Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Turn on, tune in, drop out

I was too young to hear Timothy Leary's rallying call  "Turn on, tune in, drop out." I was born at the tail end of the baby boom, and my experience of the hippy period was bell bottoms and a t-shirt with the two finger peace sign imposed on an American Flag. I was too tall for platform shoes.But I had the afro hair.

Like most of my cohort I envied hippies. Who wouldn't?  Sex drugs and rock & roll. So it is with some feeling of loss when I see that some of those who turned on, tuned in, and dropped out are now looking for another meaning to their life while shopping for cheap incontinence pads at Walmart.

As with most of the tail-end baby boomers, I ignored that period. Oh I  loved the music, but not much else. Could never get into the literature of the time; the Jack Kerouac, Robert A. Heinlein, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe, Marvin Harris, Truman Capote. Too anarchic and unstructured. But on the other hand I loved the storytelling of John Updike, Harper Lee, Anthony Burgess, Ken Kesey, Nikolas Schreck, Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Frank Herbert,  Sylvia Plath, and Kurt Vonnegut (Vonnegut mainly because he was American, I loved everything American.) I loved reading Hermann Hesse, a German author who did much of his writing in the 1920s but was read in the 60s.

So wind forward half a century and that mantra still haunts me."Turn on, tune in, drop out" Until this year. I never understood the existential meaning of that phrase. Now with the National Security Agency not only spying on everything we do both in the privacy of our emails, phone calls and letters, but also everything online, and then sharing this information with other alien countries, I have a strong feeling that we need to re-energize the mantra again. Except this time lets make it digital "Turn on, tune in, drop out." Turn on, make sure that you know what is happening, tune into the movement with like minded individuals, and drop out of Facebook, Twitter. LinkedIn and blogger....

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