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Woodstock

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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As I commemorate the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock, let me be clear: it was by no means three days of Utopia. Woodstock was accompanied by adversities, struggles, temptations, sins, and failures. The masses that gathered had to confront inclement weather, food shortages, organizational chaos, and a myriad of other difficulties and challenges. And they also had to confront their own individual and collective demons. In other words, Woodstock was a microcosm – a grand and glorious microcosm – of life in general.

Yet the folks gathered somehow found a way to come together, to endure the hardships by meeting each other's needs with a communal spirit of love and unity. They were both brave enough and humble enough to believe that peace and love alone could prevail. And for three days it did.

They didn’t need a political leader. They didn’t need a constitutional document. They didn’t need voting booths. They didn’t need cops. They simply needed each other. And for a transcendent weekend those blessed people found a way to celebrate the joy of life and the spirit of music without violence or prejudice or hate.

Babies were born. Children danced. Life was conceived. Fences were literally torn down. Capitalism crumbled under the irrepressible weight of the human spirit. The powers of politics and war and greed and oppression were universally rebuked by the power of music and the spirit of non-coerced human cooperation. Freedom echoed through rain and mud and amplified guitars.

For all of its so-called failures, Woodstock actually showed us that it is indeed possible to find our way back to the Garden. But like those assembled at Yasgur’s farm 50 years ago, we have to work and struggle together. We have to unite in humility and love in order to make it through the storms and find our way back home. And as one of the holy saints said: “No one goes to heaven by themselves, alone.” We are always either damned or saved together.

50 years ago a whole bunch of idealistic people showed us that love and creativity, peace and unity, cooperation and grace can actually make a difference. And as a 51 year old man, I'm foolish enough to believe it still can.



Selam, +GMK+


 
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I was born a decade and half after Woodstock. I know someone who went to Woodstock 99. I wish I would have went but I was only a teen and I am thankful I didn't go because there were riots. But the original Woodstock I wish I could have been there to see The Who, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, and many more. I hear a lot of LSD was going around though and that most of the food was laced with some kind of psychedelic substance. I have never tried these kinds of drugs before so I don't know how I would feel about that. Now I have tried marijuana a few times in the past but I wasn't a huge fan of it because it made me very paranoid. Drugs don't seem spiritually healthy. But I don't judge anyone who uses them because I know people can have real world insights about many things like physics or philosophy. :)
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Isaiah53IsMessiah said:
I was born a decade and half after Woodstock. I know someone who went to Woodstock 99. I wish I would have went but I was only a teen and I am thankful I didn't go because there were riots. But the original Woodstock I wish I could have been there to see The Who, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, and many more. I hear a lot of LSD was going around though and that most of the food was laced with some kind of psychedelic substance. I have never tried these kinds of drugs before so I don't know how I would feel about that. Now I have tried marijuana a few times in the past but I wasn't a huge fan of it because it made me very paranoid. Drugs don't seem spiritually healthy. But I don't judge anyone who uses them because I know people can have real world insights about many things like physics or philosophy. :)
I appreciate those thoughts. I doubt that many people were unwittingly dosed with LSD, although I'm sure it did happen. You are wise to avoid drugs. Aldous Huxley wrote a wonderful book called "The Doors of Perception" that details his experiments with LSD and Mescaline. His ultimate conclusion was that while psychedelics can indeed open up "doors of perception," they cannot answer or resolve the fundamental problem of our human responsibility to our fellow man.

Baba Ram Dass, who was close friends with Timothy Leary, spoke at my high school when I was a senior. He said very emphatically that there are no shortcuts to spiritual enlightenment, and that those who seek enlightenment through drug use are embarking on a very dangerous endeavor.

As for the hippie movement in general, I deeply admire its commitment to peace, its resistance to corrupt authority, and its effort to solve social problems through non-coerced communal cooperation. But the rampant drug use and sexual licentiousness proved to be deeply destructive. So, as with most things, we as Orthodox Christians should seek to learn from the good and avoid the bad.

Selam
 

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Woodstock and its commemorations are a triumph of capitalism.
 

