If you find the others on the road, kill them

The last part of Tim Leary’s famous quote is often forgotten: “turn on, tune in, drop out, and find the others”. Leary claimed it was the most important part: after all, all of the outsider weirdo creativity goes to waste if it’s stuck in your skull. Unfortunately, nothing has prepared us for the strange times.

There is no counterculture anymore, because there is no mainstream culture anymore. (Maybe there is for you, if you live in a theocracy with state-regulated media and heavily limited internet access. If you are, congratulations on reading this post, and also why are you reading this post?) The spectacle has consumed and absorbed the early-90s utopian cultural pluralism of the John Perry Barlow set, just as it absorbed the culture/counterculture division of the 50s and 60s, which is why people like Stewart Brand are rich de-facto plutocrats now. And in the global village, no matter how freaky you are, you can surround yourself with precisely the same kind of freak and live in your little filter bubble. Finding the others, in this case, is a bad thing.

Don’t find the others. Find the Others. Stick apart. If you agree with someone, take that as a warning sign: do the two of you agree for good reasons, or are you just incidentally the same kind of freak?

The function of the lunatic fringe is not to become a comfortable space for you and your like-minded friends. There are other places for that. The function of the lunatic fringe is to thrust half-baked ideas into a violent orgy of death and copulation until they become more fully baked or die the death of warriors.

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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