For some reason, people need judge other people, categorize them into social groups, in order to be able to understand them. In reality, one is no different from another and we all live knowing we are equal, even though each person has a certain individuality – a line of thought, a character, a certain manner. Since childhood it’s been a long journey, with ups and downs and everything changing, evolving, collapsing, re-building, constructing, creating.. hurting, loving, living.
Moving away from the mainstream consuming lifestyle and looking into a simpler way of living, a life full of ethnic music, ethnic colors, ethnic flavors, all sorts of books, paintings, artifacts, various cultures, different components of a well blended interlaced societal mix, seemed like something inevitable, to me at least. In time, this proved to be perceived as “bohemianism” since whomever I met, after 5 minutes of general conversational interaction would mention the term to me. I despise all labels so naturally I did not like being called “boem”, even though if, looking back I can see how this might seem like so, when looking from the outside.
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits, with few permanent ties.
Bohemians can be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds..
The term bohemian, of French origin, was first used in the English language in the nineteenth century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginal-ised and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which were often expressed through free love, frugality, and/or voluntary poverty.
The term ‘Bohemian’ has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits.
A Bohemian is simply an artist or littérateur who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art.
Bohemia (by Gelett Burgess):
“To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind—to spend freely when one has money, and to hope gaily when one has none—to fleet the time carelessly, living for love and art—this is the temper and spirit of the modern Bohemian in his outward and visible aspect.
It is a light and graceful philosophy, but it is the Gospel of the Moment, this exoteric phase of the Bohemian religion; and if, in some noble natures, it rises to a bold simplicity and naturalness, it may also lend its butterfly precepts to some very pretty vices and lovable faults, for in Bohemia one may find almost every sin save that of Hypocrisy. …
His faults are more commonly those of self-indulgence, thoughtlessness, vanity and procrastination, and these usually go hand-in-hand with generosity, love and charity; for it is not enough to be one’s self in Bohemia, one must allow others to be themselves, as well.”
Bohemian lifestyle has it’s roots in counter-culture, which is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition.
As the 1960s progressed, widespread tensions developed in American society that tended to flow along generational lines regarding the war in Vietnam, race relations, sexual mores, women’s rights, traditional modes of authority, and a materialist interpretation of the American Dream.
White, middle-class youth, who made up the bulk of the counterculture, had sufficient leisure time to turn their attention to social issues. These social issues included support for civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights movements, and a rejection of the Vietnam War.
Hippies became the largest countercultural group in the United States. The counterculture also had access to a media eager to present their concerns to a wider public. Demonstrations for social justice created far-reaching changes affecting many aspects of society.
Rejection of mainstream culture was best embodied in the new genres of psychedelic rock music, pop-art and new explorations in spirituality.
Musicians who exemplified this era include The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Cream, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin.
Sentiments were expressed in song lyrics and popular sayings of the period, such as “do your own thing,” “turn on, tune in, drop out”, “whatever turns you on,” and “light my fire.”
Spiritually, the counterculture included interest in astrology, the term “Age of Aquarius” and knowing people’s signs.
The counterculture has been criticised for several reasons: mainstream troubles caused by excess; the death of many notable counter-cultural figures; the passage of remedial legislation.
The counter-culture continues to influence social movements, art and society in general.