More than seventy years ago Allen Ginsberg published a poem, entitled Howl that can be viewed as the opening salvo in a clash between the younger generation of the 1950’s and the traditional views and norms of older people. Here are the first few lines…
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night…”
Allen Ginsberg, Howl, 1955
I was a part of the younger generation of the 1960’s and I would like to tell our story in a different way. I call it: How well!
I saw the best minds of my generation, overcoming madness, adequately nourished, rational, appropriately dressed, driving through the streets at dawn, looking for what they could fix Angel-headed young people burning for the ancient heavenly connection to what is truly worthwhile and beautiful in this one life we have to live.
Dr. Paul Farmer fits the description pretty well, so maybe it makes the most sense to start with him. Paul was a full professor of infectious diseases at the Harvard Medical School. He was one of the best minds of my generation. He did have to overcome madness (his upbringing was crazy!) and poverty but he was able to live a life that was full.