CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGE LINK!: Chapter2; FloralDr.; page52-55
At the turn of the 1970’s, sensitivity groups, popular encounters and the divorceé were in the zeitgeist. Group therapies of the 70’s preached a gospel of modern individualism– it was a church of the self. Many therapies of this era rebelled against institutional power relations– including those of traditional mental health structures– in favor of private support mechanisms which organized individual authenticity and confessional as a consumable product. Therapeutic theories of self-empowerment would accelerate movements such as Esalen, EST, even Transcendental Meditation (TM) practices which emphasized (and sold) personal experience over social change. I believe we find precursors to Gordon Geeko’s ‘Greed is Good’ in these earlier movements which turned away from political organizing and institutional engagement; ‘selfishness’ a complete obsession with the self was good. Radical individualism fit firmly within the logics of a shifting capitalism in crisis of the 1970s.
CHECK OUT THE FILMS!
CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGE LINK: Chapter1;Freedom;page17, 21
John Locke’s view of the world sees each person as containing innate human ‘rights’: The right to own property, our bodies, our labor. It is the philosophy necessary for capitalism, democracy, and modern society– These ideas aided bourgeoise landholders to ‘hire’ feudal peasants off the land into their factories. It is also allowed young men, and sometimes women to leave the obligations of their families to seek their fortunes in other lands with opportunities and choices.
Ultimately it allows women and men to choose their own spouses and finally, unchoose them in droves in the 1970s. Locke’s philosophy was the basic requirement for modern individualism. My brother has been an individual since he was a baby.
The conservative philosopher Hobbes describes a world which needs a central authority, a society without this was like a body without a head. Society, according to Hobbes, needs a king, a Pope or a God. Without a central organizing authority society could not stand, became sick and fought itself. Hobbes, like the liberal philosopher Locke has some truth to his thesis. My strong, hyperactive cousins needed a head to their kingdom. Our parents were off finding themselves, I think; be it as free wheeling Republicans, unchained from Protestant self-effacement or as feminist divorceés experimenting with sexual freedom and encounter groups.
CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGES: Chapter2;FloralDr.;page48-49
CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGES!: Chapter2;FloralDr.;page40-41
Cowboys, princesses, genies and army sargents. Chewing sourgrass and playing hopscotch. Hiding. Occassionally seeking.
CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGES!: Chapter2;FloralDr.;page38-39
My mom showed her disapproval of small town conservatism with many discrete acts of disobedience; a peace pendant, a continued allegiance to her ex-husband’s atheist tenets and a fanatical commitment to family planning. It didn’t occur to her, as it did me at the time that this could be understood as an existential critique of her brother’s children and at times, even her own.
CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGES!: Chapter2;FloralDr.;page36-37
The highly competitive American culture
encourages facade building. The process is an isolating
and crippling one. since it curtails communication
not only with others……but with oneself.
CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGES! Chapter2;FloralDr.;page32-35
Wrong place, wrong time. We; my mom, my brother and I were good foils for the inner conflicts of the socially conservative yearning for objects of disdain or exemplary moral decay; my mother, corrupted by east coast intellectuals and divorce; my brother, weird and feral, an eight year old unable to sit still or cease pontification on Bobby Fischer or Karl Marx or Picasso. Me, too young to choose a side but already groomed to dispense with princesses in favor of the runaway or vagabond. From our arrival in Whittier, my mother and brother wanted nothing more than to escape this judgmental place. I was torn. My grandmother’s suburban complex–built during the depression with a swimming pool and patio garden added later– was where I learned an algebra of meaning: reading in Grandma’s living room was the formula. Outdoors was the alchemy of a semi-tropical environment where fantastical flora and unnatural fauna invited a paradoxical belief in worlds larger than our confined and dissolute suburban life.
My mom would have been stymied by the idea of her going back East after
the divorce; The divorce wasn’t what she wanted but she was desperately
glad to be out of the snow, formality and isolation of the east coast. On
many levels, she was determined
to leave the cold behind.
CHECK OUT SAMPLE PAGES!: Chapter1;Freedom;page1.b
In 1969, my parents both left Michigan,
in opposite directions.
Freedom meant something different to everyone in those days.