  7. Love, Nurture and Honor Yourself – Speak to yourself with kindness, nourish your body with whole foods, and honor your value by living life by your own morals. Take some time to invest in the most important thing – YOU.
  8. Chill Out, and Savor the Moment – We live in a society where we all want everything yesterday. We forget to savor the present moment. Take some time to notice how blue the sky is, or make a date with the sunshine. Get out and enjoy the miracle of life that surrounds you NOW.

The True and the False Self

Source: www.theschooloflife.com

“One of the most surprising but powerful explanations for why we may, as adults, be in trouble mentally is that we were, in our earliest years, denied the opportunity to be fully ourselves, that is, we were not allowed to be willful and difficult, we could not be as demanding, aggressive, intolerant, and unrestrictedly selfish as we needed to be. Because our caregivers were preoccupied or fragile, we had to be preternaturally attuned to their demands, sensing that we had to comply in order to be loved and tolerated; we had to be false before we had the chance to feel properly alive. And as a result, many years later, without quite understanding the process, we risk feeling unanchored, inwardly dead and somehow not entirely present.”

“This psychological theory of the True and the False Self is the work of one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers, the English psychoanalyst and child psychiatrist Donald Winnicott. In a series of papers written in the 1960s and based on close observations of his adult and infant patients, Winnicott advanced the view that healthy development invariably requires us to experience the immense, life-sustaining luxury of a period when we do not have to bother with the feelings and opinions of those who are tasked with looking after us. We can be wholly and, without guilt, our True Selves, because those around us have – for a time – adapted themselves entirely to our needs and desires, however inconvenient and arduous these might be.”

“The true self of the infant, in Winnicott’s formulation, is by nature asocial and amoral. It isn’t interested in the feelings of others, it isn’t socialised. It screams when it needs to – even if it is the middle of the night or on a crowded train. It may be aggressive, biting and – in the eyes of a stickler for manners or a lover of hygiene – shocking and a bit disgusting. It wants to express itself where and how it wants. It can be sweet of course but on its own terms, not in order to charm or bargain for love. If a person is to have any sense of feeling real as an adult, then it has to have enjoyed the immense emotional privilege of being able to be true in this way, to disturb people when it wants, to kick when it is angry, to scream when it is tired, to bite when it is feeling aggressive. The True Self of the child must be granted the imaginative opportunity to destroy the parent when it is in a rage – and then witness the parent surviving and enduring, which lends the child a vital and immensely reassuring sense that it is not in fact omnipotent, and that the world won’t collapse simply because it sometimes wishes or fears it could.”

“When things go well, gradually and willingly, the child develops a False Self, a capacity to behave according to the demands of external reality. This is what enables a child to submit to the rigours of school and, as it develops into an adult, of working life as well. When we have been given the chance to be our true selves we do not, at every occasion, need to rebel and insist on our needs. We can follow the rules because we have, for a time, been able to ignore them entirely. In other words, Winnicott was not a thorough enemy of a False Self; he understood its role well enough, he simply insisted that it belonged to health only when it had been preceded by a thorough earlier experience of an untrammelled True Self.

Unfortunately, many of us have not enjoyed such an ideal start. Perhaps mother was depressed, or father was often in a rage, maybe there was an older or younger sibling who was in a crisis and required all the attention. The result is that we will have learnt to comply far too early; we will have become obedient at the expense of our ability to feel authentically ourselves. In relationships, we may now be polite and geared to the needs of our partners, but not for that matter able properly to love. At work, we may be dutiful but uncreative and unoriginal.

In such circumstances, and this is its genius, psychotherapy offers us a second chance. In the hands of a good therapist, we are allowed to regress before the time when we started to be False, back to the moment when we so desperately needed to be true. In the therapist’s office, safely contained by their maturity and care, we can learn – once more – to be real; we can be intemperate, difficult, unconcerned with anyone but ourselves, selfish, unimpressive, aggressive and shocking. And the therapist will take it – and thereby help us to experience a new sense of aliveness which should have been there from the start. The demand to be False, which never goes away, becomes more bearable because we are regularly being allowed, in the privacy of the therapist’s room, once a week or so, to be True.

Winnicott was famously calm and generous towards his patients when they were attempting to refind their True Selves in this way. One of them smashed a favourite vase of his, another stole his money, a third shouted insults at him session after session. But Winnicott was unruffled, knowing that this was part of a journey back towards health, away from the deadly fakeness afflicting these patients in the rest of their lives.

