Big Sur explores the tension between the desire to be alone and the need to be around others. Kerouac's alter ego and narrator, Jack Duluoz, oscillates between two extreme viewpoints: a cynical, misanthropic take on Americans and the way they've changed for the worse in the last decade, and a genuine love of the people with whom he surrounds himself. While he finds solitude comforting and healing, he also gets bored when he's alone. While he finds company soothing, the presence of others often makes him paranoid.
Big Sur can only "heal" Jack when he's there by himself.