The Beat Goes On

I learned something today while driving to the hardware store and listening to NPR. American writer and poet Jack Kerouac was Catholic. And the term he coined, "Beats," was derived by him from The Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, are a series of blessings uttered by Jesus at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount.

In a piece by writer Peter Gilmour:

"Jack Kerouac was enchanted by the mysticism of the Beatitudes. He had 'faith in the idea of the holy outcast.'"

Kerouac once said of his classic work, On the Road: "It was really a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him.

Explaining the word Beat, Kerouac said: "Beat doesn't mean tired, or bushed, so much as it means beato, the Italian for beatific: to be in a state of beatitude, like Saint Francis, trying to love all life, trying to be utterly sincere with everyone, practicing endurance, kindness, cultivating joy of heart. How can this be done in our mad modern world of multiplicities and millions? By practicing a little solitude, going off by yourself once in a while to store up that most precious of golds: the vibrations of sincerity."

I think that's why travel is so important to the soul. Every so often, you need to go "on the road." Not only can you discover the world. You can discover yourself as well.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, September 1, 2007

Comments

Scott said…
Hey Terry we have something else in common - the Beats! I was introduced to them and the Scottish "beat" poet Hugh MacDiarmid by an old boss of mine who was a Training Manager!
Terrence Seamon said…
Thanks, Scott. I had not heard of him before but will check him out.

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