Furthermore about the hippie subculture:
I laid in bed last night, realizing that I had forgotten to state my main point, which was actually Jason's main annoyance about this sub-counter-culture we sometimes find ourselves in (thereby highlighting the slippery slope of trying to convey someone else's thoughts, however pertinent to your own). The main point is not annoyance at people dressing or thinking like each other; such is unavoidable. The main point is smugness, despite the stated and assumed values of openness, naturalness, wholeness, and so on. Smugness is what is so troublesome.
The Quarry Market experience in San Antonio was the main prompting for this discussion between us, because at the Market, all of a sudden, after 7 months, we were plopped down into a group of people like whom we look, smell, and eat. Kinda made us go, "whoa." I hadn't given a thought to the people, or specifically to my interactions with them, because I was so enthralled to be walking through a Whole Foods store with a HUGE aisle of bulk food, samples of cheese and chocolate and tea around every bend, the smells of coffee and castille soap transporting us out of the southern Texas we have known so far. But Jason noticed the general air of aloofness among our fellow shoppers, people keeping to themselves, not offering many friendly smiles or gestures. We felt this same way in Flagstaff several years back, like outsiders, except among a few people we actually got to know. And that's the rub, right? Getting to know people.
There's a big difference between analyzing trends within groups - a perfectly warranted endeavor, in my opinion - and tossing everybody you meet into categories. Human-tossing can be a fun and easy past time, but it discounts people's stories and complexities. A big word for me lately, apart from all this, has been "connection." What's life if we're not connected to the people around us, finding common ground, trying to understand each other? It takes effort and creativity, empathy and patience. That doesn't mean we agree with everything everybody does, but it does mean approaching relationships with more humility. Very little positive change occurs apart from connection with each other.
Lastly, I have to personally watch this smugness thing. I'm learning to be alarmed if my first thought about another person or group is, "I'm not like that." Even in the most extreme cases, couldn't we be nearly anybody, if the circumstances were just so? We'd like to think there's no way we could be talked into pushing the neighbor lady into a gas chamber. But hey, if it's 1938 Germany, and it's either her or your kids, what are you gonna do? The neighbor lady was far too nosy anyway, right? There's such a fine line between having strong ideas and convictions, and thinking those make me more worthwhile than the next guy.