Saturday hippie: Greens

Maybe it started with the avocado seed held atop a glass with toothpicks. And soon there were houseplants suspended from the ceiling or in front of the windows. It was a look, after all, this going green indoors and then out.

It’s one more element of the Hippie Trails saga.

What do you remember most fondly? And where are you now?

Greens~*~

Hippies came – and still come – in all varieties. Saturday Hippie is a weekly feature that highlights a counterculture awareness and spirit, including a vision of a harmonious global commonwealth on the horizon. The work and the lessons didn’t end in the ’60s and ’70s. Here’s to the Revolution, near and far.

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About those heads … and their tails

If money remembers, it also forgets. Until the beginning of the 20th century, American currency shunned portraits of historic people. Jack Weatherford, author of The History of Money, has written: “Despite nineteenth-century proposals to circulate coins with the likenesses of American heroes such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, public disapproval prevented them: no individual, no matter how great or how popular, could adequately symbolize America.”

So just image would adequately symbolize America?

The buffalo, Indian head, wheat sheave – even Lady Liberty – receded as America became more urban, more militaristic, and perhaps unconsciously more ashamed of the destruction of so much of its natural inheritance.

Beyond heads and tails

You may be catching on that these money issues are a lot livelier than many business and economics commentators would have you believe.

When you examine legal tender, you observe that one side usually presents a human face – “heads,” as you call out in a coin toss.

So what about the other side?

Months after one discussion group had ended its sessions, the participants still found themselves running fresh insights past one another. Fortunately, many of us headed out on Sunday afternoons for an informal dinner at a nearby chowder house. Reminding them of our rather unsuccessful look at cash itself, I broached the question: “Have you ever wondered why it’s heads-and-tails, rather than heads-or-feet, or even faces-or-backs?”

The other adults around the table gave us blank stares, but eleven-year-old Bridget piped up, “Because it’s an animal!”

The stares shifted in her direction.

“Huh, what are you talking about?” her mother asked.

“No, she’s right,” I insisted, and animated discussion ensued.

Technically, you can argue that the heads-and-tails expression arises from the buffalo nickel. But I think that misses the gastrointestinal reality of money issues. After all, as Robert Sardello observes, Sigmund Freud in 1908 “declared that money was more like excrement than gold. We speak of dirty money, filthy lucre, the smell of cash. … Money matters have a dirty side; … and I for one admire those who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.”

The connection should be obvious: money is perceived, at some level, as a four-legged animal.

But what kind? Canine? Bovine? Alligator? Rat? Domesticated? Caged? Or wild and free?

Could it be an animal without legs, such as a snake, fish, or – as slang has long insisted – “clams”?

If heads reflect an idealism regarding currency’s use, do the images of tails then lead you to animalistic desires and needs?

Where in all of this imagery is an acknowledgement of money’s dark side? Are there clear messages of controls and limits? Or is there only noble enlightenment?

Modern psychotherapy often labors to bring hidden memories to the surface. To explore cash, you must delve into the underworld of your subconscious. As you’ve already noticed, whenever coins are present, you are dealing with many emotions.

Saturday hippie: Tassels, studs, lace

Our clothing took on its own adornments.

It’s one more element of the Hippie Trails saga.

What do you remember most fondly?

Tassels

~*~

Hippies came – and still come – in all varieties. Saturday Hippie is a weekly feature that highlights a counterculture awareness and spirit, including a vision of a harmonious global commonwealth on the horizon. The work and the lessons didn’t end in the ’60s and ’70s. Here’s to the Revolution, near and far.

Disquieting deductions

The more you look, the greater the possibility that you’ll find something troubling when it comes to money itself.

For example, the back side of our $1 bill contains symbols that may well reflect freemasonry, a network of organizations practicing oaths, secret handshakes, symbol-laden rings, and even ceremonial clothing.

How do you feel about having our government implicitly endorse a secret society that excludes women from its membership?

The Treasurer of the United States, an appointment traditionally reserved for a woman and whose signature appears on the other side of the bill, could never be affiliated except in the Eastern Star auxiliary! Even so, George Washington was a Mason, as were many other Founding Fathers – and as are many of the people working in the U.S. Printing Office today. Ask any Masons you know about the Great Pyramid and see how they respond; the reaction is informative.

Reexamine these emblems, often hinting at immortality: these secular temples, animals, gods, or America’s blatant slogan, “In God we trust.”

Exactly how do you feel about these images and mottoes?

Should we, like strict Jews of Jesus’ day, be offended and outraged?

Do we usually look the other way?

Can we defend and support their placement on our currency?

Return to the faces on American currency: nearly all are males, usually a president or Founding Father. A matter of patriarchy, one might assume. Notably, the one piece of currency that failed dramatically in recent times carried the likeness of a woman. First time around, the dollar coin honored a woman of Quaker upbringing; she was not a politician, but rather a social reformer: Susan B. Anthony. Later, the government tried Native American Sacagawea, to no greater success. Ask why the president’s wives are not on our currency, and you may be told: “Because they weren’t the heads of state.” Perhaps that, too, is why our currency features Caesar-like renderings rather than animals or landscapes unique to our nation. Caesar reappears, under new guise; we simply hadn’t recognized him.

In news reports on plans to redesign American currency, came this: “Because the pictures of Washington, Lincoln, and Hamilton will be twice as big as they are now, the government will prepare new engravings filled with more fine lines and details. The pictures will be easily recognizable to the public, but harder for counterfeiters to reproduce. New portraits will still be serious and statesmanlike. ‘You won’t see a grinning Ben Franklin,’ a Treasury official said.” That is, serious Saturn rather than playful Puer (youth) holds sway.

Moreover, as you tally these figures, see how many were Army generals, commander-in-chief during wartime, slaveholders, or representative of the great Western expansion.

Savor the irony, too, that the figurehead on our $50 bill went bankrupt in business, while the one on our $100 bill – despite his reputation for Poor Richard’s Almanac – was a spendthrift.

This linkage to heads of state leads you directly into one crucial fact that is easily overlooked: in many functions, money is government! The two are so closely intertwined that they become inseparable. If the government falls, so does its currency; remember what happened to Confederate money as the American Civil War concluded. Or inspect this linkage: the condition of the economy is the pivotal factor deciding the election of an American president; if it’s good, the incumbent party will remain in office. And if it’s weak, expect change. Perhaps all the classical symbolism on our currency simply expresses a hope our system of government will be eternal – disclosing why “in God we trust”!