I was 17 in the "Summer of Love" in 1967 when the counterculture phrase, "Tune in, turn on and drop out" popularized by Timothy Leary in 1966, was again uttered by Leary as he spoke to 30,000 hippies at the Human Be-in in Golden State Park in San Francisco. This phrase became a mantra for the baby boom generation that we heeded in some way or another at the time. Imagine 76 million people tuning in, turning on and dropping out at the same time. We did. I also saw the original Broadway production of "Hair" in 1969 that spoke as THE anthem for the hippie generation that came out of the cultural revolution of the time.
I recently saw a professional production of "Hair" and was reminded that I had already tuned in, turned on and dropped out and watching the 20 somethings recreate this famous theatre piece brought me back to the true meaning of the famous counterculture mantra.
For me, tuning in, turning on and dropping out was a serious proposition because it meant looking beneath the surface of the cultural realities of the time. It meant looking within to find your own deeper meanings of truth that you perceived by going beneath the surface of society. Was all the conditioning, thoughts, ideas and belief systems that I had been inculcated with really valid for me? What did I really think? What was really in my soul, in my heart? This moment of taking a step back and looking deeper was a defining moment for a generation and it put me on a path of finding out the deeper realities that were not being told or revealed by popular culture.
I have been living the realities of life beneath the surface for many years and seeing young actors recreate a show like "Hair" left me wondering what their inner experience was because, for me, it's important to be real since we as a culture are once again going through a revolution in which we are moving beyond old energy constructs like war, hate, intolerance, judgement, control, approval, greed, killing, fear and anger. This moving into the new energies of Love is what the true meaning of "tuning in, turning on and dropping out" is all about.