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Sabtu, 26 Oktober 2013

Heath & Potter: Rebellion or Aberration?

Sabtu, 26 Oktober 2013 22.34 No comments
pic: disneyland hippies by puremormonism.blogspot.com

..Thus, perhaps it’s important to draw a borderline between the rebellious actions against the irrational post-age conventions, with those mere derogatory actions against the legitimate social norms. In other words, we have to knock apart between rebellion and aberration. Rebellion, as if civil rebellion, arises when people basically following the rules, but deep inside they maintain such a pure and honest objection on a certain points of the existing rules. They are rebelling, apart from the consequences that might emerge by these actions. In the other hand, aberration arises when people break the rules for their personal purposes. These two cases might be difficult for us to distinguish, because several people often justify the aberration as a form of rebellion. But partly, it’s because a strong self-delusion. Many aberrant people are so sure of themselves, of what they are conducting is a form of rebellion.

For the example, along the 60s era, there were so many social norms regarding the interaction between genders became the target of blasphemies. For the time being, men were considered a “gentleman” by showing their chivalry, a rather-excessive care about women’s health and pleasure: open the door for them, offer them coat in a bad weather, pay their bills, and so on. Feminists then had a notion that these norms, instead of supporting women, would only confirm the belief about their helplessness and their disability to take care of themselves. Thus, many people started to rebel against these behavior patterns, and adopted a rather egalitarian way. But this rebel, came along with some explicit social aberrations. The men viewed the critics for those old-fashioned chivalry, as a legality to do whatever they please. There are several reports that this matter had triggered an epidemic of atrocity among the men. Instead of finding an alternative way to express their attention and respect, a lot of men even stopped giving their attention at all. For this men, equality means “mind your own business”.

These kind of confusions even get reinforced by the counter culture critic. While we could state here that the main idea of counter culture pull down the boundary between the aberration and the rebellion (perhaps to be more specific, the counter culture started to consider aberration as rebellion). How could we explain the similarity that so much people see between Martin Luther King, civil right movements, and those who fought for freedom in one side, with Harley-Davidson gank, drug dealers, and those who sought for freedom in the other side? The freedom to fight against the tyrrants, to struggle opposing the injustice dominations, could never be equal with the freedom to do as one please, for one’s own personal favor. But precisely, the counter culture diligently obliterate these differences.

It’s so interesting to compare the political programs of Martin Luther King and Abbie Hoffman. In his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, which was written in 1968 while he was imprisoned for his involvement in civil right demonstration of Alabama, King explicitly called for people’s attention regarding the differences between rebellion and aberration: “I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

Let us compare this to the political way of the “Yippie”. Officially, this term is an abbreviation for “Young Internationalist Party”, though Hoffman himself proclaimed that this term got sparked off while he and some of his friends were drunk rolling on the floor, and yelled “yippee!” The Yippies once charged into The National Democratic Convention in Chicago 1968, earning press’s attention by nominating a pig for president, contaminating Chicago water supply with LSD and sent male and female yippies to seduce the delegations and their family and giving them a certain dosis of opium.

Was that an aberration, or a rebellion? There is one simple test that we can conduct to distingush them. It may sound outdated, but it’s still necessary to ask this one simple question, “What if everyone do the same? Will our world be a better place to live in?” If the answer is no, then we got nothing else to be that suspicious. As we will see, a lot of counter culture movements failed to pass this simple test..

–translated from the indonesian translation of The Rebel Sell by Heath and Potter.

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