Luke

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"Woodstock was designed as a profit-making venture. It became a "free concert" only after the event drew hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for. Tickets for the three-day event cost $18 in advance and $24 at the gate (equivalent to about $120 and $160 today[15]). Ticket sales were limited to record stores in the greater New York City area, or by mail via a post office box at the Radio City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan. Around 186,000 advance tickets were sold, and the organizers anticipated approximately 200,000 festival-goers would turn up.[17]" -- from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock
 

Mor Ephrem

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“For all of its so-called failures, Woodstock actually showed us that it is indeed possible to find our way back to the Garden.”

So much for the Cross.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Mor Ephrem said:
“For all of its so-called failures, Woodstock actually showed us that it is indeed possible to find our way back to the Garden.”

So much for the Cross.
What about that sentence implies that the Cross is not necessary? There were many things about Woodstock that actually reflect the message of the Cross: suffering, mercy, sacrificial cooperation, and brotherly love. Let's not be like fundamentalists who can't see anything positive or good outside of their own myopic dogmas.

Selam
 

Ainnir

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It’s not fundamentalism to say that the only way back to Eden is through the Cross.  Any secular attempt at brotherly love is a futile grasping for this, not a newly illumined path.
 
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biro said:
It was supposed to last three days. Said so on the poster.
Yeah. The concert was for three days. But what happened to all the communes? If they were really able to live in peace and happiness so well, where did they go?
 

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Gloria Tibi Trinitas said:
Yeah. The concert was for three days. But what happened to all the communes? If they were really able to live in peace and happiness so well, where did they go?
The concert ended and they went home.  :)
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Ainnir said:
It’s not fundamentalism to say that the only way back to Eden is through the Cross.  Any secular attempt at brotherly love is a futile grasping for this, not a newly illumined path.
It's an unorthodox and fundamentalist mindset that is blind to the truth and goodness and beauty in anything that does not adhere 100% to a particular dogma. Woodstock was neither the Church nor some mass demonic cult leading people to hell.

Selam
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Gloria Tibi Trinitas said:
If it was such a success, why didn't it last more than a few weeks or a summer at best?
It did last much longer. It's still lasting. Peace and love and human brotherhood are still going strong even amidst the violence and hatred in the world.

Selam
 

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I agree with the poster to an extent that Woodstock was a response to many of the horrible social conditions - like the Vietnam War draft, corporatism, the social inequality between blacks and whites, etc. but it was a response that went way far above than addressing just these problem, including the encouragement of New Age and Eastern Mysticism, drug use, sex, and the obsession of trying to deconstruct  society to the very foundation, and reconstructing a fictional version of it according to the whims and passions of these individuals that can never be fully defined in terms of its goals, methodology, etc.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. But I think they went too drastic.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Eamonomae said:
I agree with the poster to an extent that Woodstock was a response to many of the horrible social conditions - like the Vietnam War draft, corporatism, the social inequality between blacks and whites, etc. but it was a response that went way far above than addressing just these problem, including the encouragement of New Age and Eastern Mysticism, drug use, sex, and the obsession of trying to deconstruct  society to the very foundation, and reconstructing a fictional version of it according to the whims and passions of these individuals that can never be fully defined in terms of its goals, methodology, etc.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. But I think they went too drastic.
Yes, broadly speaking I agree. But I think we err when we overgeneralize. Most people there just wanted to hear some good music and have a good time. They weren't trying to change the world or make a statement. But the fact that so many people from so many backgrounds were able to celebrate life and music for three straight days without any violence made a statement in and of itself. And I think that was pretty dang cool.

But yeah, in and amongst it all, there were certainly some godless ideas and destructive practices.

Selam
 

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It was, evidently, a great time for a lot of people there. I'm sure a lot of people had deeply meaningful experiences there. And in certain altered states of consciousness I imagine the music was great, though it mostly seems boring as hell to me. I guess it's really one of those "you had to have been there" things.

