According to the 19th-century German philosopher, Hegel, history proceeds via dialectic, i.e., the warring of opposites, eventually begetting some sort of synthesis; and then the process begins again. Here I’d like to focus on an astonishing development of that nature in our culture: i.e., how the hirsute, hippied late ‘60s along with the “sensitive” ‘70s of soft rock and introspective films led to an atmosphere that’s very different, even opposite. You know, “Kramer vs. Kramer” and now “Headbangers 29!” Or the Carpenters and now “The Dead Smashed Potatoes!” That’s undoubtedly an exaggerated way of putting it, but you get the drift.
Was it ever thus during the long past? Perhaps. Think, for instance, of the 18th century Enlightenment and its optimistic preaching of unlimited progress, via the eradication of human irrationality. Yes, the era of Locke, Voltaire et al., whose ideals in some ways helped nonetheless to unleash the violent upheaval