5 Ways To Live Counterculturally

Being a revolutionary has been reduced to an aesthetic, from hashtag activism to social media virtue signaling. The punks and hippies of decades past aren’t rebels anymore; they’re now faithful servants of the establishment they once fought to dismantle.

By Robyn Riley5 min read
5 Ways To Live Counterculturally

Nowadays, it’s more countercultural to be old-fashioned, rather than instantly adopting the newest cultural “trend.” Our culture has become so toxic that regular people seeking healthy normal lives and who value truth over feelings are the new subversives. 

In our overly online and inescapably technological lives, the people who desire to return to traditional and perhaps old-fashioned lifestyles are the ones who are sincerely challenging mainstream ideas of how we should live and be. 

Turning Back to “Old-Fashioned” Living

Culture swings like a pendulum. Not so long ago the mainstream and normal culture was one of postwar nationalism and religious conservatism that encouraged us to do things that were good for us and to be proud of our ancestors and who we are. 

The civil rights movement in the ’60s was a response to this culture that was seen as rigid and lacking individualism. The youth movements of the day wanted mental and physical freedom which manifested itself in the form of widespread recreational drug use and the Sexual Revolution.

The culture that was inspired by freedom-loving beatniks who championed freedom of speech and thought in their iconic songs and artwork, which flourished on campuses such as Berkeley, are now overrun by triggered social justice warriors hunting down conservatives guilty of wrong think. 

I’m reminded of a quote by Carl Sagan: “It pays to be open-minded, but not so open your brain falls out.” The relativism of the hippie movement in challenging all normality that held society together, such as family, gender, race, and capitalism, left no room for objectivity or truth. In the pursuit of being open to everything, the movement resulted in producing nothing of enduring quality. 

It pays to be open-minded, but not so open your brain falls out.

All things that once were the underpinnings of our culture have been turned on their head, and we’ve seen the breaking down of cultural norms ever since. Happy families are considered rare, men and women are at odds with one another, and much work has been done to divide and conquer the population on the basis of race and economic status. 

Thankfully, the pendulum always swings back, and in rejection of the decay and degeneration which has resulted from social justice, cultural Marxism, and critical theory, people are looking back to simpler times for answers for how to build their lives. Because the common narrative of casual sex, corporate ladders, and being happy “just the way we are” is obviously not some newly invented path to happiness. Here are five ways you can fight the culture of meaninglessness.

1. Make Marriage and Family a Priority

The mainstream culture encourages us to see marriage as an outdated and risky arrangement, only to be entered into after potentially dating for a decade. Men and women alike have been made to think of sex as a causal and consequence-free act that you do for fun or purely for the sake of pleasure. 

If we want to be real rebels, instead of engaging in casual sex we should consider saving ourselves for someone special. 

Those who wish to avoid the damage that can be done by sleeping around say no to casual sex, they date to marry, and, instead of becoming sexually experienced, they develop themselves into marriage material so the person they attract is interested in them for other reasons than just because they’re sexy. When men and women prioritize making themselves into marriage material, they attract partners who are marriage material. 

We have been told by every authority figure our entire lives that women must not rely on men; we must be independent and spend our twenties trying to establish a career. This situation just finds women in their thirties with a livable salary but lowered chances of finding a good man. If women plan on having a career, that’s great, but finding someone to build a family with who can support and care for you should be the priority. Be a rebel — get married and have kids.

2. Learn To Think for Yourself

When we think of what a counterculture does best, we have to acknowledge the fearlessness and freedom with which people express themselves. To be truly countercultural, you must be willing to think independently from the herd and honor your own ability to discern what the truth is. This means developing a strong sense of self-confidence, not being afraid of people disagreeing with you publicly, and, maybe most importantly, being curious.

When we’re curious, we’re open, flexible, and willing to incorporate new information into our worldview. We’re willing to admit when we have been wrong about something in pursuit of facts. Our journey to developing our own personal worldview should be based on being well-read, well-informed, and always acknowledging the subtleties of reality. 

When we’re curious, we’re open and willing to incorporate new information into our worldview. 

Bertrand Russel wrote, when in the pursuit of being a critical thinker, “Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.” 

This is something progressive culture has completely lost the ability to see. They trust the official state-funded and state-approved narrative that they’re fed in university and through the media, and if anyone steps even slightly out of line, even among their own peers, a public canceling is not far away. 

