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Beat Generation Bards and Drugs

A psychologist and a social worker, both working with drug users in two different institutions, pointed out  that drug addicts’ handwriting is characterized -with an impressive frequency- by the use of capital letters, that is by the sign Disconnected. Such an empirical evidence questions us about the search of a possible cause-effect relationship: is it either a drug the cause of a fragmented personality, or a fragmented personality implies a stronger tendency to become addicted?

In order to frame addiction as a problem to be solved, using a perspective wider than Day Hospital’s, it becomes necessary to explore a graphological  context larger than common addicts population, referring to the “cultural” inspirers to the use of drugs.

Starting from the Beat Generation main figures implies referring to perfectly conscious theorists, in a sense that the use of each kind of drug had been set inside a wider aim: the exploration of the conscious mind structure, in order to  expand it. Such a research was not only psychological but religious too, as Kerouac answered the journalist  about what he was seeking for so desperately: “I used to answer… I was waiting for God to show  his face.” (1)

This search for expansion of the mind-seen not as rational consciousness but as a widening of subjective experience itself, that could possibly disclose cognitive revelations-affected many artists, who in turn exerted a similar influence upon the younger generations.

About this questioning, we are going to start from a basic remark: obviously not all drug users became addicts, whilst people with the sign Disconnected become strongly addicted to drugs with a much higher frequency. Hence, what was firstly seen as a means of making easier and richer the interactions between personality and the outer world becomes instead the nightmare of addiction: personality becomes totally enslaved to something totally alien, affecting all its movements. From a strong need for lavishness and freedom to obsession and repetition.

Kerouac and Ginsberg, two personalities we are going to analyze now, are especially interesting because, even though both artists owe a lot of their inspiration to the use of any kind of drug, one of them was totally engulfed to a point of being totally and painfully isolated from society and also paranoid (Kerouac), while the other one made it a resource, keeping a steady capacity to relate with the world to the very end of his life (Ginsberg).

From a graphological point of view, this is a striking evidence of what reported by social workers and assistants: Kerouac’s handwriting is strongly characterized by the sign Disconnected; on the contrary, Ginsberg shows a high degree of the sign Disconnected.

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