Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thought Control

We don’t need no television

It’s no revolutionary thought, but it struck me again last week just how bad television is. I’m not talking about the quality of the acting or the reused plotlines, I’m talking about the way it crushes my soul and dulls my mind. I have always said/thought that I watched tv to relax and let my mind rest, thinking that my mind can, and needs to, switch off from time to time. However, it is not so much resting my mind, as it is removing it’s ability to do anything.

It eats up my time, as I sit here staring blankly without a thought. I’m rarely loving it, and it’s never improving my life, but I still can’t seem to make myself get up and turn it off. Why does it have this power of me? Over us, because I know I’m not alone. Lots of my friends have expressed staying up way too late.

And it’s dulling my mind.
And it’s shrinking my thoughts.
And it’s shaping my mind.
And it’s streaming their will.

How has this happened? How is it that a system has been set up, and the culture established that we so happily consume what they pump into our houses everyday with very little concern for the depth or breath of the content. It is a well known concept that you get out what you put in; you are what you eat. So then why do we so openly let someone else choose our mindfood. What they show is what we consume,  and what we consume is what we will mirror. And I don’t want to mirror that.

But it’s hard to catch. There is not always anything particularly wrong with what is on television. It’s not all smut and violence and crime (although a lot of it is), but it’s the more subtle themes that are worrying me. The world already has a loud enough voice in my ear telling me it’s all about my look, my cloths, my car, my lifestyle as reflected in my things, and my friends and our wealth. Why do I give this voice another access point?

If the thoughts that I am putting into my brain will become the framework around which I build my mind, I had better start using some better materials, or before long I will not even realize I’ve got nothing of my own.


Samuel P said...

I think this is a slight tangent from your main point... TV is not designed to entertain or benefit/inspire us as its #1 goal, it is designed to keep us coming back time and time again so that they can sustain their business model - keep selling us ads. The same argument is google's (And soon to be facebook's) weakness, where the quality of the service is the secondary goal.

I don't watch tv, except for top gear, but that is pretty mindless stuff with the same problems you mentioned - I do not want to mirror jeremy clarkson. Generally we watch those competition shows (australia's got talent, factor, masterchef, the block etc) tv during dinner, which I really dislike.

I tried switching to TED talks for a while; that was mentally stimulating, and made for good conversations. You could even do the same thing with NOOMAs, but that might be a bit intense to do every day.

I'm house sitting this week. Going to try to get through with no TV or news at all.

David said...

That's a good point, adds are the product, not the shows.