How Coachella is bringing back humanity

I went to Coachella two weeks ago with my family and we had a wonderful time. Surrounded by joy, community and celebration. I wondered to myself. Why is everyone so happy? Where is this positivity coming from? Then I realized: Maybe it’s that we are all together. That it’s not digital, that it’s human and it’s real.

There were thousands of people there interacting with one another, listening to music, but more importantly engaging with each other, talking, laughing, not glued to their phones. I remember playing at the very first Coachella in 1999. It was a different era. It seems like a hundred years ago. It was all about the music. It was before smart phones. It was before Facebook and social media. It was before we lived through our phones. It was the time before technology consumed us!

Over the last 19 years, Coachella has evolved from a simple music festival to one of the last truly human experiences in Southern California. People don’t necessarily go to Coachella for the music anymore. They go to be in communion with each other, to have encouraging and amazing human experiences. I witnessed this two Saturdays ago and became uplifted and encouraged about the future. 

We live in an incredibly dehumanizing society, but Coachella is a breath of fresh air. It can’t be digested in a 132 characters. And the best thing about it is that cell phones don’t work there. The fact that 125,000 people are concentrated in such a small area makes digital communication and access to social media nearly impossible.

For three days, people cannot live the way they live their “new normal” daily lives. They have no reason to be looking down at their phones because they don’t work. While it is one of the biggest complaints of the festival, I think it is it’s saving grace. The dehumanizing society that Facebook and other technology have created is just not present at Coachella. People are not worried about how many likes their picture got or reading mean comments on their “friend’s” post about Beyonce.

Our grandparents used to say, “Opinions are just like assholes, everyone’s got one!” Coachella is the one place on earth that you can’t live in opinion world. Instead people actually interact with one another. They hug each other and look into each other’s eyes. They eat, dance, drink and celebrate together. The human spirit!

The dehumanizing digital world is destroying our children. It is not okay that I have had several thousand kids tell me they don’t care if they die. How can we be at a point in our society where our kids are telling helping professionals that they don’t care about their own lives? As a result of technology, our kids aren’t taught how to interact with each other. They don’t learn true human experiences. They spend their time staring at screens.

And to think at the center of all this is our hero, Mark Zuckerberg. From observing him at his recent testimony, it’s pretty obvious he has little understanding of empathy or humanness. There have been some jokes out there since his testimony, but it’s not a joke. We are letting this young man take control of our human relations. We have allowed him to completely rewrite social orthodoxy. Now Facebook has a direct influence on how our children are raised and how we communicate with each other. It has distorted our politic. And I believe it has negatively affected our entire nation. But Mark Zuckerberg is the American Dream, right? An overnight billionaire, a hero, a Wall Street-proclaimed genius. But what he has done is create an urgent need for human interaction.

And I believe my experience at Coachella was witness to this. I saw kids in wild abandon and joy, respecting one another, having compassion for one another and celebrating the human spirit. We need each other and we know it.Click To Tweet

And I believe my experience at Coachella was witness to this. I saw kids in wild abandon and joy, respecting one another, having compassion for one another, and celebrating the human spirit. We need each other and we know it. It’s part of how our central nervous system regulates. It’s in our DNA.  I had all these thoughts running through my mind as I witnessed first-hand the humanity at Coachella. I have more hope than I’ve had in a long time after watching people enjoy being in communion with each other. The human spirit is still alive!

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