Loss of Innocence

1960’s Pop Culture… a loss of innocence?

A loss of innocence or not, which is it?

A “loss of innocence” is a common theme in fiction, pop culture, and realism. It is often seen as an integral part of coming of age. It is usually thought of as an experience or period in a person’s life that leads to a greater awareness of evil, pain and/or suffering in the world around them. Life directs us to turn from a time of childhood and childish things to the grim reality of the real world. The trials and tribulations of our later life tend to kill the innocence of our youth...

Cast your dancing spell my way…

In a few simple songs of the period, we can get a glimpse of how things were and embark on a trip from the loss of innocence to the beyond. We can start with a song written by Bob Dylan and interpreted by The Byrds, “Mr. Tamborine Man”. We are transported through verse and prose into this magical world. “Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship, my senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel the grip, my toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels to be wondering. I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade, Into my own parade. Cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it.”

The 60’s a time for every purpose, under heaven

In their song “Turn, Turn, Turn” The Byrds sang about changes in things that were to come. The lyrics are almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes, the King James Version (1611) of the Bible, (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). The message is prophetic and strong, a warning that things are changing. It paints us a picture of how life is to be. That there are times to cast stones but there too is a time to gather stones together. The loss of innocence of our youth offered us no such choices.

Innocence is the lack of wrongdoing

The phrase “loss of innocence” is used to describe childhood innocence as a notion created and controlled by adults. One where the lack of knowledge stems from a lack of wrongdoing, whereas greater knowledge comes from doing wrong. It is often seen as an integral part of coming of age. And so half wracked prejudice leaned forth ‘rip down all hate’ I screamed ‘lies that life is black and white spoke from my skull’, I dreamed romantic facts of musketeers foundational deep, somehow. Ah but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”. Somehow, Bob Dylan transitions us through his “My Back Pages” from a time of loss of innocence to hatred and a world that is no longer black and white. And he further states that “My guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect deceived me into thinking I had something to protect.” And so we had nothing to protect, and our loss of innocence was finally real. Innocence was dead.

How does it feel to be on your own?

And so “once upon a time you dressed so fine, throw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you? People call say beware doll, you are bound to fall. You thought they were kidding you.” With these words, we are taken from that time of innocence where we dressed so fine, to a very deep dark place. To become a complete unknown, like a rolling stone. “You used to laugh about everybody that was hanging out. Now you don’t talk so loud, now you don’t seem so proud, about having to be scrounging for your next meal… How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction known, like a rolling stone?” We journey from being a child, and a loss of innocence to a stoner transitioning into the dark world of ecstasy and Dylan transition us through this change where the things of our youth and the loss of innocence are no more.

How did we get here?

Here are the words that explain how we got here. “You never turned around to the see the frowns On the jugglers and the clowns when they all came down and did tricks for you. You never understood that it ain’t no good you shouldn’t let other people get their kicks for you. You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat, who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat. Ain’t it hard when you discovered that he really is not where it’s at after he took from you everything he could steal?” And we are left in the street as a rolling stone. How does it feel with no direction home?

The Escape

The good news is that our journey through our loss of innocence has a happy ending. We find that we can always return to that time of pure innocence and The Byrds provides us with “how” in their song “Mr. Tamborine Man“. They say “In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you. And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind. Down the foggy ruins of time, Far past the frozen leaves. The haunted frightened trees, out to the windy beach, far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow. Yes to dance beneath the diamond sky, with one hand waving free. Silhouetted by the sea. Circled by the circus sands. With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves. Let me forget about today until tomorrow.”

Authors Biography
Luis R Claudio Biography

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