Beat Generation

It was a journey back in time, stepping into a rather hallucinatory universe of young intellectuals, hipsters, rebels, artists. The world of the Beat generation.

The history dates back to 1940’s when the poet, Allen Ginsberg met Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs in US and they formed a core team of rebels rejecting war, nuclear industry and all forms of cultural and political imperialism. Beat generation meant a new form of life, a new language, freedom, poetic view, drugs, speed, intriguing books and movies, every means to get the message through. The time of the beat generation was followed by the hippie cult in the mid 1960’s.

At yesterday’s guided exhibition the narrator walked us through this quite intriguing period throwing in some comparison between the Beatniks and our generation. The young intellectuals inspired millions and had a big influence on the forthcoming generations.

But where is today’s beat generation?

Does some form of that still exist?

Are today’s hipsters the representative of the same?

Do they have the same will, the same courage, the same power?

Are they using the same tools to get the message through to a bigger crowd?

The Beatniks were addicted to LSD. We are addicted to the world wide web. Seems like kind of a better choice, at least up to a certain extent. The descendants of the beat era have the best tools ever in their hands to inspire and move masses but instead it more looks like a new direction in fashion. How my hairstyle is and what I wear is more important than what I represent. In our generation of comfort it’s enough to own a smart device and everything is possible. Need to do some shopping? Don’t even think about getting out of your armchair, order the stuff online. Want to meet a friend? Why waste time and energy? Just use social media. Are you bored? Don’t go out for a walk/movie/theatre/play board games with your friends, whatever. There are tons of online and offline ‘pastimes’ available to download. From all channels possible we are constantly told what to do and what to buy to be beautiful, young, healthy, successful, safe, etc. and that’s good enough, and no way that I get out of my comfort zone. If it’s good for me, the rest I don’t care. We accept everything as it is, complain sometimes what has the world become but that’s basically it.

The guide of the exhibition, a young writer was interesting to listen to. She did a good amount of research on the topic spiced up with some related personal stories. You could register for the event online (how comfortable!). The audience was young like 20’s, 30’s, 40’s mostly. Needless to say there was a large number of interest. YET, almost during the entire time of the guided tour a good amount of the interested visitors were constantly talking, texting, browsing, whatsoever on their phone.

Were they really interested?

Or they just came down to the museum not to be left out? Just to show their faces and get some cool press photos taken of them?

Why do we have the fear of being dropped behind if we miss out on constant online presence?

What’s going to happen if we are not available for an hour?

How we ended up like this?

In our constant fear and frustration, in the relentless chase for materialistic things we forget who we really are, what are we here for, what is our mission in life. Because everybody has a mission. And I am not talking on a spiritual level. Living according to our busy and egoistic schedule we don’t see the treasures, the real values around us. We just attend events because we HAVE TO be there and anyway we need something to show off to our friends and colleagues. We need to get that snap and post it immediately out to the world. We need to tick this event off as well. However if you just for an hour put your gadget away and look up you will find that treasure in the moment of calmness while absorbing the world. If this is not too much out of your comfort zone.

The exhibition was organized by the Ludwig Museum in Budapest (9th district, Komor Marcell street 1.) displaying modern and contemporary artworks of Hungarian and international artists.

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