Hippies and Saint Francis

The hippies like to relate to such ancient figures as Hillel, the 1st century B.C. Jewish prophet of modesty and peace, and of course to Christ (“a groovy cat”). Buddha, they recall proudly, was a dropout from a royal family who later came back to the palace and turned on his father, the king, with nothing more than sincerity and a mendicant’s bowl. St. Francis of Assisi, who left a rich Italian merchant family to live in poverty among the birds and beasts, is another hero, along with Gandhi (for his patient nonviolence), Aldous Huxley (for his praise of hallucinogens in Doors of Perception), and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbits (with their quirky gentleness and hairy toes). Read more

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