Holiness is one of the sources of Sal’s idolatry for Dean. It becomes Dean’s distinguishing characteristic, making him unique from common criminals. Holiness is part of the Beat Generation – where Beat comes to mean "beatific" among other things. Sal searches for the holiness of a soul connection with women, while Dean thinks that sex itself is the "one holy thing" in life. Dean sees a spirituality in music, declaring many musicians to be God because they "know time." Lastly, the fervor of Dean’s madness is often portrayed as a spiritual ecstasy.
Although much about Dean appeals to him, what Sal wants to learn most from his hero is spiritual wisdom.
Dean’s spiritual fervor escalates with his madness, suggesting a necessary tie between holiness and madness.