The obsessive preoccupation with political correctness and honoring feelings over facts has created a uniform culture of saying what you think is consistent with the herd rather than speaking from the heart and being honest.

It can seem difficult and scary to stand out and stand up for inconvenient truths, but Bertrand Russel’s wisdom here should encourage you to press onward: “Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.”

3. Nurture Your Overall Health, Including Your Femininity/Masculinity

Pop feminism encourages women to embrace only their masculine qualities, be a “boss girl,” and ditch the apparently outdated characteristics of femininity. Men, conversely, are advised to stay away from being too masculine and instead get in touch with their feminine, emotional side.

The feminist narrative assumes that femininity and masculinity are not biological realities that emerge due to our biochemistry but are social constructs that are inherently harmful and unnatural to us. It always surprises me how widely accepted this obvious falsehood is.

The rebellious women today are not burning their bras or getting face tattoos. They’re actually opting for developing their feminine qualities such as creating their own sense of timeless personal style and beauty, homemaking, motherhood, restaurant-quality cooking at home, speaking with grace, and carrying themselves with poise and elegance. 

Both men and women are “rewilding” themselves and embracing their inherent natures. 

Men who are a part of the counterculture in a complementary sense are striving for physical and mental wellbeing in relation to their masculinity. They’re developing themselves into provider-protectors and are not shying away from stoicism and hard work. They’re willingly taking on responsibility in a way that makes male feminists seem like schoolboys.

Both men and women are, in a sense, “rewilding” themselves and are refusing to tell comfortable lies or accept what mainstream culture tells them about their gender expression. Both feminine women and masculine men value truth above all else, and that’s expressed in the way they live their lives. They opt for the hard work of taking responsibility for themselves over embracing victim culture.

4. Focus on Real Life, Not Social Media 

We spend way too much time looking at screens these days, and the pandemic has only made that situation far worse than it already was. Some people who are working from home or who require lots of screen time to make a living will have to work even harder to bring this next tip into their lives. 

The more time we spend looking at screens, the more information big tech is harvesting on us. Interacting with the world mainly through screens is a genuine form of demoralization and dehumanization that, to be honest, I think most people, regardless of their personal beliefs, dislike. 

Interacting with the world mainly through screens is a genuine form of demoralization and dehumanization.

We should all have certain times of the day when there are no screens around us. Ideally, this would be in the early mornings and before bed, but it’s a personal choice as to when during the day works best for you. It may even be easier to only allow yourself to use screens for an allotted time of the day, and then spend the rest of the day doing more productive, life-affirming activities and traditional hobbies that require us to work with our hands.

The counterculture these days is all about getting our hands dirty rather than doom-scrolling our free time down the drain. The more time we spend working with our hands, the healthier and happier we become.

5. Cultivate Your Skills or Practice an Art Form

Modernity influences us to live a life that’s fast-paced. For many people, their days fly by in a blur and they seldom get to smell the roses. By pulling back from the online world and nurturing a work/play life balance, we can make time for building ourselves into better people. 

Much of the current culture around self-love and positivity focuses on loving ourselves as we are, which isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just not all we should do. While practicing self-acceptance for who we are, we should also always be pushing forward to transform into a better version of ourselves. This takes time, patience, self-awareness, and discipline. 

When we delay gratification now for a future payoff, we benefit more. Taking time to practice a skill and engage in creative expression is harder than it sounds, and in our modern world, which supplies a never ending buffet of distractions, it’s harder than it ever has been. 

Don’t simply learn how to be feminine, but how to do things femininely.

If we focus on skills and creative expression that develop our femininity, we’re even more so engaging in an act of counterculture. This means learning to do things that help us take care of our homes and families like cooking, organization, and home decor. It can mean being well-read and a good conversationalist for our husbands, or learning an instrument that we can then teach our children. It can mean learning to sew or creating a personal sense of style that’s beautiful and timeless. 

By not simply learning how to be feminine but to do things femininely, we’re actively resisting the dominant culture which encourages women to act like men or view their femininity as basic or a weakness. 

Closing Thoughts

If we want to be real rebels, instead of engaging in casual sex we should consider dating for marriage and practicing sexual discipline. Instead of spending our time looking for someone to blame for our struggles, we should work hard to develop ourselves into the best versions of ourselves. We should embrace our natural femininity and surround ourselves with others who value embracing their true nature. 

Jiddu Krishnamurti was correct when he said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” The dominant, secular, metropolitan, and progressive culture pushes us away from the things which make us human, healthy, and most happy. 

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