Kerouac’s hagiography of Gary Snyder. For some reason I found this far easier to read & more enjoyable than On The Road. Both are explications of the rucksack revolution, a rearticulation of dharma practice in the dirty dusty streets of the American counterculture.
I once asked my Dad why all the Beat Generation figures were so fucked up, emotionally, physically, morally. He responded:
“Well, you can’t be on the frontlines of a war without getting wounded.”
That’s where I stand with the Beats. They weren’t exemplars of conduct, but they were exactly what the culture needed. Devoted, intrepid humans on the frontlines of a cultural revolution, a reclaiming and revalorizing the sovereignty of consciousness.
“…colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middle-class non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies [Gary Snyders] of the world go prowling into the wilderness to hear the voice crying in the wilderness, to find the ecstasy of the stars, to find the dark mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless crapulous civilization.”