Who Were the Beats Anyway?

I have been thinking about the beat poets today.did ginsberg visit Texas? I heard a quote about how the current generation mirrors the beat poets in that they have been cut loose from social norms that held for generations. It was actually sitting on the roof of my building having a smoke and watching the sunset. You might not think that some San Antonio roof repair guy would be a closet intellectual, but once again I was proven wrong! He asked to bum a cigarette and that was when he mentioned to me about this generation. He had gone to college for poetry, but here he was repairing shingles… but doing it poetically.

However, I told him,unlike the beats, who believed in a universe that may or may not have inherent meaning, the generation coming of age today believes in greatness. They believe in destiny. I find that hopeful. I believe it is true! So I wrote a tribute to the beat spirit channeling the perspective of an adolescent. I want to share it with my roofing friend, but I didn’t get his number. Roofer, I hope you see this and reach out. And keep writing!


 

Censor high-schoolers’ reading- the objectivists, the beats, the actors, the existentialists- ALL non-required reading- ban it all! Maybe some kids can read theses ideas and philosophies and edicts and dreams and epiphanies and ideals and let them roll off their well-adjusted, high-achieving, type-A shoulders, allowing them to do their homework and make their beds without questioning why they are squandering their brief but glorious lives away in actions that Allen Ginsberg would piss on and Hunter S. Thompson would hysterically embellish. That Aldous Huxley would find the meaning of life in! That Ayn Rand would do BETTER!  That Sanford Meisner would transform into an exercise in illustrating natural action and reaction and emotion! That would not just be a task but a catalyst for something beautiful and precious.

Can one really live that way and still hope to succeed in an environment where worth in measured in the completion of a chore but not in the appreciation of the time and effort that went into it, proving the worth of the chores simply by its consumption of human time? Not that students should be coddled for fulfilling their responsibilities, but when was the last time a teacher said, “Why did you do that worksheet (or essay, or goddamn makeup)? Because it was expected of you?” This isn’t asked because most people would say, “Sure! You have to work within the system to beat the system.”

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10 YEARS LATER

Ask the same strategists how that plan worked out? They’d tell you, “Almost! Soon I’ll break out! I’m almost at the point where I can get into that higher-income bracket (and stop bullshitting through college and graduate school and work and aquainemies (acquaintance-enemies) ) to the point where I can seize consciousness and breath. And open my heart to love(which is the only reality anyway) and “do” for the sake of the perfection of the moment gained from any REAL action… and stab with my previously numbed teeth the life out of a SECOND that be worthless without some action or thought or real emotion to justify it.

Among other reasons, I act because it is the one way I know to coat that vital urgency on every moment, since every blink or handshake or unscrewing of a water bottle could one day add to the life of a character who would show an audience how to let go of their facades and false responsibilities long enough to experience something genuine. And so, teacher, that is why I didn’t do my homework. No, my dog didn’t eat it. An, yes, by even explaining this to you, I’m adding to the very cycle I condemn the perpetuation of. I’ve just exploited the very artists and livers that would roll in their graves at the very thought of this exchange.

You know what? I HATE this! I hate making excuses and pathetic apologies. I just want the right to be myself! No, I’m not gay,or disabled, or black. I’m an overthinker who aspires to the condition of an overLIVER. I desperately desire- every single minute, feel the pressure- to live like each shoe-lace-tying is the last juicy bite of an almost over-ripe mango; or the first consuming kiss with a soul mate; or

You know what? Just do us all a favor and ban those goddamn books.


 

 

Napoleon Hill’s Philosophy of Achievement

Today, we will hear about a Master. His name is Napoleon Hill.

Have you heard of him?

If so, I need not convey to you his extraordinary greatness.

Author of the best selling tome “Think and Grow Rich,” Hill spent his lifetime studying the principle of success. An interview with Andrew Carnegie early on in his life proved to be a major turning point.

Carnegie expressed his confidence that success is within reach of all women and men. He went on to suggest that Hill himself compile case studies of the most successful people in the world and share their formula with the world. This collection of interviews, drawn for talking to 500 people, including many millionaires, presidents, business tycoons and philanthropists, provided the foundation for his books.

