McAllister, S., ‘What Do Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson and Jesus Have in Common?’ in Wills, D., (ed.) Beatdom Vol. 1 (City of Recovery Press: Dundee, 2007)
No, not the beginning of a joke made in poor taste, but the musings of Steve McAllister, author of The Rucksack Letters. Written in response to editorial recognition of his influences, this essay explores subjects touched upon in his book.
In the preface to the first edition of my book, ‘The Rucksack Letters’, I introduced my three most precious guides as Jack Kerouac, Hunter S Thompson, and Jesus Christ. I loved Jack for his wandering nature and search for truth and beauty, Hunter for flow of thoughts and comedic lifestyle, and Jesus because he illuminated the most vital essences of anyone I’ve ever called a Hero without ever having to write a word.
I considered for a while not trying to resonate too strongly with the Beat movement and its course of audience due to both of their dismal demises. And I still had some reservations about aligning myself with some of the followers of my greatest Hero. But I finally realized that Jesus was pretty Beat.
My whole journey toward coming to grips with this situation is recounted in ‘The Rucksack Letters’ so I won’t go into it here, but it really started for me with the Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis. I knew I thought differently. I was just having a rough go of finding the strengths in those differences when so many were telling me they were weaknesses. At that point, I started questioning the nature of good and evil as well.
I could have more easily grasped the splendiferous joy of being blessed with a though process sometimes referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder if I were not also dealing with a lesser realized Depression. In looking at people with Attention Deficit Disorder, I have seen some who have learned to use their gifts with great glee and take them to new heights of Success and Happiness. But I have also seen those, like myself, who are mired in a pit of stagnancy, somehow unable to tilt the balance of happy, productive moments in a day with those that are glum and boring.
I fear that one reason for this may be that we are under diagnosing. Often, we label people with one diagnosis, such as in this case of Attention Deficit Disorder, but often miss the fact that there is also a case of Depression. To say that this whole population of under-achievers should be diagnosed with Depression may seem like an audacious claim, but looking at the world around me and the distractions from happiness which capture the minds and hearts of so many otherwise good people, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great bout of some form of insanity throughout the greater population.
Are we Depressed? In many senses, yes. In many, we are just Beat.
From a Beat, though harsh and pounding, comes the basis by which we make our music. For sound is the momentary meeting of one entity with another and the beautiful conflict that ensues. Some bring what we call Music. Some bring what we call Pain. Some light or darkness. Some blessing or destruction. Some loud or quiet. If you are Beat, you find your rhythm in the dance, and turn to face the partner that most attracts you. You dance a song of trills, thrills of words, and move to the next partner. Some dances jostle you more than other, and you can get beat pretty bad. But you find the beauty in it and do what you can to show it to others.
Jesus was Beat. Jesus was Beat bad. But he Rose and inspired generations to come to do the same thing. Spending only thirty-three years on the planet and only three in assumedly recorded history, he managed to split time in half, and elicit some of the most cherished ideas on Love, Joy, and Peace without ever having to write in anything but the sand. He had nothing. He wanted nothing but to play his role in the rhythm.
That’s as much as any of us can do.
When the time is right
when the hearts are right
when the minds are right
when the world is right
we will write
we will write the world
and beat out a rhythm
by which music will flow
This was the task of Lucifer, the Angel of Light, before he is rumoured to have become enraptured by his own pride and sought to overthrow God. I don’t care how far you think you can throw, you ain’t gonna throw farther than God. But Lucifer was the patron angel of music. I’m not so concerned about Lucifer as a person, but I must consider the idea that ran through his head which garnered him the unfathomable consequence of Separation from God?
Pride. It’s right between Anger and Courage in the Scales of Consciousness developed by Dr. David Hawkins. In his book Power vs. Force, Dr. Hawkins states that on his scale from 0-1000, Mankind collectively rose over the 200 mark in the Eighties, just past Pride and on to Courage.
There is no doubt that Pride was a major factor of consciousness in the Eighties. Our music had reached a new pinnacle of Loud. Our rebels were wearing makeup and glitter, making love to their guitars, and inviting all sorts of new colours into their wardrobes. It was called the ‘Me Generation’. With all the Stuff that we created under the guise of self expression, there was much to be proud of.
In the Nineties, we touched on the nut of Sobriety, moderating our excesses, subsiding our impulsiveness, and looked deeper into what was really important. The voices which screamed and shouted with great fervour, picked up acoustic guitars and started singing at a depth that was largely ignored in the previous generation. Causes became more worthy and Charity became a way of life again.
Our next phase is that of Acceptance before we stare into the face of Reason and see through to Love. Though we are Beat, those we have been called the dregs of society, though we have been shunned, ridiculed, and abused, though we stand at the maws of an Angry World that seems to be forever being drawn into the lower levels of Fear, Grief, Apathy, Guilt, and Shame, though we are Beat, we have every opportunity to raise the levels of Human Consciousness toward the greater senses of Love, Joy, and Peace.
In this generation, there have been explosions of thought relating to people who thought differently. We’ve developed Indigo’s, ADD kids, Generation Y, Cultural Creatives, and many more, but I think it all starts with a Beat. To create the music of life by which we will serve as co-creators in our future, we must start with a Beat.
Short story by Paul Kay.
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