Yes, a deep lesson from the postage stamp. It attaches itself to a moveable material, the envelope and gets going. A good relationship keeps you going forward; a bad one keeps you static. Attach yourself to someone who is also going forward and you will also get there.

The Beats, like their successors in the Sixties, have often been described as ‘idealists’. But fantasies of total gratification are not the product of idealism. They arise from a narcissism that, finding the world unequal to its desires, retreats into a realm of heedless self-absorption. Modesty, convention, and self-restraint then appear as the enemies rather than as the allies of humanity. In this sense, the Beat generation marks a step away from civilization.

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