Societal Improvements in the 1960s

Societal Improvements in the 1960s

Social Evolution and Wellbeing

The rebuilding of society under a constantly improving work ethic pervaded all aspects of society. By the mid 1960s, the cutting-edge understanding was that organisations, jobs, personal growth and productivity were all factors that can work together and when they do, will create optimum outcomes. The traditional management/worker conflict was now known to be dysfunctional, and management came to be seen as a process of balancing scarce inputs.

Work was no longer regarded as a demeaning sacrifice that detracted from a worker’s true needs, but became understood as a mode of invigoration and development, a way of enabling workers to fulfil their inner needs, including the need for psychological growth, the development of skills, talents and abilities, and self-actualisation or functioning on a higher level. Some workers would spend their summers working on a building site and their winters working in an office, to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Individual Improvement

Throughout the 1960s, people at all levels of society could see, feel, and experience all aspects of their lives improving. As general social interaction mellowed and became more open and trusting, a personal transformation was taking place across a whole generation. . Psychology became nurturing, management became humane, and teenagers morphed from the rebellious youth of the 1950s to the flower children of the 1960s. The positive change in consciousness put many youth and young adults a quantum leap ahead of the society that grew them up and educated them.

The second half of the 1960s was a period of unprecedented confidence, optimism and common goodwill. People were becoming kinder, more considerate and more forgiving of themselves. Guilt, shame and self-doubt, were dissolving, disappearing. People were no longer so inclined to beat up on themselves, or needing to use other people to reassure themselves. They were more accepting of themselves and others, and experiencing themselves becoming more integrated, authentic, original, real and unique.

Uplifting Social Milieu

Around the world, people at every stratum could feel something was happening on many levels simultaneously. It seemed that the social and the personal were nurturing each other. Individually, people were becoming more centred, emotionally self-contained, less needy, more accepting. People were waking up to find themselves unexpectedly and unexplainably buoyant, as if nothing could dampen their spirits, and it would continue throughout the day, day after day, month after month, without identifiable reasons. We seemed to have created a general social milieu that was way ahead of our formal societal structures and was uplifting of everybody in general.

Amplified in Groups

And they were finding this same buoyancy amplified in one another’s company. Collectively in groups, a coherency amongst people was developing, the usual tensions were dissolving, and an interactive ease was arising that was almost tangible. The dynamic nature of groups was changing. We had always understood mobs and gangs to be where individuals’ worst qualities would often manifest. Now we could experience ourselves being uplifted by the energies that were collectively manifesting. Youth and young adults had morphed from the lowest common denominator of ther early fifties, to the highest common purpose of the late sixties. The ‘uplifting social milieu’ effect was happening on a more intensive level within groups. A general buzz was emerging, and many of the youth were exitedly discussing optimistic possibilities for the future.

Yes Referendum

In Australia, the 1967 referendum to

  • make laws for all of the Australian people;  and to
  • take account of Aboriginal people in determining the population of Australia,

which implied social inclusion, was so resounding in favour at 90.7%, in a country where referendums traditionally fail, that everybody was surprised. They discovered in a single moment that almost all of their fellow citizens shared the same goodwill and consideration as themselves. Everybody could share in the positive outcome of societal upliftment.

Travelling Through Friendly, Welcoming Arab and Muslim Lands

In those optimistic days, there existed an overland backpackers trail between Australia and Europe.  A person could enjoy a culturally enlightening tour by hitchhiking and taking buses and trains through and around Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran on the way.  Much of the now, war-torn world was a friendly, safe and welcoming place, and many travellers became introduced to various forms of traditional sustainable community living.

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