Integrity of the Person

The image shaped by the beat writers is partial, but without it any sense of life in these post-atom bomb years is incomplete. The solution is not, as is often absurdly suggested, to add Bohemia to suburbia and divide by two, thus achieving a golden mean or a shabby compromise. The solution is to be where you are, what you are, with such persistence and courage as can be called to life. The best of the beat writers exemplify precisely that state of secular grace. In this world of shifting conflicts, the integrity of the person might not be enough, but without it, all else is lost.  ~from A Casebook on the Beat, ed. by Thomas Parkinson, 1961

Does anyone read the beat writers anymore? Are we so far from the “post-atom bomb years” that we have forgotten the context in which this paragraph makes sense? Of course I believe it all holds just as true today, and that without “the integrity of the person…all else is lost.”

Do you know any truly courageous people who are able to persist in being who they are and where they are? I want to hang on to those people for dear life! (not to mention be one of them as best I can)


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