Put Down the Phone, Pick Up the Drum

Escape digital isolation, embrace a cultural revival, and weave genuine connections for a vibrant global community. 

Overview: In this editorial, Psychedelic Somatic Interactional Therapist Steve Elfrink advocates for a return to genuine human connection amidst the challenges of digital isolation. Inspired by Terence McKenna’s call to “create culture,” it explores the impact of smartphones and digital media on our sense of community. The article delves into the archaic revival, emphasizing the importance of real connections, creativity, and cultural creation. It also explores the role of psychedelics in breaking down digital barriers and fostering a deeper sense of unity. Author Daniel Quinn’s vision aligns with the need for a narrative shift, emphasizing interconnectedness. The conclusion calls for a compassionate, understanding approach to building a global tribe, weaving past wisdom with future possibilities and highlighting the importance of genuine human connections over digital footprints.

Beyond Screens: Terence McKenna’s Call to an Archaic Revival

In the heart of our hyper-connected world, where the digital age reigns supreme, there lies a profound yearning for connection that no amount of scrolling, liking, or sharing can satisfy. It's time we heed the wisdom that has whispered through the ages, a call to return to the primitive, to rekindle the fires of community and to forge our global tribe anew.

As an elder and an observer of life's intricate tapestry, I've seen the ebb and flow of society's quest for meaning, and I firmly believe that the path to our collective healing lies partially in The Archaic Revival, a concept passionately advocated by the visionary Terence McKenna:

“We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.” 

Terence McKenna's urging to “create culture” and not passively consume it speaks volumes about the importance of active participation in the fabric of our societal norms and values. His admonition to avoid the passive intake of media and instead “create your own roadshow” challenges us to become architects of our own experiences and contributors to the cultural milieu rather than mere spectators.

In an age dominated by smartphones, social media, and digital platforms, McKenna’s words echo with a renewed urgency, highlighting the contrast between the shallow, fleeting interactions of online spaces and the rich, meaningful connections that come from genuine, creative engagement with the world around us.

Breaking the Chains of Digital Isolation

The prevalence of phone addiction and digital consumption has indeed created a landscape where many feel connected in the most superficial sense, yet profoundly isolated at a deeper level.

This paradox of being simultaneously connected and isolated is a modern malaise, one that erodes the very essence of community and shared experience. The constant barrage of information and entertainment vying for our attention fragments our focus and dilutes the quality of our interactions, leading to a pervasive sense of loneliness and disconnection.

McKenna's call to create our own culture is an invitation to reclaim our agency and to infuse our lives with authenticity and purpose. It encourages us to engage in activities that foster real connections, be it through art, music, storytelling, or communal gatherings. By creating and sharing our own “roadshow,” we weave a richer, more vibrant tapestry of human experience, one that is rooted in genuine interaction and shared creativity.

Moreover, McKenna's perspective offers a critique of the consumer culture that defines much of modern life, where individuals are often valued more for their economic contributions than for their intrinsic qualities as creative beings. By choosing to create rather than consume, we challenge the prevailing narratives of worth and success, and we open up spaces for alternative ways of living and being together. This act of creation becomes a form of resistance, a way to assert our humanity in the face of a system that often seeks to commodify our existence.

In essence, McKenna's message serves as a beacon for those seeking to navigate the complexities of the digital age. It reminds us that amidst the cacophony of clicks, likes, and shares, there exists a deeper calling to connect, create, and cultivate a sense of belonging and community.

By heeding this call, we can begin to address the mental health crisis that looms large over our societies, healing the collective loneliness that festers in the shadow of our screen-lit lives. It is through the act of creating culture, in all its diverse and multifaceted forms, that we can rediscover the joy of shared human experience and rekindle the flames of connection that burn at the heart of our global tribe.

The Drumbeat of Connection

The drum, an ancient instrument that has pulsed at the heart of human gatherings since time immemorial, symbolizes our call to action. Its beat is a universal language that transcends boundaries, inviting us to gather, to share, and to heal together. The act of drumming, of immersing oneself in the rhythm of life, is a potent reminder of our interconnectedness with each other and with the earth itself.

McKenna further illuminates this path with another profound insight into the archaic revival: 

“The archaic revival is a clarion call to return to a simpler, more authentic, more communal way of life that is informed by the wisdom of the ancients.”

This call beckons us towards a future where we are not just connected through technology, but bonded through the shared experience of life, echoing the communal practices of our ancestors.

In the spirit of the archaic revival, we must also embrace the profound lessons offered by psychedelics, which Terence McKenna heralded as pivotal instruments for broadening our consciousness and nurturing a deeper bond with the cosmos. These ancient compounds, when approached with respect and mindfulness, serve as keys to the hidden doors within our psyche, unveiling realms of understanding and empathy far removed from our everyday experiences. They remind us of our intrinsic connection to the earth and each other, a reminder desperately needed in an era where technology often isolates more than it unites.

Psychedelics have the remarkable ability to dissolve the ego, the very notion of self that modern society so often inflates. In the communal sharing of these experiences, we find a powerful antidote to the loneliness and separation wrought by our digital obsessions.