The first book was “The Law of Success,” published in 1928. In it, he outlined what would eventually be called his Philosophy of Achievement. Some of the principle attributes of this philosophy are harmony, freedom, democracy and a free capitalist market.  In 1937, he published “Think and Grow Rich.”

I have read “Think and Grow Rich,” and am currently reading and absorbing his final work. When was this final work published?

2011.

Yes, his last book was published years after his death. Why? Well, all of his books were revolutionary. All of them were ahead of their time, touching on political hot buttons and calling spiritual matters into play. But one of them was simply too radical. It sat in the vault for decades before being released. Even then, when it was finally published, it was published without the final chapter!

Well, ladies and gentleman, all of these rich and life-changing texts are available now, including the last one: “Outwitting the Devil.”

I will share with you some of Hill’s key principles. If you find them interesting, I recommend reading the books. If you can afford to, please buy them. If you cannot, that it no excuse: “Outwitting the Devil” is on YouTube in its entirety. You can listen as you walk, drive, clean, or sit with your eyes closed. And if you do, I doubt you will be in a position of scarcity for long.

Without further ado, Hill’s key points as I understand them.

1) Firm Beliefs

This principle reminds me of a Mary Oliver quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Hill discovered, from his life-long research, thousands of interviews, and personal meditation, that 98 out of 100 people have no firm beliefs to which they hold fast. In other words, most people are “drifters,” and it is because of this that they are not successful.

How about you? What is you DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE?

Can you stay focused on it to the exclusion of the infinite distractions and temptations of daily life?

If not, it might be because you don’t have the second ingredient:

2) Burning Desire

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”  Dale Carnegie

A burning desire is absolutely vital to achieve anything. Sustained effort is necessary to bring any project to fruition. First, there must be a vision or idea. This part is pretty easy; think of how many great ideas and plans you have had that never panned out! Next, we have to BELIEVE that it is possible to realize our idea in reality. We must BELIEVE that we can PHYSICALLY manifest that which is internal. If we believe in it, and we have a BURNING DESIRE to achieve it, we are likely to be successful. Especially if we understand the third element:

3) The Golden Rule 

Harmony in human relationships is essential to success. It is impossible to accomplish great things without teamwork. Even the most independent thinkers and motivated doers need to rely on other for help, and need to be reliable themselves. Learning how to choose associates wisely is vital, and not just in the workplace. The people you surround yourself with will influence your thinking. If you choose to spend your time around people who believe that poverty is inescapable, then you are likely to share that belief. If, on the other hand, you associate with people who are grateful, spiritual, motivated and focused on their DEFINITE CHIEF AIM, that camaraderie will spur you on towards your own success.

Furthermore, this principle involves the idea of VALUE. In nature, everything serves a purpose. We, too, contribute to the sum of our environments. If we provide value with our actions, we will be in harmony with nature and the value we share will allow for us to experience financial, spiritual and creative abundance.

Don’t take it from me!

Pick up one of Napoleon Hill’s books for yourself.

He suffered in his life, just as most of us do. He went through periods of loss. At different points he lost his fortune, he went through difficult divorces. But he never went back on his philosophy. He openly admitted that sometimes it is hard to walk the walk.

Hill continues to sell millions of books long after his death. His name is ubiquitous in circles of entrepreneurs. From a one-room home in rural Appalachia to friendship with Carnegie, Edison, Wilson and Ford, Hill experienced the great successes and challenging setbacks.

He armed countless men and women to better handle those challenges of their own.

Here’s to living with purpose!

In the beginning…

Every happy family is happy is happy in a different way.

At least that’s what I like to tell myself.

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Welcome to “They Were Just People.”

You will watch a story unfold as I explore people, both historical, modern and fictional in order to unearth the secret of what it means to be a person.

Some people will say that this mission is too vague to be worth attempting. In response to that, I would say that life itself often feels vague, too. Through the lens of unusual situations, I will measure how much a person is a person using my level of intellectual interest, emotional investment and spiritual intuition.

For example, take a rock. It interests me, and might even arouse my emotions. True, I am a rock collector. I also admit that were I to be forced to abandon a rock, I would not feel a great loss. However, there are certain crystals I’ve left behind that I think about today more than certain ex lovers…

So you see, the issue of “personess” bring up a lot. Does it mean “value”? Does it mean fitting certain physical characteristics?

Let us see.