The Beats and the DrugsIn its purest form, Transcendentalist literature needed nothing but ones own selfand for one to be, truly, self-reliant. This concept carried on into the Beat Generation ofliterature, but it was skewed by something that wasn’t readily available in the nineteenthcentury, and that was drugs. The Beat Gen. thought that illicit substances helped with the“creative process” but the whole idea of the Transcendental form of literature was that aman is his best when he only needs himself. So when you add an external stimulant andsay it’s almost necessary for the process, you’re not self-reliant. You’ve now drasticallydeviated from the fundamental concept that is Transcendentalism.When the label “hippies” came about, it was almost like the Transcendentalists finalnail in the coffin. The word would be so heavily associated with the use of Cannabis andother illicit substances in the 1960s that it almost didn’t sound right to call a hippie a poet.