A flower is the reproductive structure of a flowering plant; it facilitates reproduction of the plant by fusing the male and female structures of the plant. Hence it plays an important role in studying the role of plants in a scientific manner, which is referred to as Botany. Their role in pollination and cross-pollination have helped us understand how plants flower, bear fruits and seeds and allow future generations of plant life to grow. Some flowers are edible while are not. It’s fairly common to see brews, concoctions, herbal products and juices being made from flowers that are known to be good for human consumption.
All these facts bring on a scientific temper to the role of a flower.
In addition to their prime place in plant life, flowers have forever been the source of admiration and beauty for humans; they are seen as objects of food, love, medicine, romance, religion, rituals and many more.
In the abstract, flowers are taken as contextual references to convey a feeling, emotion or attribute. Many specific flowers like roses, orchids etc. are connected with many attributes; but in general, a flower can mean a garden, the spring season, the birds and so on. Just as words often have multiple meanings depending upon the context of usage, the word ‘flower’ can be taken as an individual object or used to denote something or be seen as a symbol referring to something.
Hence, the denotative meaning of a flower is just the object but in connotative usage as in a poem or stanza, a flower can mean youth, femininity, gentleness, fragility etc.
The term ‘Flower Power’ began as a slogan expressing opposition to the Vietnam War; it gained symbolism by rooting its ideology of non violence and passive resistance as a means to transfer protests and agitations against wars into peaceful movements. The American poet Allen Ginsberg is credited with the coining of this phrase. The poignant photograph of a young man trying to poke daisies into gun barrels held by military policemen at a 1967 march in Washington symbolizes the significance of flower power. ‘Flower Power’ later became a generalized reference to the hippie movement of the 1970s that saw an entire generation dress in clothing with vibrant colors and prints in flower designs and embroidered flowers, wearing their hair long, etc. It also brought in the culture of psychedelic art and music, drugs and social permissiveness.
The connotation of the term ‘flower power’ countered that non violence and love were synonymous with flowers that radiated positivity; the notion ‘make love not war’ soon established itself as a hippie way of life, hippies soon began to be referred as ‘flower children’.
In the best sense, this movement brought left an indelible impression and brought about a radical change in American society. Teens came together to live in communes, led a free life and asserted their views on mainstream society. This power translated into public civil rights’ movements and established the trend of liberation.
On the other hand, the culture of free and uninhibited sex and large scale use of drugs ultimately led to the formation of several drug cartels that became caught up in murky scandals and illegal cash funding etc. But the biggest threat to mankind was to come in the form of the HIV infection that became rampant in the early 1980s as a direct result of the ‘sexual revolution’.
Although the flower children generation slowly died out and flower power became a thing of the past, the effects of the past decades are still being felt in the current millennium.