Introduction to My Odyssey
Michael Bowen Introduction
The truth of the Human Be-In is the perennial message of Love. It was The Human Be-In, as we now are beginning to comprehend world-wide, which initiated another event called the Summer of Love. It was this never-to-be-forgotten summer of 1967, the Summer of Love, which empowered many young minds to go forward with ideas of all kinds that benefit us today. The message of Love – love as the basis of reality – was placed into the genetic memory once again beginning that day, January 14, 1967, and this message expanded its highest points for months as it spread over the world. This was the same message as Christ gave, or the message of the Buddha, with one great difference that should be understood from the beginning – All of humanity has within it the ability to be as any of those in the past who were offered as leaders, or exemplars, of the love of which we speak. There is only One. You are that One. How, and in what way you are that One, is left for you to understand. There can be no more room for a leader. All must be leaders, all must be One.
All great movements of humanity begin with a small group. Sometimes, one person is capable of telling the whole story, since the group of individuals working together eventually center around the actions of a single person. This book makes clear that every person, every individual, if they have enough determination and motivation, can initiate progressive societal change. Within these pages is the tale of one such person, an artist in San Francisco, who had been abused and brutalized by social injustice and personal cruelty. This artist became so sufficiently enraged and disgusted by human insensitivity that he decided he would find a way to overcome an entire society, and expose the foolishness of violence and hatred inherent within modern civilization for future generations to reflect upon. The story you will hear encompasses hundreds of people, and then thousands, and finally millions, acting ultimately from their own consciousness, from their own place of One. Although the artist is the central figure throughout this rendering, the protagonist can be thought of as yourself. What would you do if you found yourself in similar circumstances? Would you act as he did, and decide to overturn an entire society if that what would be necessary to get back what belonged to you? These are hypothetical questions, yet this artist knew what belonged to him; the burden of caring for another human being, his own child. As you read the story presented in these pages, you may identify with the struggles of this artist, because all human beings have been exploited, oppressed, and beaten down in some unique manner known only to them. If so, you will gain something beneficial and powerful. Certainly you will know, and clearly understand, that one human being eventually seeing himself as One, rather than separate, can change the entire movement of a social structure. The lasting significance of love as the basis of reality is not some sentimental ideal. It is a movement that continues to manifest, grow, and mature.
This same message of love was kept alive by the thousands down through the ages who were capable of reaching back to love to understand their place in the miracle of humanity. These grand eruptions of the message of love come in times of turmoil, when the human race faces a terrible unbalance. The message of the Summer of Love came at a time of Nuclear weapons, and planetary disruption on many levels. These disturbing situations again threaten the continuation of the miracle of humanity. For this reason, human beings persistently reach back to that day, January 14, 1967, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, when the message of love was given a new way of manifesting, a way that is still suitable to counteract a comparable situation and danger that humanity faces now.
The artist that appears in this epic story is alive today, in 2007. He continues the same work with the same intensity and resolute purpose as he did in the past. What had been done then was shaped for that time; what is being done now is shaped for this time. This artist came from a prosperous family in Beverly Hills, California, one that was dysfunctional, fought, drugged themselves, drank liquor to anesthetize their pain, made lots of money, and eventually destroyed themselves. He escaped from them and began his career very young. But in 1963, after almost eight years of surviving and making a living working as an artist, he was oblivious to poverty. From one perspective, he had little money. He sometimes had to put newspapers in his shoes, because of the holes in the bottom of them, in order to keep out the water from San Francisco’s damp streets. But this artist learned early in life that merely having money does not make a person wealthy; true affluence is a more subjective experience, and not dependent upon one’s bank balance. Like his bohemian friends, he survived with cleverness. If there was no money for paints, he created artwork with junk and tar found on the street. Some of those early artistic masterpieces, using discarded items thrown away by others, are now gracing major museums of the world. How this artist created his art, and influenced necessary cultural changes, will be explored within the focus of this incredible story.