We can be grateful to Winnicott for reminding us that contentment and a feeling of reality have to pass through stages of almost limitless delinquent selfishness. There is simply no other way. We have to be True before we can be usefully a bit fake – and if we have never been allowed, then our sickness and depression is there to remind us that we need to take a step back, and therapy is there to allow us to do so.”

Be true to yourself, don’t be afraid to be who you want to be. If you want to dye your hair a bright pink or grow it long, wear colourful clothes or have tattoos and piercings; do it! Never worry about being who you really are. Others may voice their opinions but unless ‘you’ are true to yourself you may never find happiness.

Kindness

Source: theconversation.com

Five reasons why being kind makes you feel good – according to science

“Generosity boosts reward mechanisms in the brain.

Everybody can appreciate acts of kindness. But when it comes to explaining why we do them, people often take one of two extreme positions. Some think kindness is something completely selfless that we do out of love and care, while others believe it is just a tool that we cunningly use to become more popular and reap the benefits.

But research shows that being kind to others can actually make us genuinely happy in a number of different ways. We know that deciding to be generous or cooperating with othersactivates an area of the brain called the striatum. Interestingly, this area responds to things we find rewarding, such as nice food and even addictive drugs. The feel-good emotion from helping has been termed “warm glow” and the activity we see in the striatum is the likely biological basis of that feeling.

Of course, you don’t have to scan brains to see that kindness has this kind of benefit. Research in psychology shows a link between kindness and well-being throughout life, starting at a very young age. In fact, even just reflecting on having been kind in the past may be enough to improve teenagers’ mood. Research has also shown that spending extra money on other people may be more powerful in increasing happiness than spending it on yourself.

But why and how does kindness make us so happy? There are a number of different mechanisms involved, and how powerful they are in making us feel good may depend on our personalities.

1. Contagious smiling

Being kind is likely to make someone smile and if you see that smile for yourself, it might be catchy. A key theory about how we understand other people in neuroscience suggests that seeing someone else show an emotion automatically activates the same areas of the brain as if we experienced that emotion for ourselves.

You may have been in a situation where you find yourself laughing just because someone else is – why not set off that chain of good feelings with a nice surprise for someone?

2. Righting a wrong

The same mechanism also makes us empathise with others when they are feeling negative, which could make us feel down. This is particularly true for close friends and family, as our representations of them in the brain physically overlap with our representations of ourselves. Doing a kind act to make someone who is sad feel better can also make us feel good – partly because we feel the same relief they do and partly because we are putting something right. Although this effect is especially powerful for people we are close to, it can even apply to humanitarian problems such as poverty or climate change. Getting engaged with charities that tackle these issues provide a way to have a positive impact, which in turn improves mood.

3. Making connections

Being kind opens up many different possibilities to start or develop a social connection with someone. Kind acts such as a buying someone a thoughtful present or even just a coffee strengthens friendships, and that in itself is linked to improved mood.

Similarly, charities offer the opportunity to connect with someone on the other side of the world through donating to improve their life. Volunteering also opens up new circles of people to connect with, both other volunteers and those you are helping.

4. A kind identity

Most people would like to think of themselves as a kind person, so acts of kindness help us to demonstrate that positive identity and make us feel proud of ourselves. In one recent study, even children in their first year of secondary school recognised how being kind can make you feel “better as a person … more complete”, leading to feelings of happiness. This effect is even more powerful when the kind act links with other aspects of our personality, perhaps creating a more purposeful feeling. For example, an animal-lover could rescue a bird, an art-lover could donate to a gallery or a retired teacher could volunteer at an after-school group. Research suggests that the more someone identifies with the organisation they volunteer for, the more satisfied they are.

5. Kindness comes back around

Work on the psychology of kindness shows that one out of several possible motivations is reciprocity, the returning of a favour. This can happen directly or indirectly. Someone might remember that you helped them out last time and therefore be more likely to help you in the future. It could also be that one person being kind makes others in the group more kind, which lifts everyone’s spirits. Imagine that you bake cakes for the office and it catches on so someone does it each month. That is a lot more days that you’re getting cakes than providing them.

The story doesn’t end there. Being kind may boost your mood, but research has also shown that being in a good mood can make you more kind. This makes it a wonderful two-way relationship which just keeps giving.”

Helping someone makes you smile and smiling makes you feel happy.

THE WHIRLY MINDSET

Whirl-y-gig is a unique nightclubbing experience. The place is full of colourful characters who all share a common cause. Simply, the staff and clubbers all hold a common mindset in the beliefs of love, togetherness and inclusiveness, its one big happy family; they are wonderful.

Want to read more about Whirl-y-gig, here’s a couple of links:

Whirl-y-gig

Whirl-y-gig

MULTICULTURALISM and TOGETHERNESS

Togetherness and Society

“We all need each other to live in positive energy. In a world subtly divided in negativity, where doubts rule and fear conquers the anxious minds. At such times, only our unity will help us. Unity of whom? Unity of those who have the strength to live without fear in such times. There are individuals, groups who have conquered the limitations of adversity and dominance of negativity and set a prime example of what it is to live. Who haven’t lost hope and fought each moment to give everyone an example to cherish for. It is indeed these people who make life look worth living. It is in remembrance and understanding of these minds, their thoughts that can act as catalyst and bring about a change that can last for long. 
The world needs a peaceful model – a successful model. A model that can guide how to live beyond conflicts and prosper. 
In the absence of this all can be said is,

“United we can prosper, divided we wander..”

History has been subject how divided minds have found it difficult to bring about peace in the society. It is indeed in mutual understanding can values be understood, respected and allowed to retain their space.

Divided and scattered in positive thoughts, it will be difficult to make a sustainable impact and reinforce the positivism. United we can bring about a change that we all sub consciously think of.

Time and again, we come across individuals who have come forward and made an effort to unite the divided minds. Present day Gurus and saints are making every possible effort to revive the juice of life that many seem to have lost. Modern day Gurus are now adopting approaches to unite all and create a peaceful model in society.

These efforts need support. We all need to put our aahuti [ offering ] in the yagya that is for the benefit of all.

Let’s come together and build together a peaceful society, a United society !”

If multiculturalism isn’t working, why not embrace ‘polyculturalism’?

Source: www.sbs.com.au

“Should we celebrate the multicultural rainbow, or look away? 

“Multiculturalism remains controversial. So why don’t we look at another option fusing and connecting cultures, called polyculturalism?”

By 

Nick Haslam, University of Melbourne

 
Source: 

The Conversation

7 JUN 2017 – 10:21 AM  UPDATED 7 JUN 2017 – 10:32 AM

“Cultural diversity is an inescapable fact of modern life. How we should think about it is less obvious. Should we celebrate the multicultural rainbow, merge its colours into one – like a colour wheel spinning into whiteness – or look away?

These options represent three well studied perspectives on diversity. Merging the colours corresponds to assimilationism, the idea that minority groups should let go of their distinctive traditions and melt into a shared, mainstream culture.

Looking away corresponds to colour-blindness. People who take this stance do one of two things. Some argue that despite their differences, all groups share a common humanity. Others argue we should see people first and foremost as individuals and set aside their group identities.

… research typically finds that people who hold multicultural beliefs are less racially prejudiced, and more willing to make contact with members of other groups, than their assimilationist or colour-blind peers.

Celebrating the rainbow corresponds to multiculturalism. This belief system urges us to recognise and appreciate the distinctness of cultural groups. It has become the preferred perspective on diversity among progressives and a point of contention in political debate.

However contentious it might be, research typically finds that people who hold multicultural beliefs are less racially prejudiced, and more willing to make contact with members of other groups, than their assimilationist or colour-blind peers.

Even so, multiculturalism remains controversial. It is sometimes held responsible for the less attractive aspects of identity politics. Critics argue that it deepens social divides by instilling a sense that groups are fundamentally dissimilar and that group members are defined by their differences.”

Polyculturalism

“In response to these concerns, some thinkers have proposed a fourth option – polyculturalism. This is the view that cultures influence one another over time, and that cultural contact and borrowing are the norm.

The concept was put forward by historians Robin Kelley and Vijay Prashad, who charted the often hidden cross-cultural interactions that have forged contemporary cultural traditions. Kelley and Prashad argued that cultures have been forever fusing, exchanging ideas and practices.

As a result, each of us is a tangled skein of cultural influences, even if we identify with a single cultural group. Our music, cuisines, religions and folkways are all cultural mixtures.

