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Mike Wallace interview with Jack Kerouac (1958)

MW: Sounds like a self-destructive way to seek God
JK: Oh, it was tremendous. I woke up sick about the fact that I had come back to
myself, to the flesh of life...
MW: You mean the Beat people want to lose themselves?
JK: Yeah. You know, Jesus said to see the Kingdom of Heaven you must lose
yourself...something like that.
MW: Then the Beat Generation loves death?
JK: Yeah, They're not afraid of death.
MW: Aren't you afraid?
JK: Naw... What I believe is that nothing is happening,
MW: What do you mean?
JK: Well you're not sitting here. That's what you *think*. Actually we are great
empty space. I could walk right *through* you... You know what I mean, we're
made out of atoms, electrons. We're actually empty. We're an empty
one mind.
MW: In what mind--the mind of God.
JK: That's the name we give it. We can give it any name. We can call it
tangerine...god...tangerine...But I know we are empty phantoms sitting here
thinking we are human beings and worrying about civilization. We're just empty
phantoms. And yet, all is well.
MW: All is well?
JK: Yeah. We're all in Heaven, now, really.
MW: You don't sound happy.
JK: Oh, I'm tremendously sad. I'm in great despair.
MW: Why?
JK: Its a great burden to be alive. A heavy burden, a great big heavy burden. I
wish I were in Heaven, dead.
MW: But youa re in Heaven, Jack. You just said we all were.
JK: Yeah. If I only knew it. If I could only hold on to what I know. [Then,
casually, rising] "You must meet my friend Phillip Lamantia. He was knocked off
a bench by an angel last week."


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