"Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In,"

A friend sent me a link by email the other day. The email was succinct, "I am sending this link because the message is so important." I rarely follow links in emails. I am not on Facebook (Facebook is so "last year"), I struggle with Twitter and marvel at each social media outlet (or inlet) across which I unwittingly tumble. I rarely even open email jokes.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big believer in the internet. I am a big fan of technology, is that news to you? I have begun lately to suspect that it may not actually be just another fad. Of course that is ridiculous, it is certainly a fad and elements of it will come and go in time. Facebook was big last year, but I remember when MySpace was untouchable. When is the last time someone mentioned MySpace to you?

The message of the video found at this link is really interesting. This unknown (to me at least, perhaps he is big in Great Britain, like David Hasselhoff sells records in Germany?) poet is compelling. You can agree with him or not, but he captures a sentiment that I have heard so many of you voice. No offense, but he is more eloquent than you and I.

Ironically, I will use social media today. That is all that a blog post like this is. I will use it to ask you to click on the link and spend a few minutes listening to what this poet has to say. Many find it moving. I will then ask you to do just a few things for homework.

First, you are each to pick up the phone today and call someone you value. It does not matter why you value them. You need not tell them that you value them, why you value them or even why you are calling. Just "reach out and touch someone" today, the way we did before cell phones (you are not make the call from your car, while distracted by traffic, weather, etc.).

Second, this weekend you are each to turn off that cell phone, tablet, computer, i-pod, etc. for a few hours and talk to someone. I have been working hard lately to take off a few pounds, and this has included a great deal of walking. Fortunately, my wife has been a good sport and walks with me. We have had some great conversations. I dread the walking, but I really look forward to the conversations. Whether it is with a child, a neighbor, a friend, a spouse, or otherwise, spend some time this weekend disconnected from the web and interact with someone on a personal level.

Finally, over the next week, read something that is printed on some old dusty, musty paper. Click here if you do not remember books and need a reminder. If you are blessed with knowing some soul young or old to whom you could read aloud, that is even better. But, nonetheless, read something that is printed, on paper, real.

This video makes me think a great deal of people that I value, for a variety of reasons. Some of you reading this are in that category though I suspect I do a poor job of letting you know that. I have been touched by so many people and I marvel at how you have affected me with your positivism or negativity, inspirations or aspirations, great ideas and bad.

It is ironic at least that I am asking you to visit Facebook to watch a video that may hopefully encourage you to disconnect a bit. At least as ironic as my using this social media to ask you. In the words of the Bard, I confess myself "hoist with (my) own petard." That is from a book, Hamlet, see above.

A few years ago (1966 according to Wikipedia, and "that's all I have to say about that"), at least it seems that way, Timothy Leary coined the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out," which was interpreted to mean "become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness," and "interact harmoniously with the world around you," and become "self-reliant."

It is easy to discount this quote as what many perceived instead as the call to drugs and other 1960s challenges. We will never "know" what Leary meant. However, I would encourage you to watch the video, and then consider this challenge "turn off" that cell phone, tablet, i-pod, "tune out" that television, and "drop in" on an old friend, family member, or relationship.

There is much out there that is more compelling than this thing we call technology. Watch the video, then take my advice and "turn off, tune out, drop in."

For other perspectives on "turn off, tune out, drop in," see The Irish TimesThe Huffington Post and The Atlantic. I do not know who first drew this juxtaposition parallel to Leary, but it was not me. No rights reserved, no claim of original content.

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