Nowadays, it is considered very cool someone who proclaims himself a hipster, who lives an apparently alternative lifestyle, listens to “indie music” and dresses in an “unconventional way”. Upon this dramatic definition, one comes to the obvious conclusion: these people are a counterculture; they are rebels; they are intellectuals who do not agree with society. Wrong. The moment this routine became popular and accepted by society, their existence became absurd and contradictory.
Because of my frustration towards these septum- pierced, thrift shop explorers who enjoy vegan cookies and think they are actually fighting society instead of being the most accepted and cool members, I decided to dedicate this blog post to the most real non- conformists of all time: the Beat Generation.
To start, I seriously recommend listening to the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg, read by James Franco and animated by Eric Drooker: Howl- Allen Ginsberg
The Beat Generation is everything the contemporary cool hipsters pretend to be.
They were a group of American writers whose primary activity developed just after World War II ended, in the 50’s. It was during that time that society, after living the horrors of war, returned to conservative traditional values and aspirations. These young authors did not agree and were willing to break all the rules and conventions in order to be free. They were in the look for novelty and alternative lifestyles, their life would constitute a constant quest for new experiences: mental, through the use of drugs such as peyote and LSD; spiritual, by exploring eastern religions; and physical, as they were the beginning of the sexual liberation. All of this was a great influence for the later hippie movement and the 68 movements around the world.
This group excluded themselves from society in order to create an alternative world of their own: more anarchic, less judgemental and free. They expressed themselves through Literature; the novels The Road by Jack Kerouac and The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs express perfectly this insatiable pursuit of new experiences, almost as if life were an endless journey.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
Kerouac, The Road
Happiness is sometimes about searching for it, often in uncommon places. But make sure they are actually uncommon, not only mere appearance.