FB friend Patrick Mulvey posted a great comment on my previous scribbling:
"It may a small sample size but many of my babyboomer contemporaries and younger extended family members who suffer from 'real' mental illness...manic depression, bipolar disorder and worse.......all used illegal drugs regularly in their teens, 20's and 30's. I'm not saying this is the only cause of mental illness but one only has to look at our homeless problem and know that lack of housing is not the major reason."
You raise an important question, and I am going to make a separate post. Here's a guess--and that is all it is: I am slightly pre-boomer, thank the Lord (April '45) but I am of the first generation that grew up watching television. Living at the back end of the world--a world captured in fiction by my friend Anthony Bukoski--we got TV late and for a few years only at night from faraway Minneapolis. Duluth briefly had a UHF station in 53-54, but no one saw it, and when a VHF station did open, programming started (as I dimly recall) in the late afternoon. Anyway, I was ten before TV really mattered, and I turned against television about the age of 15 and did my first poem in denouncing the "monster". (Thank goodness I did not keep a copy!) Most of my friends and people a few years younger, though, were addicts, and from the manufactured reality of TV, that created the illusion of fun, it was a small step to the dope-inspired virtual reality of the 1960's, which has fulfilled Ginsberg's silly line except it was not just the best minds of a generation destroyed by madness, but all minds. As I once preached in an essay "Turn Off, Tune Out, and Drop In (that is, into the reality of everyday life.)