, ,

Log Off, Tune Out, Drop In

In 1966, Dr Timothy Leary argued for the widespread usage of psychedelics in an attempt to raise the collective consciousness of American society. His famous phrase, “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out” inspired generations of psychonauts to seek an elevated level of cognition. The eponymous spoken word album addressed topics ranging from anti-school ideas to Indian spirituality. The aim of the phrase was to raise the consciousness of an entire generation, to promote views completely separate from societal norms.

Psychedelics have been illegal since 1970, alongside many other drugs that were demonised by successive presidencies. Many who were present within the psychedelic movement of the late 1960s, subsequently found themselves at the centre of the internet boom of the late 1980s. Timothy Leary himself became a huge proponent of cyber development, believing it to be an extension and natural successor to the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. In the early 1990s, Leary proclaimed that the melding of the two cultures, the psychedelic and the cyberdelic, could create a new counterculture and people needed to “turn on, boot up and jack in.” The novelty and seemingly infinite possibilities of the computer and more importantly, the internet, led to the development of many internet freedom and privacy groups. Namely, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was founded by John Perry Barlow, John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, whose current president is Edward Snowden.

The current state of the internet is a far cry from the visions of John Perry Barlow. Data is sold to the highest bidder and social media is specifically tailored to keep people addicted with little regard for the dangers it may pose to their health. The growth of misinformation and the decline of intelligence have come in tandem. The ability for critical thinking is at an all-time low and the myth of individual freedom is sold at a high price. Daily life is deeply intertwined with social media because it has been deliberately manufactured that way, a return to a period before the monetisation of people’s social lives would leave many grasping for a needle just out of reach. It has facilitated greed, a belief that each individual knows best and knows who is the worst. It has created an illusion of action. It lulls society into a false sense of security because naturally, and understandably, everyone surrounds themselves with likeminded people. When seismic, life-altering decisions are made, people write proudly how shocking it is said political event/decision was ever passed or let through. A fresh whirlpool of outrage for these fish swimming in the same barrel, unaware they are about to be shot.

Will this be the legacy of the virtual world?

There is a necessity to understand the importance of logging off, tuning out and dropping in. I cannot claim to practice what I preach because I am deeply reliant on sharing my work on social media to gain an audience but my ability to utilise social media to my benefit is better than becoming the product myself.

Log off and abandon the shackles of poor mental health and jealousy. Logging off creates distance from the concepts of superficial prosperity that social media creates. It is not a case of not being able to see the light, it is a case of actively being forced to sit in the artificial dark.

Tune out that static that occupies a dark corner of the mind, an insatiable itch only ever temporarily scratched. Tune out the extremities that social media facilitates, the hatred and division it deliberately manufactures to engage the angry and disillusioned. Too many are conscious of an “enemy” and spend too much time chasing a shadow, living their lives throwing virtual stones then hiding their hands.

Drop into the real world. Social media curates extremes and then promotes them as norms. The awareness to understand that insane takes seen online are just that, absolute insanity, is a skill to be developed. This technological development has created addicts and treatment is nigh impossible with the source of the addiction being embedded in daily life. People are no longer well adjusted and their power on social media is a distraction from their powerlessness in real life, whether this is conscious or not.

Drop into the real world, tune out the extremities and log off. Either for good or at least until these apps works for us and not for profit.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



%d bloggers like this: