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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Hippie Ghetto: The Natural History of a Subculture.

Partridge, William L. (1973).
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

ISBN: 0-03-091081-1

Description: Paperback original, xxii + 88 pages. Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology Series.

Contents: Foreword by George and Louise Spindler, preface, acknowledgments, 7 chapters, references, recommended readings.

Note: Unlike the common psychological, biological and political approaches, Partridge's insights based on cultural anthropology offer fresh perspectives.

Excerpt(s): Sociologists Munoz have noted that hippies profess an "ideological mission to turn on the world." ... And in view of the very impressive array of forces allied against the use of this drug, its popularity can only be accounted for by a very religious kind of sense of mission. Psychologist Keniston writes of these "apostles of drug use,"

For them, drug use is a modern-day chemical equivalent to mystical experience, to satori and to the great inward journey of self-exploration and self-discovery. (page 60)

When the observer mentioned to one advocate of such individual voyages of self-discovery that it was hard for him to conceive of learning anything in the absence of the ability to communicate with different people, the comment provoked argument. And in the discussion that followed the observer was accused of being weak, dependent upon others, afraid of himself and his inner feelings, and impotent. In other words, by challenging the notion (not unique to hippies but characteristic also of Western religion) that it was the individual who was the locus of morality, wisdom, insight, and values and by suggesting that these things might be a product of interaction with others in a social situation, the observer challenged the efficacy of the journey of self-discovery. Moreover, he questioned one of the ghetto resident's chief ideological supports for the use of LSD-the notion of individualism, individual self-discovery, individual morality, individual responsibility, individual minds, behaviors, and ideals. And there is probably no greater good in the mind of the ghetto resident than the heroic head buffeted by the caprices of ignorant straights but true to his inner, personal values. And we are reminded once again of the heroic Christian of Western mythology journeying to Mount Zion. (page 61).

In the present case, hippies have reformulated the Judeo-Christian tradition of individual salvation, individual guilt and sin, the journey of spiritual growth, and created an ideology we have seen to be the "quest for self-knowledge." ...

Most Americans believe in the Judeo-Christian notions of individual salvation through good works; spiritual growth through communion and meditation and prayer; and individual guilt and sin. ... [Hippies] exist and are defined as a group because they have created a ritual and environment which defines them so. Any assemblage of people is not a group. A group must conceive itself as a unit, and it does this by ritual activity in which its reasons for existence are symbolically held up for all to see. (page 82).

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