Once, many years ago, a friend told me of an experience he had had walking down the street after a violent thunderstorm. He noticed, almost simultaneously, that a power line had come down and lay with one end in a large puddle and that a hippie, coming down the street in the opposite direction, had not noticed it and was about to step in the puddle. He had had no time to shout a warning before the hippie was hurled into the air by the force of the electric charge and landed in a heap on the sidewalk. My friend and other bystanders rushed toward the poor fellow and cried, “Are you hurt? Are you all right?” The dazed hippie, perhaps not entirely a stranger to similar mind-altering experiences, looked up at the circle of concerned faces gathered around him and said: “I’m all right, man. I’m just groovin’ on the shock.”

That was the attitude I...