Possibly you, the reader, can put yourself in his newspaper-soaked shoes, so to speak, and come to know and appreciate that you have within yourself a great power — the same power referred to in this book – the power of One. This strength and intensity of will is almost impossible to understand unless you go inside; you go IN, and there you will find One. Like the artist walking the foggy streets of San Francisco, you too can become aware of One. And you may become angry, in fact enraged, at the inhuman and hate filled creeds continually being pressed upon you. You might make a decision to change society for the better. He did.
The Human Be-In was designed to reverse the entire thought process of the human race. Why would such a thing be desirable? The answer is in the obvious. Starting from the industrial revolution, the human race had developed a series of archetypal thought structures, the result of which could only be more suffering, more misery, more death, more war, and more poverty. It was necessary to create a singular event, one which would in turn trigger multiple events, setting into motion a means to carry the seeds of complete change. This change, and the need for such an extraordinary event, was also obvious. The mind of humanity, based on its archetypical thinking, had produced a monstrosity of suffering, and the ability to destroy all life on earth. There is no secret in this.
Everyone knows of weapons of mass destruction and the endless litany of such insanity. Following the logic of the human archetypical thinking up until that moment in time of the Human Be-In, the very idea of a Summer of Love was a ridiculous suggestion; if anything, 1967, should have been the Summer of Hate. Moreover, until the moment that the Human Be-In triggered the Summer of Love, the potential existed for the summer of 1967, to become a summer of abhorrence. This had to be changed, and it was changed, but not by some form of accident or coincidence; the situation was changed by human beings who had seen this state of affairs developing since well before the industrial revolution. After great preparatory work took place all over the planet, the Human Be-In, as it came to be called, was created. The trigger mechanism, a catalyst, had been found and the Summer of Love was the spontaneous result. Hopefully, as you read this book, you will come to know how the lasting message of love is continually brought to the human race, fresh and ready to use again.
Love is not a message that a single individual has given. But it is a message that many individuals experienced that day, and a message that once more became imprinted in the human psyche. Thousands would become the inspired carriers of the message of love, based on freedom and will, and would be ready to enact this message and send it forth to all humankind. It was enacted according to each individual’s idea of how the improvements and changes, obvious to themselves, could be accomplished on a practical level. For example, there were those that realized that no one knew the contents of the food they were eating in packs of frozen vegetables and fruits, or the contents in a simple can of soup. These individuals went forward and brought about the labeling laws we now take for granted. Others realized a simple fact – there were no laws or facilities in place for people who had physical handicaps. This all changed after the Summer of Love, as people became inspired and practical with their various agendas to make a better world. Another example was to take steps to control the use of poisons, like DDT, which were marketed to the masses as being beneficial when sprayed onto our crops, but instead cumulatively poisoned whole populations, until they were gotten rid of by aware individuals. There are many, many other examples of needed evolutionary changes which took place as a direct result of the Summer of Love’s socially irritating inspiration. In this way, the individuals who felt as if they were the embodiments of the message of the Christ or Buddha, and other real or mythical bringers of love and light, would transfer their optimism and wisdom to the seekers of today.
It is not possible that reality is based upon hatred. Nor is it possible that our intricate reality is based upon accident. In the end analysis, only love serves as the logical basis for our reality. It is the individual’s personality, intelligence, and ability that will spread this message, which will establish the new manifestations. But spread it they can, because innovative tools are now here. And spread it they will, because they must. They must, because not to spread the message of love to every being, is to risk the annihilation of all beings. The tools for extinction also exist now, as they did in 1967, in the form of weapons of mass destruction. This danger persists because the earth upon which we depend for life has not been respected. That respect can only come from love. To love the earth is to respect it. To love humanity and all living creatures is respect. And respect, driven by the understanding of love as the basis of our reality, is the cure needed for the imbalance occurring now in the Christian calendar of 2007. The Human race acts according to need. One might even say desperate need. This is now more apparent than ever. Love, combined with the power of collective human will, can find the solutions necessary to reverse the many directions pushing the human race towards annihilation.
Michael Bowen in front of his 1964 painting “Miracle of Humanity” exhibited at the De Young Museum in San Francisco
Aquarian Goddess Singing the Song of Love