What are the key beliefs of hippies? Movement of love, peace & freedom

“Make love, not war.”

Free lifestyle, psychedelic music, drugs, colorful clothes… These are some of the associations that immediately come to our mind when someone mentions the word “hippie.”

The Hippie movement originated in the 1960s. A lot has changed since then, but their beliefs are still blended in today’s society.

What do hippies believe in? Does the hippie movement still exist? Who are the modern-day hippies?

Let’s take a look at the key beliefs of hippies and find the answers to these questions. But before, let’s see who the hippies are anyway.

What is a hippie?

If you know someone who values freedom, has long hair, wears colorful clothes, lives with folks who have no jobs and rejects the morals of society, chances are high they are a hippie.

A hippie is a person who belongs to the subculture of hippies. Although the beliefs of modern-day hippies are a bit different from those of the traditional hippie movement, the basic values that we’re about to discuss remain the same.

Hippies were a popular youth movement in the 1960s’ the United States. While the mainstream society conformed to the norms that weren’t even acceptable to them personally, hippies stepped back. Why?

Because they couldn’t stand the widespread violence anymore. Instead, they promoted freedom, peace, and love.

This subculture was all about spreading happiness everywhere they went. They didn’t judge people. They accepted diversity and felt comfortable expressing their true selves.

People called them hippies because they were “hip” – hippies knew all about the bad things happening in their society and wanted to change them.

Back then, nobody could imagine a hippie without drugs and a love for Rock N Roll. Not surprisingly, they had a bad reputation. And they still have. But the lifestyle of the modern hippie movement has changed a lot.

How did the hippie movement start?

The Hippie subculture originated from the rebellious beatnik movement. Beatniks were nonconformist people who lived in the district of San Francisco. They refused to live based on mainstream social norms. That was exactly the thing that attracted hippies.

In simple words, hippies didn’t like the way society worked. JFK’s assassination, the Vietnam War, revolutions all over Europe… The world these days is full of violence. And one day, they realized it was time for a change.

That’s how hippies formed a counter-cultural movement. They left mainstream society. Started living in the suburbs far away and expressed dissatisfaction with their weird appearance.

Being barefoot, wearing blue jeans, having long hair, using drugs, and listening to Rock N Roll. All these were the origin of the free lifestyle. But their key idea was far from just a different lifestyle.

The Hippie movement was all about protesting against unjust violence and the desire to live in a peaceful world.

The Vietnam War ended in 1975. But violence never left our world. Society stayed the same. That’s why hippies continue to exist even today.

Here are the key beliefs of people who identify themselves as modern-day hippies.

10 key beliefs of hippies

1) They promote the life of love

Somewhere, sometime you have probably heard the phrase “make love, not war”. If you didn’t know before, it’s the main motto of the hippie movement.

Hippies expressed the importance of peace and love by wearing colorful clothes with flowers. As a result, they were called “flower children”.

Although hippies don’t necessarily wear flower clothes today, love is still their key value. Why love?

Because love is the only strategy capable of fighting against violence. At least, that’s what hippies believe in.

Hippies expressed love by practicing open sexual relationships. They lived in open communities to show that people needed each other to survive.

Protecting nature, taking care of each other, and loving each community member unconditionally was their way of expressing love for others and the world.

Still, modern-day hippies try to spread love. They have never given up on the idea of promoting a life of love.

2) They don’t agree with mainstream society

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As we said, hippies are nonconformists. Which means what?

  • They disagree with the government.
  • They don’t accept social norms.
  • They don’t agree with mainstream society.

But what are the mainstream American values anyway?

Thinking the way others think. Acting the way others act. Blending into society and simply, “fitting in” and obeying someone or something.

All these things violate the essence of an individual and create collective beliefs. And collective beliefs often lead to violence. Hippies don’t conform to that.

A hippie is someone who’s a part of a subculture, not the majority. The main idea of developing subcultures is to create new norms that are different from those of the majority culture.

That’s the reason for the development of the hippie movement. They rejected the lifestyle of mainstream American culture. They “dropped out” and abandoned the values that limited their behavior.

Even today, not a single hippie agrees with mainstream society. And this is one of the things that makes them stand out.

3) They are not involved in politics

Hippies stay away from politics for one simple reason – politics is unimaginable without violence. Why? Because violence is an integral part of creating political order.

So, politics is violent.

Considering this, hippies have never been directly engaged in politics. While other counterculture movements from the 1960s labeled themselves as liberal activists, anarchists, or political radicals, hippies never agreed with any type of specific political ideology.

Hippies believe in “politics of no politics”. They just want to do things they feel like doing. What does this mean?

They protect nature whenever it’s time to protect nature. They go on the streets, protecting minorities’ rights whenever they need support. But they don’t have a distinct political ideology.

That’s how hippies changed the counterculture movements.

4) They are against violence

Fighting against violence is one of the key beliefs of hippies.

The world around them was getting more and more violent in the 1960s. Attacking ordinary citizens during the Vietnam War, brutality during anti-war protests, political assassinations, killing, and humiliating citizens…

The disorder was all around ‘60s’ America.

People felt the urge to break free. And that’s how the hippie movement began.

But didn’t hippies promote free sexual life? Didn’t they use drugs? What about violent music like Rock N Roll?

They did. As a result, some people think there was far more violence among the hippies than we realize.