No, it did not end the war or overthrow capitalism or have much tangible, radical effect on society but I think it could be fairly argued that any kind of unprogrammed communal joy is a step outside of capital, even if it does not directly threaten capital or overthrow it. On the other hand many in that generation did have a certain ugly hubris- that they were the people to change the world- which they carried with them through subsequent decades, now into their dotage.

Still, though Woodstock- the image, the music, the nostalgia, etc.- are commodities now but that doesn't mean the lived experience had to be. Conscious attempts to reproduce it are also doomed to fail. But just viewing it as a semi-spontaneous, communal experience of joy and love, Woodstock was hardly the first- or even best- such event and not the last one either.
 

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I remember Woodstock ~ I didn't go ~ it was out here too ~ the Free Love movement was on the West Coast as well ~ started here ~ The Haight-Ashbury District in San Francisco ~ Beach Area southern California ~ free love ~ remember the young girls ~ with nowhere to go when winter set in ~ the were left to pay their way with what they hitch hiked in with  ~ poor things ~ what ~ do you ever wonder ~ became of them ~ same in other places ~ living in filth ~ but free ~ at Woodstock ~ laying in the open where everything was free ~ piles of human waste lying next to you the fly and vomit ~ puddles of who knows what when it rained ~ those were the days ```



 

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Isaiah53IsMessiah said:
I was born a decade and half after Woodstock. I know someone who went to Woodstock 99. I wish I would have went but I was only a teen and I am thankful I didn't go because there were riots. But the original Woodstock I wish I could have been there to see The Who, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, and many more. I hear a lot of LSD was going around though and that most of the food was laced with some kind of psychedelic substance. I have never tried these kinds of drugs before so I don't know how I would feel about that. Now I have tried marijuana a few times in the past but I wasn't a huge fan of it because it made me very paranoid. Drugs don't seem spiritually healthy. But I don't judge anyone who uses them because I know people can have real world insights about many things like physics or philosophy. :)
Because we all know that Einstein, Heisenberg, Teller, Opprnheimer, Lorentz, Planck, Schroedinger, Turing and van Neumann were dropping acid and taking shrooms while working out the basics of quantum mechanics, general relativity, and computer science.  That is doubtless why atom bombs have mushroom clouds instead of boring square clouds.  :p

That said, regarding philosophy, I think it reasonable to assume most of the spiritual leaders of India since the era of the “Gymnosophists” like Buddha and Mahavira were stoned, especially the Vaishnav and Shaivite saddhus, who are known for smoking hashish.
 

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Brilko said:
Woodstock is the coolest little bird there ever was. I’m not all that high on hippies.
 

Sethrak

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You've heard of "Burning Man" ???? You know in Nevada Desert ~ people go ~ well ~ more prepared, most of them ~ now it's not free ~ but ~ kind FREEEEEE ~ everyone being as free eaky as they want ~ Every year ~ no don't think I'll go this next year ether  ~ a few people I know go ~ some can't wait to go again ```

You have heard of Burning Man ~ I guess it depends on where you live ```

I ordered this pump and sand filter for the hot tub ~ nice unit ~ well ~ the motor is just a little over 1/3 HP ~ that's fine ~ I hope however it will kick on the heater ~ I usually have, sometines 1 1/2 HP or at least 1/2 ~ I'm pretty sure it will ~ but now as I wait for the unit to come ~ I began to wonder ~ maybe I should go to the prayer forum ~ wouldn't really ```

 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Sethrak said:
I remember Woodstock ~ I didn't go ~ it was out here too ~ the Free Love movement was on the West Coast as well ~ started here ~ The Haight-Ashbury District in San Francisco ~ Beach Area southern California ~ free love ~ remember the young girls ~ with nowhere to go when winter set in ~ the were left to pay their way with what they hitch hiked in with  ~ poor things ~ what ~ do you ever wonder ~ became of them ~ same in other places ~ living in filth ~ but free ~ at Woodstock ~ laying in the open where everything was free ~ piles of human waste lying next to you the fly and vomit ~ puddles of who knows what when it rained ~ those were the days ```
Good post. Very poetic, and full of truth.

