Drop out, tune in, turn on: Tony vs Tim

Timothy Leary. “The eye with which I see God…”

Tony Parsons. …is the same eye with which God sees me.” –Meister Eckhart”

“Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Did Timothy Leary have it backwards?

The following is from the Wikipedia:

“Turn on, tune in, drop out” is a counterculture phrase coined by Timothy Leary in the 1960s. The phrase came to him in the shower one day after Marshall McLuhan suggested to Leary that he come up with “something snappy” to promote the benefits of LSD. It is an excerpt from a prepared speech he delivered at the opening of a press conference in New York City on September 19, 1966. This phrase urged people to initiate cultural changes through the use of psychedelics and by detaching themselves from the existing conventions and hierarchies in society. The phrase was derided by more conservative critics.

“The phrase is derived from this part of Leary’s speech: ‘Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.'”

Now consider what nondualist Tony Parson invites. The following was posted to the Nonduality Highlights today:

“Drop asking ‘why’ and simply become totally involved in the absolutely wonderful miracle of life just as it is, right here, right now. Can you not see that whatever has just happened for you at this moment has never happened before and will never happen again? It is totally unique and fresh and innocent, and it is here and then it isn’t. Isn’t that just great?”

Seems like Tony is saying first to drop out: “Drop asking why…”

Then he’s suggesting you “see” the moment for what it is, or tune in. “Can you not see…?”

Finally he asks you to value the moment, to be turned on to the moment. “Isn’t that just great?” It follows that you will “turn on” others to become inclined to drop out.

Using Leary’s terms, those three invitations might be re-phrased as, “Drop out, tune in, turn on,” the reverse of what Leary declared.

Dropping out is the main step. It means to stand free of the thousands of trances that compete for your mental space.

Then you will be able to tune in or “see.” See what? God, creation, the structure of reality.

Finally, when you value this seeing, you will turn on, which means to naturally express it (perhaps silently, perhaps through some creative effort), send it forth, cast the light of it in all directions, emit the perfume, turn-on the world, whichever metaphor you prefer.

To walk on Nonduality Street, rather than Psychedelic Boulevard, discriminate. If a practice or a person makes you feel high or blissful, you are turning on. If in the presence of a person or practice you see the futility of everything, that “all is vanity,” then you are dropping out.

Dropping out is only the beginning. Often fear or despair sets in and the process stops and one settles for a glimpse of the freed mind, which is better than not having had a glimpse.

Remember the chant of the nonduality generation: Drop out, tune in, turn on. Or does that put you in a feel good trance? Well, no one ever said there’s a winner in the nonduality game.

4 thoughts on “Drop out, tune in, turn on: Tony vs Tim

  1. nonduality Post author

    Thanks, Sean. I don’t know how the link got there, but it has been corrected. The photos shouldn’t link to any other website, but Tony’s name links to his site.

    Thank you for looking at the blog.



  2. Parrot CK3100

    Great article!
    Thanks for sharing such uniqe post. I am always looking for such stuff. Also I have gone throught the writing of both though the ulimite concept of tony is somewhat better in terms of tim. This is my personal view only still both are best. Hope you will provide some more stuff on nonduality, always like your reading.
    Thanks again for your effort


  3. No One In Particular

    There’s nothing wrong with all those trances that compete for mindspace. Seeing the structure of reality or not seeing it is fine. Tim and Tony are neither wrong, or right, or anyone anyway. But it makes for a fascinating story!


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