Holmes 'The Name of the Game'
Going through this essay by Holmes (not to be confused with his 1965 essay 'The Game of the Name'), he recounts in detail the social, cultural and political climate out of which 'Beat-ness' emerged, and explains why his like-minded friends and himself felt the way they did, and what exactly it was they were searching for.
This essay, along with three others - the familiar 'This Is the Beat Generation' (1952) and 'The Philosophy of the Beat Generation' (1958), as well as 'The Game of the Name' (1965) - chronicle the origins of and reasons behind the 'beat' consciousness and attitude, and their progress and development. It's well worth checking out, to get a view of the matter from the inside out.
It's in 'The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Post-War America' Part 2: M-Z (Ann Charters ed.), 1983.