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“This book was a philosophical touchstone for insecure Boomers of the mid-1970s. Everybody I knew in those days had to be able to discuss it intelligently or risk being thought to have a gap in our characters as people. A folk/ talking blues singer of that era (I forget who) referred to this book in a lyric:
"...a copy of Kahlil Gibran's 'The Prophet' with all the significant passages highlighted--the whole damn BOOK was highlited..."
In truth, the whole phenomenon was symptomatic of the societal immaturity of my generation as young adults. It taught us all sorts of theoretical concepts of human nature that were not necessarily reflective of the real world--consideration, the dignity of each person, peace, love, repudiation of prejudice--all of this in a world that anything but reflected such beliefs in Gibran's day. And except for the hippy-dippy pseudo-enlightenment we tried to cram down the world's throat in our day, our peculiar era was no better. We just used Gibran and other such philosophers to peer-pressure one another into self-defeating meekness. If someone you knew was erudite enough to understand philosophy but didn't have the moxie to stand up to people when he should, Gibran was the ideal way to make him a bona fide doormat and make him think he liked it. I won't even try to speculate how "relevant" Gibran is nowadays. From the perspective of a sadder but wiser man--or at least not quite as stupid--I give you this Sting lyric from the song "Consider Me Gone" for consideration:
"To search for perfection
Is all very well
But to wait for Heaven
Is to live here in Hell"”