Watching TVby mudlee - October 14 2014
I remember when I was a child we had a black and white TV, which had only two channels available. If we compare that to what we can access now, it was so poor. But, it was a new thing and everybody sat in front of it. The TV was the iPad of my childhood. It was soon followed by a colour TV and an increase to three channels. I remember clearly I always used to wake up for a popular children's program.
The next step was when we subscribed to cable, which meant I could watch hundreds of channels in any language.
My generation has grown up with TV. It was part of our daily life, it was like the sunrise, something ordinary. Families competed to own the best TV, and who had the most channels.
TV was the second most popular media – after the radio -, where people became informed. People started to watch TV for weather and political news, but then much more besides.
What about today?
People now can't live without TV. There was a very funny quote in Friends: „You don't own a TV? What's your furniture pointed at?!”
But additionally, we also have newspapers and now we have the internet. Lots of web-pages, a lots of channels, lots of news. On any device, in any language, anywhere, anytime, literally you can watch anything.
I quit all media.
People who know me, know I don't have a cable TV subscription. They know that I read very few newspapers. I also try to change my internet-reading habits too.
Why I don't watch TV, and why I limit my reading and internet habits?
Not 100% true, but almost. The truth is that I don't have cable, but I do own a TV set.
I haven’t been watching TV for almost seven years. I watch only movies and some series from a DVD player.
I picked up some good reasons as to why you should resign from cable too.
- It's wasting your time. It’s so easy to get stuck with TV. You just sit for hours watching the usual weather updates, but then it’s immediately followed by the news – which seems to be interesting, but actually it's not -, then a movie, then another one, etc. And by the way, „I worked hard all day, and now it's very comfortable to sit and just look out from my head. Don't stop me, dude!”
I was thinking about how many hours you have to invest, if you watch other things besides those you originally planned. It's like if you don’t just eat what you like, but anything else that you've given. Since I don't have cable, I have more time to do anything else, because I decide what to watch. It's not the decision of the channels' owner. Actually, it's a very big business, and it's about the commercials, not the movie, but that’s a different story.
- It makes you stupid, and stops you from thinking. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many people I know who watch only educational series (like David Attenborough). The others watch reality shows, news, stupid series and everything else. In the past I watched Big Brother too. I have to ask myself now, did it give me any useful information? What did I learn from it? Nothing. Did it take too much time from my life? Yes. Was it fun? Actually I thought yes, but now I think it was the worst type of humour I can imagine. So stupid, so simple. And I laughed at it. What a shame.
But the time wasting is just one thing. I was thinking, I sit there on the sofa, watching a box, while some really stupid people do some very annoying and retarded things. That doesn't make any sense at all. Why should I do instead?
If your brain gets used to these types of shows, where conscious thinking is not required, after a while your brain will stop working. And there is the trick. In every 10 minutes, there is a commercial, which comes to your brain – which has been stopped before, remember! – as an image, as a melody. And then, if you go to a shop, these images and melodies come out and convince you to buy stuff that actually don't need, but you remember its image or its melody. Cool, hah?
What does it mean? It teaches you how to be a good customer, because society needs this. If you don't own the newest iPhone, the best car, then something is wrong with you. Watch stupid shows, don't think, just buy.
Another thing is, that if you don't think (just consume), after a while you can't see the problems around you. What's wrong with the current political party, with your relationships. You'll think, everything is ok as it is. The current wars we’re fighting, the current TV show we’re watching, everything.
There is a picture I'd like to show you about this:
- It makes you depressed and teaches you, that you should fear all day long. If you face death every time, in every article, in every TV show, you'll be afraid. You'll be afraid of death, getting robbed, and think something bad'll happen. You might get cancer. Or a brain tumour. Why not?
Just scroll through the famous news sites, and count how many articles that are about death, something wrong, war, etc. Most of the articles are about something bad happening. It makes you sad, and it makes you stressed.
