This very popular blast from the past did culminated from the 60's movement. It has much basis in spirituality, recovery, forgiveness, and self-improvement. I was a senior in Junior High when I first saw this string of words (1970). I had a poster of these words on my wall in my room, right next to the Smiley Face poster.
The idea that a quote expresses can dissolve the question of "who" into the ether of its emergent fame—or infamy, as Dederich was a pathetic figure.
As a reformed alcoholic, when he began Synonon, 1957, the idea of being born again would likely have come from Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935; and of course the idea of being born again is integral to psychotherapy, but also artistic calling; and—you knew it—the ethos of Jesus.
But at heart, the idea is deeply philosophical. Existentialism was implicitly premised on one's allegedly intrinsic freedom to initiate one's futurity. Heidegger made famous, within professional philosophy, the dynamic of lived time as primordially futural. This is a theme I want to pursue later this week (via my website). The life well lived—being well—regards its futurity as prevailing over its past. The couch potato can avoid much-earlier death today.
But I'm enchanted by the title of a famous counter-cultural book of the 1960s, by Richard Fariña: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me.
I first seen this quote on the 1959 movie ON THE BEACH produced and directed by Stanley Kramer based on the novel with the same title writen by Nevil Shute and published 1957. For me is Nevil Shute the one who brought this quote to me.