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Turn on. Tune in. Take Charge!

By Lawrence Hagerty

[Presented at the 12th Annual Digital Be-In held in San Francisco on January 12, 2002.
This event heralded the beginning of the Media Revolution Campaign.]

     The Media Revolution is about the acceleration of global social evolution through the use of new media. It is a very clear and simple concept.

     As we all know, there have been quite a few earlier Media Revolutions. The big ones, like the inventions of language, the printing press, radio, and television, have brought us to where we are today regarding the creation, processing, and transmission of information. As significant as these earlier revolutions may have been, I believe they pale in significance to what is about to take place. I am speaking, of course, about the significance of the change the Internet brings with its promise of many-to-many information publishing. I don't have to tell this crowd that the Internet is much more than a revolutionary technology. It is an evolutionary technology that, as a force of nature, cannot be stopped by the power-elite.

     We the people are the ones who gave birth to the Information Age by driving computer power down to the desktop level. We the people have built the Internet into the most powerful communications infrastructure the world has ever seen. And now, we the people are about to use this wonderful tool to take charge of this planet as it is our birthright.

     Contrary to what the corporate-controlled mass media would like us to believe, this world is not just a plaything for the wealthy. It is not the exclusive domain of these supra-beings called multi-national corporations. Nor is it the exclusive domain of humans to use and abuse as they please. And it is now up to us, the evolutionaries of the Information Age, to see to it that this message is heard around the world.

     The last media revolution began in the century just past, and it has had a stifling effect on truth and freedom of thought. The revolution I refer to is the intense period of corporate consolidation of the mass media. As you know, virtually all of the information coming into U.S. homes today is controlled by just six corporations. SIX! Six CEOs are ultimately shaping the thoughts of our fellow citizens ? no wonder the opinion polls are so misleading. Without access to the real facts about what is going on in this world, it is no surprise so many people support the horrors being inflicted on this planet by the Bush-leaguers in Washington.

     Without the power of the Internet I would be very discouraged right now. BUT the Net does exist. And we are the ones who know better than anyone else how to use it. For the first time in human history, we the people have more power to communicate and share vital information than does the power-elite. In fact, we should be thankful that over 55 million pieces of email to Congress and the White House went unread last year. That is a sure sign they do not yet have a clue as to the true power of the Internet. And guess what ? unless they are willing to shut down the entire telephone system, the Net can not be "turned off."

     We now have the power to change the world. And make no mistake, if we don't take charge very soon, this nation and the rest of the world will fall into the darkest pit of fascism we have ever known. So what are we going to do about this sad state of affairs?

     Like it or not, this is it. This is the point in the space-time continuum we have all been waiting for. This is why we agreed to incarnate at this time. We are here to begin the final assault of consciousness as it makes its deepest penetration into matter. As melodramatic as that may sound, if you give this thought some serious consideration the next time you have a quiet moment to yourself, you will know it to be your own personal truth as well.

     Ken Kesey once called the Internet "our campfire." I like that metaphor. As many of you know, a lot can be learned in a discussion around a campfire. These days the discussion around the campfire is often about war.

     In addition to the War on Drugs, we now we have a second world-wide war underway that they are calling the War on Terrorism. We have been told this war will not end in our lifetimes, that this is a never-ending war. Well guess what? They are wrong! Both of these wars, which pit fascism and multi-national corporations against the people of the world, are going to end much sooner than the power-elite think because we the people now have direct control over the flow of uncensored information.

     No one person has to do a lot, but we all have to do our part. And it is going to be much easier and a lot more fun than you can imagine. I know from personal experience.

     Last August my website was basically brochure-ware intended to publicize my new book. After September 11th I began posting news summaries, and links to information about the war, from sources that are not yet controlled by the multi-national media giants. In a matter of months, with only word-of-mouth advertising, we went from a few dozen unique visitors per week to thousands per week.

     In addition to providing links to news from non-U.S. points of view, I also wrote a few essays myself and posted them on our website, thinking that only a few people who knew me would read them. Imagine my surprise when I began receiving emails about them from cabinet ministers in foreign governments and from newspapers and magazines in the Middle East asking for permission to publish them. What this tells me is that people throughout the world need to hear what Americans are thinking ? not the U.S. government, but average Americans. I'm just one guy with a computer in his home office, and I've tapped into thousands of minds. You can do the same. In fact, you must do it if we are to have any chance at all of turning the fascist tide that is about to roll over us. Each and every one of us should get involved in this revolution, this evolution, of the media. There may not be another chance like this again for a long, long time.

     Already many respected scientists are investigating the evolution of what they call "the global brain." The theory is that as information becomes ever more densely packed and interconnected on the Web, some new form of intelligence may arise. I don't yet have an opinion as to whether or not this can happen, but I do know that if that baby ever does wake up I want it to think like us, not them. So get your thoughts up on the Web, link them to others, and encourage others to link to you. Let's take the agnostic view and pack this global brain with as much of our Gaian thinking as we can.

     In a couple of minutes we are going to be treated to an audio and video tribute to Ken Kesey. I like to think of Ken, Timothy Leary, and a few million other psychedelic explorers in the 60s, as the progenitors of today's Media Revolution. Without even trying to, they captured the attention of the mass media of the day. Even their parties became news events. But some mistakes were made, and some lessons were learned. Today the cry is not "to the barricades." Today's rallying cry is "To the terminals!" "To the Internet!" That is where the front lines of this revolution are to be found.

     And I believe that if Dr. Leary were alive today, he would update his famous 60's sound-bite: "Turn on. Tune in. Drop out," to take into account the powerful tool we now have at our disposal.
I think that if he were here tonight, as I am sure he is in spirit, he would say:

     Turn on your computers.

     Tune in to the true spirit of the Internet.




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