Where phones and screens compartmentalize our lives, confining us to curated feeds and echo chambers, psychedelics tear down these walls, revealing the interconnected web of life of which we are all a part. They remind us that we share a common origin with the natural world, reawakening the primal understanding that our ancestors lived by — the understanding that we are not above nature, but a part of it.

Breaking Paradigms: Psychedelic Paths to Belonging

This reconnection to our primal nature through psychedelics is not a regression but a reclamation of what it means to be truly human.

In contrast to the one-dimensional interactions mediated by technology, the psychedelic experience is multidimensional, offering insights not just into our own minds, but into the minds of others, fostering a sense of unity and shared humanity. It is a profound reminder that, at our core, we are creatures of community and connection, not isolation and division.

Moreover, psychedelics challenge the materialistic and mechanistic paradigms that dominate our worldview, inviting us to consider more spiritual and communal understandings of existence. They offer glimpses of a reality where everything is interconnected through a complex web of meaning and consciousness, a stark contrast to the fragmented and superficial connections facilitated by our smartphones and computers. This shift in perspective is crucial for healing the spiritual malaise that afflicts so many in our society, providing a pathway back to a sense of belonging and purpose that many of us yearn for.

In essence, while our phones and technology have the tendency to shut us down on a spiritual and communal level, numbing us with an overload of information and superficial interactions, psychedelics do the opposite. They open us up — to ourselves, to each other, and to the universe at large. They invite us to explore the depths of our being, to rediscover the magic and mystery that life has to offer, and to reaffirm our place within the great tapestry of existence.

In this way, psychedelics are not just tools for personal transformation but are catalysts for the collective revival of our most fundamental human values: connection, compassion, and community.

Quinn’s Vision: Interconnected Minds and Global Healing

In his transformative works, renowned author Daniel Quinn urges us not only to reevaluate our bonds with the planet and our fellow inhabitants but also to fundamentally redefine the narratives that guide our existence. His insightful remark, “What we need is a story that tells us we’re related to more than just ourselves,” serves as a powerful beacon, illuminating the path toward a more interconnected and empathetic worldview. This assertion invites us to transcend the boundaries of self-interest and to acknowledge our integral role within the vast network of life.

Expanding on this theme, Quinn elaborates further in his discourse on societal structures and the human psyche, positing that “The world will not be saved by old minds with new programs. If the world is saved, it will be saved by new minds — with no programs.”

This additional insight underscores the necessity for a shift in consciousness, advocating for a departure from the rigid frameworks and ideologies that have historically divided us. It suggests that the salvation of our planet and the reconciliation of our global community lie not in merely updating our current systems with new policies or technologies, but in cultivating a new way of thinking and being — one that eschews predefined schemas for organic, emergent interactions based on empathy and understanding.

Quinn’s call for new minds without programs resonates deeply with the overarching themes of this article. It aligns with McKenna’s notion of the archaic revival, where we seek wisdom in the ancient practices of community, connection, and communion with nature, rather than in the ephemeral advancements of the digital age. It reminds us that true progress might not be measured by our capacity to innovate technologically but by our ability to return to a more symbiotic relationship with the earth and each other.

By advocating for a narrative that embraces our interconnectedness, Quinn challenges us to expand our circle of empathy and recognize the intrinsic value of all forms of life. This broader, more inclusive perspective has the potential to heal the fractures wrought by centuries of anthropocentrism and exploitation, guiding us toward a future where technology serves to enhance, rather than replace, the depth of our connections.

In this way, Quinn's vision aligns with the essence of our collective yearning for community and connection. It beckons us to put down our phones, to step away from the isolating glow of screens, and to engage deeply with the world around us — not as masters or consumers, but as humble participants in the great dance of existence.

By heeding this call, we can begin to weave a new story for humanity, one that celebrates our shared journey on this planet and fosters a sense of belonging and purpose in our interconnected lives.

Guiding Principles for Connection: Compassion, Patience, Understanding

The crisis of loneliness and disconnection we face is not insurmountable. It is a call to action, a plea for us to put down our phones and to pick up the drum, to reconnect with the rhythms of the earth and the warmth of human companionship. In doing so, we can begin to heal the wounds of isolation and build a community that honors the richness of our collective human spirit.

As we journey forward, let us remember that the creation of a global tribe is not a regression to the past but a progression towards a future where technology serves to enhance, not replace, the depth of our human connections. Let us weave the wisdom of the past with the possibilities of the future, creating a tapestry of community that is vibrant, inclusive, and deeply connected.

In this endeavor, compassion, patience, and understanding must be our guiding principles. We must approach each other with the kindness of a friend, the openness of a learner, and the wisdom of a sage. This journey is not one of solitude but a communal voyage, a shared quest for meaning in a world teeming with noise yet starved for genuine connection.

In the end, our legacy will not be measured by the content of our digital footprints but by the depth of our relationships and the strength of our communities. Let us then, with gentle hearts and open minds, embark on this path together, creating a world where the drumbeat of humanity resounds louder than the click of a keyboard. Let us put down the phone, pick up the drum, and dance to the rhythm of life, together as one global tribe.

Girl with Plant
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