what is the meaning of "beatific" in relation to the beat generation?
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This cultural movement saw humanity as moving into a new phase, one that was advanced from the war-like, selfish, egotistic generations before it, one that was more "beatific" (saint-like, blessed). The literature (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, etc.) spoke to a more "laid back" lifestyle, and a re-examination of so-called "western" values, in favor of a spiritual, cosmic, Eastern contemplation, in which the attainment of worldly goods and fame took a back seat to enlightenment, understanding, and tolerance. Popular newspaper commentators such as Herb Cain ridiculed the movement's tolerance toward free sex and drug experimentation by shortening the name to a jingoistic word. In actual fact, the nonviolent lifestyle and spiritual inquiries of "the Beatific Generation" would have improved humanity, had not the assassination of Kennedy and the Vietnam War moved us back into our non-beatific western attitudes.
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