But does expressing yourself through individual actions of a free lifestyle really mean the promotion of violence? One thing is for sure: hippies never liked the idea of killing innocent people.

5) They love nature and animals

Hippies are concerned about the environment around them. And indeed, fighting against violence and promoting love is only possible by protecting the living creatures around us, right?

As a result, hippies don’t eat animals. They are either vegan or vegetarian. But veganism isn’t just a lifestyle for hippies. It’s much more.

Hippies believe in the philosophy of taking care of the Earth. Consequently, they eat organic food, practice recycling, and try hard to protect the nature around them.

Considering this, it’s not a big surprise that many modern hippies are climate change activists. They’re in constant search of developing new ways to help the environment.

But there are too many environmental activists in our society today. What makes hippies different from them?

Hippies don’t just protect nature. They live in nature. They refuse modern buildings and technological developments. Instead, they prefer to break free and live in the woods, in tree houses, or somewhere where nobody can reach them.

6) They have an alternative lifestyle

Even if you’re not completely aware of hippies’ beliefs, chances are high that you’ve heard something about their alternative lifestyle.

Hippies are often associated with “Sex & Drugs & Rock N Roll”. It’s Ian Dury’s single which expresses the lifestyle of hippies. The song had a significant influence on the 1970’s pop culture.

In the same way, hippies influenced fashion, music, television, arts, literature, and film industries and inspired millions of people all over the world.

Hippies expressed themselves through psychedelic Rock N Roll. They held music festivals, gathered to protest the war and violence, and used drugs along the way. Besides, hippies had no jobs. They lived in communes, wore what they wanted to wear, and encouraged freedom.

As a result, they had the reputation of being lazy people who didn’t care about the rest of society and just wanted to free themselves.

However, as you can see, the hippie movement wasn’t only about breaking free. They did have significant beliefs, and they did change the world. Maybe just a little bit, but still.

7) They don’t conform to society’s rules

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The key reason why hippies don’t keep pace with mainstream society is that they seek to free themselves from society’s rules.

They indeed have a different lifestyle, they listen to different music and dress differently. But it’s not only because hippies want to stand out from mainstream society.

Instead, hippies want to express their individuality. They value individualism. To them, being an individual means freeing yourself from society’s rules and living in a way you want to live.

The essence of individualism for hippies is to do what you want to do, dress how you want to dress, and say what you think. But is any of this possible if you conform to the rules somebody created long ago?

However, individualism doesn’t mean being alone with hippies. They live in small collectives and express their unique selves among other people.

8) They don’t have jobs

The common myth about hippies says that people from bohemian subcultures don’t have jobs. Indeed, freeing yourself from society’s rules meant refusing to work at places where mainstream society worked. However, is it really possible to survive when no one around you earns money?

I don’t think so. And hippies knew that too. Even though they refused traditional jobs, some of the members of the community did have jobs. However, they did odd jobs.

Sometimes hippies worked at county fairs. Other times, they taught music to kids and earned some money for the community. Some hippies even had small businesses and employed other hippies.

The hippies’ attitude towards jobs is different today. The majority of them still refuse to work for the government, but freelancing and online jobs are some of the things they do for a living. You can even find a list of jobs suitable for modern-day hippies.

9) They believe in collective property

Hippies lived in large groups, mainly in the small districts of the US or in the suburbs. And they shared pretty much everything, including property.

Hippy communes had a collective property that equally belonged to each member of their small society. They shared food, they shared bills, money, professions, and everything. Therefore, they believed in the collective property.

However, hippies have never been Communists. So, they live in communes but refuse to be Communists. Is this even possible?

Yes. Communism is a radical form of Socialism, and it does mean that the property is owned by the community and its members share everything equally. However, it also means that this community is ruled by the government.

But hippies never conformed to the government and its rules. They believed that the government led to corruption and violence. Neither were they, socialists. As we said, they simply didn’t have any kind of political ideology. They were free. And they are still free.

Hippies never refused the idea of living in communes. However, they adapted to the modern world. This means that sharing property isn’t a key belief of modern hippies. Still, some hippies still enjoy living together and sharing everything.

10) They value freedom

Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of love, freedom to be yourself. That’s what hippies value the most.

Freedom is the key belief of hippies (alongside peace and love, of course!).

However, freedom and not necessarily sexual liberation. Hippies are often associated with free love. But that’s just one more myth. Even when they had loose relationships, it doesn’t mean that they wanted “free love.”

Instead, they do believe in loyalty. The only reason why they support sexual liberation is that hippies believe everyone deserves freedom. And sometimes freedom has the form of sexual freedom.

To them, freedom is the only way to fight against conformity. That’s why they value freedom.

Bottom line

So, promoting a life of love, a life of peace, and happiness and supporting freedom were the main reasons why the hippie movement was developed.

Things have changed in society since the 1960s, but hippies have remained. Their key beliefs are still the same. They still fight against violence, they still protect nature, and they still have an alternative lifestyle.

What about drugs and Rock N Roll?

An unhealthy lifestyle doesn’t represent the modern hippie subculture anymore. However, they still love vintage, they still tend to protect animals and choose organic food.

Hippies today are known as free spirits. And if this lifestyle is familiar to you and you believe in the importance of love, peace, and happiness, then maybe you’re a modern-day hippie.

Picture of Nato Lagidze

Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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