Multiculturalism treats cultures as static entities and emphasises their differences. Polyculturalism pictures them as always in flux and emphasises their connections. 

Polyculturalism is unlike assimilationism because it prizes diversity rather than hoping for it to disappear. It differs from colour-blindness for much the same reason. It neither deflects attention outward to our shared humanity, or inward to the solo individual.

Importantly, polyculturalism differs from multiculturalism by acknowledging that cultures are dynamic, interactive and impure. Multiculturalism treats cultures as static entities and emphasises their differences. Polyculturalism pictures them as always in flux and emphasises their connections. Cultures engage in conversation with one another and their history is an often surprising record of forgotten exchanges.

Diversity in death: How multicultural Australia farewells its dead

“Death is a glass from which every man shall drink.”

The psychology of polyculturalism

Social psychologists have recently begun to explore the implications of polycultural ideas. They have devised simple ways to assess people’s endorsement of polycultural, multicultural, colour-blind and other beliefs about cultural diversity. They then examine how each belief is associated with social attitudes and practices.

The findings of this research indicate that polyculturalism has positive implications. In studies conducted in the USA and the Philippines, the more people endorse polycultural views, the more they are egalitarian, appreciative of diversity and comfortable with cultural differences.

Polyculturalism has been found to be associated with people’s interest in contact with members of other groups, such as immigrants and students of other racial or religious backgrounds. It is also associated with greater support for pro-immigrant and affirmative-action policies.

American and Australian research finds that people who endorse polycultural beliefs are less likely to display anti-gay and sexist attitudes. 

Polyculturalism generally has stronger links to pro-diversity attitudes than multiculturalism. These links are found among members of multiple ethnic groups. White Americans tend to endorse multiculturalism less than others, but polyculturalism is endorsed equally by different groups.

Polyculturalism also seems to have positive implications outside the realm of ethnic diversity. American and Australian research finds that people who endorse polycultural beliefs are less likely to display anti-gay and sexist attitudes. Endorsement of multiculturalism had no such relationship to these forms of prejudice.

Why polyculturalism beats multiculturalism

The more positive implications of polyculturalism relative to multiculturalism are not surprising from a psychological viewpoint. There is strong evidence that holding a dynamic view of human attributes, such as intelligence and personality, has beneficial implications.

People who believe these attributes are fluid rather than fixed tend to be more cognitively open, more oriented to personal growth and less prone to stereotype others. Similarly, people who view human groups in dynamic rather than static terms – as polyculturalists rather than multiculturalists do – are more open to engaging constructively with others across social boundaries.

Despite these advantages, polyculturalism does not resolve all the complexities of cultural diversity. One such complexity is the problem of cultural appropriation.

From a polycultural standpoint cultural borrowing is standard practice. Multiculturalists often see it as akin to theft if the borrower is from a dominant group and the exchange is not mutual. Nevertheless, a polycultural perspective calls into question the simplistic view that a culture’s ways of life are its timeless possessions, held by groups that have been insulated from outside influence.Research in population genetics shows that all human groups are impure. Genetic variation across the world’s people carries traces of our ancestors’ relentless migrations and mixings. We are all mongrels. The idea of polyculturalism implies that what is true of our genes is equally true of our cultures.”

INNER PEACE, HAVING FUN, PARTYING AND ATTENDING FESTIVALS

It may seem strange to lump these things together but they all have the same result if done correctly.

Meditation and yoga are great things to practice. I meditate every day and it has a wonderful affect on my stress disorder. You shouldn’t dismiss unless you’ve tried it. It can calm you down, counteract nerves, free your mind and refresh you.

Partying and socializing can do wonders for your soul. You are never to old to party and my life was changed forever after dancing on the beaches of Goa with other ‘older’ hippies.

But don’t go about it the wrong way; too much drug taking or drinking every night will have a counteractive affect and bring you down: know your limits.

Festivals are the single best way to meet like minded people. The atmosphere is like a parallel universe to the outside world; plenty of togetherness, harmony, love and joy.

AND FINALLY: LIVING A GOOD, ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE AND TRAVEL/VAGABONDING

If your life is dull, change it! If you dream of travelling the world, do it! If you want to live on a canal boat or in a hippiefied motorhome, go for it! Life is meant for living: whats holding you back?

I’m ready to start my 2019 adventure. Lets go on the journey together!!

Next time: Eel Pie Island

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