- It teaches you how to live unhealthily. If you see every 10 minutes, that you could have any disease, just take a medicine and it'll solve your problem, then... well... you'll do it. If you see in every commercial, how good fast food is, then... you'll eat it. I think, fast food and medicines are the worst enemies of healthy living. Yes, sometime medicines can be good, but not when you have a little head ache, or a cold.
- It costs money. A lot of people have financial problems (at least in my country). But I can see that these people have cable TV. They buy the worst quality food, but pay for cable. I really would like to ask them „which is more important? Watingch TV shows, or your health?”. But I don't ask. It's their life, not mine.
- It causes attention deficit disorder. People can't focus on one thing. Just try to scan the faces of people around you. It's also true not just for adults, but children. They do lots of things simultaneously. They can't sit in a single spot, and they cannot pay attention on anything 100%. It's because they learned it from TV. The shows are relentless. One image after another. Before your brain can process how good that dress the woman is wearing, the next image shows a totally different thing.
Since I don't watch TV, I have slowed myself down. If somebody comes to us, there is silence. We can pay attention to each other. I have some friends and if I go to their house, I always see the TV is on. How can they pay attention to me, if there is a loud and flashing box near us? In these cases the conversation is not a real conversation, it's just mumbling stupid things, that don't make any sense.
- It changes your opinions. Usually people have their own opinions. But nowadays, people are being influenced by the media. Particularly by TV. What is the right word here? Manipulation. Would you have thought? :) TV manipulates you. It tells you what you should think instead of allowing you to form your own opinion. It would be good if we live in an idealistic world, but we don't. The people who own the TV channels want to manipulate your thinking, because it gives them extra profit. And power of course.
I think, the best example is China or Russia when we're talking about manipulation. But it exists in almost every country. Look at the news in US, for instance.
Lots of people say „we have to watch the news. How can you be informed if you don't watch?” That's not true. You don't have to watch the news. I had no problem in recent years, despite the fact that I don’t have cable. If something is important, it'll find you.
And what about fear? Let's look at an example from my life. In the last month, there was an explosion in a bank that I used to visit. I know this, because sometime (maybe once a week) I scroll through the news quickly, and I saw it. That was the main story everywhere. What was the benefit for me? Now, I'm scared to go there. 99% of the news is the same, trust me. Okay, I agree, there is some news that are useful, but if we examine a single news story on TV, maybe we can find only one.
Are you planning to quit TV?
Good. I’ll give you some very useful tips to how you can achieve this goal easily.
- If you sit down to watch TV - because you're tired, or want to relax -, instead just lie down, and sleep. Find a book, and read it. If you really want to watch TV, search instead for a great movie (not on channels, but on the internet! - because of the commercials), or a series, and watch it. Or, the best advice I can give you: resign from cable, and sell your TV. You'll be a hero if you do it :)
- If you used to buy tabloids or daily newspapers, instead try Nature magazine, or some sci-fi book. The point is, it shouldn't be about celebs and those kind of things. Read something which gives you information, not just stupid people's stupid activities.
- Keep it in mind that what you read/watch/listen, changes you. Do you really want to act like a celeb in a reality show? Do you want to think negative things all day? Do you want to be pessimistic? Do you want to hear about death and accidents every day?
- If you just sit and watch TV, because you can't think of anything else, think about it: the time you're spending is very expensive. Is it the best option to spend it? What else you can do instead of watching TV? Read. Relax. Meditate. Play with your children, or your spouse. Be creative!
- Create useful rules for yourself. If you don't have any, you can't force yourself to stop watching TV and reading stupid things. First, let's say, you can watch TV only one day a week. Or, you can watch the news once a week. Then you can customize these rules, but at the beginning, you should be very patient. Then, if you're brave, you can cancel your cable.
Good luck, by the way! Don't worry about what others think. It's about you, and your family. If your friend wants to watch TV, let them to do. But don't feel ashamed because you don't watch.
Finally, I'd like to share with you some images. I'd like to ask you to look at them carefully! Pause at every image and think what it means.
Reality shows in real