The hippie triumph

Our society continues to be greatly influenced by an experiment that turned out to be the most controversial movement of modern times – the hippie revolution.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a huge countercultural experiment took place; at its heart was a quest for utopia – an ideal place where individuals could live together in harmony, with complete freedom to fulfil their personal destiny. Through love, music, drugs and communion with nature, hippies – a tribe of idealists – realised this utopia. It was an experiment that redefined mainstream radical rethinking, teaching the world to stand up and challenge the status quo. The hippie revolution not only lifted the lid of oppression and conformity, but created choices for individuals and groups that didn’t exist before. From environment to natural foods movement, women's rights to gay liberation movement, alternative medicine to Eastern spiritual movement, the world owes a lot to the hippie revolution.

Ironically, the greatest impact of the hippie revolution wasn’t cultural, it was technological.

It was the hippie revolution that led to the personal computer movement. Wearing sandals, eating seeds and bathing in India’s Ganges River, hippies, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, created Apple 2 in the late 1970s; it was the world’s first commercially viable personal computer. The idea behind this computer was to empower every individual and make him a master on his own, changing the way we work and play.

It was the hippie revolution that led to the Internet movement. Stuart Brand, another hippie, created the Whole Earth Catalogue – something like the Google in paperback form – influenced by the commune movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was instrumental in forging the paradigm that led to the World Wide Web. The Internet empowered individuals even more, taking away the power from mediating institutions and putting it in the hands of people, changing the way we connect, make differences and stay in control.

Empowering individuals and putting them in control, are in many ways, the logical outgrowth of the philosophy of the hippie revolution.

The hippie revolution has ended, but its ideals continue to influence our thinking, reset our priorities, and open the doors to a whole universe of innovative products and businesses.

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