I would simply say that the same tragic fate applies to any and all "movements" or "revolutions" or political ideologies that elevate any philosophy or idea over and above love for God and love for others.

In San Francisco people puke and defecate and die in the streets. In Hollywood people puke and defecate and die in their mansions. Sin and death take no prisoners.

Selam
 

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Square clouds?

Not every drug instantly turns everyone into a raving maniac.
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Ainnir said:
It’s not fundamentalism to say that the only way back to Eden is through the Cross.  Any secular attempt at brotherly love is a futile grasping for this, not a newly illumined path.
It's an unorthodox and fundamentalist mindset that is blind to the truth and goodness and beauty in anything that does not adhere 100% to a particular dogma. Woodstock was neither the Church nor some mass demonic cult leading people to hell.

Selam
You assume anyone is challenging that there is truth, beauty, and goodness all around us and in other people.  Of course there is; God is not Somewhere Else, and we don't believe in total depravity.  That's not the issue.

I'd actually started to comment on this before lunch, so for context:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
For all of its so-called failures, Woodstock actually showed us that it is indeed possible to find our way back to the Garden. But like those assembled at Yasgur’s farm 50 years ago, we have to work and struggle together. We have to unite in humility and love in order to make it through the storms and find our way back home.
My issue is the bolded.  It doesn't matter if it was the best thing people ever did.  Christ is the Way back to the Garden.  Woodstock does not point to this, and therefore, no it does not show us it's possible to find our way back to Eden.  This isn't even a knock on Woodstock or your larger point, but yes I am very firmly pointing out the spiritual flaw in that particular line.  I wasn't going to be that way earlier, but now it seems warranted.

Maybe Woodstock was everything else you attribute to it; I'm not addressing any of that.  Simply the bolded.  Because it's wrong.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Ainnir said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Ainnir said:
It’s not fundamentalism to say that the only way back to Eden is through the Cross.  Any secular attempt at brotherly love is a futile grasping for this, not a newly illumined path.
It's an unorthodox and fundamentalist mindset that is blind to the truth and goodness and beauty in anything that does not adhere 100% to a particular dogma. Woodstock was neither the Church nor some mass demonic cult leading people to hell.

Selam
You assume anyone is challenging that there is truth, beauty, and goodness all around us and in other people.  Of course there is; God is not Somewhere Else, and we don't believe in total depravity.  That's not the issue.

I'd actually started to comment on this before lunch, so for context:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
For all of its so-called failures, Woodstock actually showed us that it is indeed possible to find our way back to the Garden. But like those assembled at Yasgur’s farm 50 years ago, we have to work and struggle together. We have to unite in humility and love in order to make it through the storms and find our way back home.
My issue is the bolded.  It doesn't matter if it was the best thing people ever did.  Christ is the Way back to the Garden.  Woodstock does not point to this, and therefore, no it does not show us it's possible to find our way back to Eden.  This isn't even a knock on Woodstock or your larger point, but yes I am very firmly pointing out the spiritual flaw in that particular line.  I wasn't going to be that way earlier, but now it seems warranted.

Maybe Woodstock was everything else you attribute to it; I'm not addressing any of that.  Simply the bolded.  Because it's wrong.
I appreciate your diligence. It's very important. And I mean that sincerely.

I would point out that I stated that Woodstock actually showed us that it is indeed possible to find our way back to the Garden. Words are important. I did not say that Woodstock "showed us the way back to the Garden," or that Woodstock "was the way back to the Garden." I simply said that Woodstock showed us that it is possible to find our way back to the Garden. And it would be highly unorthodox to assert that it is impossible to find our way back to the Garden.

Selam

 

Ainnir

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hecma925 said:
A Paradise like Woodstock sounds awful.
You obviously haven't tried it.  :laugh:
 

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My uncle unloaded several pounds of patchouli oil at that festival. Actually he made his fortune at Woodstock.
 

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My mom wanted to go to Woodstock, but her parents told her that if she went there or if she participated in any other hippie protests of any kind, they would stop paying for her college, her car, etc. so she chickened out.  :D
 
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