|Leo Tolstoy and Alan Ginsberg: Beatniks of past and present. (Ginsberg image provided by MDCarchives)|
A beatnik is an organic manifestation of intelligence.
When we read stories of the great meditation masters we find that a great many of them participated in a lifestyle that went against the grain. Popular lifestyle is often a fad. We buy into trends and popular notions established by media and culture. There is nothing wrong with skinny jeans, dread locks, or tattoos per se. Rather, whats being pointed out is our materialistic tendency to compete in silent popularity contest. We identify with the current trends in pop culture, without any genuine consent, and judge our self worth on the basis of how well we are able to fill this role. We simply see it on TV or in magazine and try to become it...
This is a tragic and violent suppression of creative freedom. Our capacity to express ourselves is muffled by our incessant need for validation from those around us. Of course this neurotic need of confirmation has a deep seated internal origin, which is connected to our own fragmented self-image. We self consciously experience ourselves as though we are apart from life, doing life, and as a result feel lifeless or discontented. We believe we are somehow how broken or incomplete, and our search for the perfect body type or wardrobe is nothing more than a search for the right answer or missing ingredient to this pervasive problem.
The hermits of old were not people who rejected society, but were people who had resolved this pervasive misunderstanding, and therefore had no need to identify with the common trend. Thus, they appeared odd or out of place. This was of no concern to them because, of the simplicity that pervaded their lifestyle. By simplicity I mean, the lack of complexity involved in their relationship with their environment. They are straight forward or honest. Complexity, in this case, refers to the deceptive tendency to identify with a whole host of fantasized and unnecessary reference points. Complexity is psychological clutter. We use what we think others are thinking about us as variables in calculating our own self-worth. This is sideways and neurotic.
The hermits or as we call them, beatniks, have a simpler relationship with the world they live in. They identify with the present moment, reality. They were people who through introspection and insight resolved the fundamental false assumption. They realized that they were in no way apart from or separate from the world they live in, and as a result they were revealed to be whole or complete- in need of no-thing! They just put on a pair of blue jeans, and go about their business...
Trying to act like a beatnik is no less materialistic than trying to act like a movie star. A hermit or beatnik is an organic manifestation of intelligence. It is a spontaneous response to the present moment. Whimsical! There is no pattern to it because, it is in no way premeditated. It is freedom.