The Hallucinatory Effects Of The Counterculture In The 1960s

Decent Essays
Counterculture is defined as “a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm”. The counterculture of the 1960s was an anti-establishment movement based in the UK and the US, which also played a huge role in the civil rights movements as it promoted experimentation of sexuality, women's rights and illicit substances. Theodore Roszak in his book ‘The Making of a Counterculture’ states that the clear difference between the counterculture and the New Left as he refers to the counterculture as ‘a temporary style, continually sloughed off and left for the next wave of adolescents’.
Another writer on this topic by the name of Mark Hamilton Lytle also differentiates the New Left and the counterculture,
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Following the journey of Kesey, Tom Wolfe demonstrates how the drug led to his preliminary ideas, breaking away from society, forming cults based on the taking of psychedelic drugs, most important of which was LSD. Kesey’s acid tests quickly became the counterculture style, Wolfe details the strobe lighting, dayglow face paint and bizarre commentary that allowed those involved to ‘freak freely’. It was these acid tests that were key in forming the counterculture. Students in California quickly took to copying Kesey’s acid tests and eventually became popularized as more and more student were trying LSD after hearing about the experience their peers had on the drug. A reasonable estimate to the growth in the counterculture is the size of the Human Be-In Festival on January 14th 1967, where some 30,000 attended the festival which was a countercultural gathering, focussing largely on…show more content…
After being kicked out of the university for not giving his required lectures, Leary continued to experiment with LSD, altering the environment of the experiments, to try and gain what he believed to be a fully consciousness raising experience. Leary had an important impact in the promulgation of LSD, however he was not as influential as Kesey in the formation of the Californian counterculture. Leary’s emphasis was more centered on LSD itself, and did not, like Kesey, attempt to argue that LSD had nothing to do with the formation of the
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