Turn off your TV, turn on your mind…

Schopenhauer on thinking for Oneself: “The safest way of having no thoughts of one’s own is to turn on the TV set every moment one has nothing else to do. It is this practice which explains why watching TV makes most people more stupid and silly than they are by nature.”

“What good fortune for those in power that people do not think.” -Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf.

“It is easy to overlook a deceptively simple fact: one is always watching television when one is watching television rather than having any other experience. Whether the program being watched is Sesame Street or Spiderman, Nova or Fantasy Island, there is a similarity of experience about all television watching.”

Are you sitting down? Good because I am about to dive into a controversial topic. Bernard McGrane, a renowned Sociologist once pointed out that TV is designed to dominate your life. Think about it. You see it best in a dark room by its own light. It has its own sounds and images. It is dominant by nature. Turn it off and you might even forget it is there. Turn it on and you have to stare at it. It is getting bigger and bigger, the images are getting clearer and clearer and now, it even includes surround sound. The new tvs demand that you put them up on a pedestal above every other thing. Can you think of any other electrical appliance that demands such majesty, such visibility? No. You can’t.

And it is through tv that we have lost our sense of reality. I’ll give you an example. Think of the Katrina tragedy in New Orleans. Remember the countless hours of coverage that it got? Have the problems all been fixed? Not at all. Then how come it isn’t getting much talk around the water cooler? How come more people aren’t demanding answers, or volunteering or even thinking about it? Because the cameras are gone. TV and the media have moved on to other things like Britney Spears and Roger Clemens and steroids. We were told something as ridiculous as the New Orleans Saints were playing for the victims of Katrina. That sports were a way to heal the wounds left over from the disaster and that was bull. Throwing a ball doesn’t fix things or make them better. It only causes people to ignore just how bad things are. Sure sports might bring people together. But the tragedy which most people miss is that we even need sports to bring us together. What has New Orleans gained from the Saints making the playoffs that year? Moments of joy and happiness, yes but it didn’t feed anyone or clothe anyone or rebuild their torn down homes or give them back what they lost. The fact that these people even gain joy from that is a big example of how skewed our reality has gotten.

The allure of TV and indeed the media on the whole is that we believe that it is a good thing for the city that the Saints were playing well. Look closely though and you’ll realize that it was all a marketing ruse. The Saints got more publicity, sold more tickets, television ratings went up and they sold more jerseys. In the end what has the city gotten? Ten to twenty minute segments at halftime of games while the games go on. Imagine that all the people who watched the superbowl (including me) saved the money they used to buy tickets, even buy big screen Tvs, alcohol and other refreshments and sent them to New Orleans. Wouldn’t the problem be taken care of?

There are countless other examples but I will leave you with that one as the point has been made. We need to spend more time thinking about others and setting examples and learning and loving other people instead of being glued to the tube. Gotta go. I have to go watch the Lakers play the Suns.

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7 Comments to “Turn off your TV, turn on your mind…”

  1. TV is definitely a subliminal force simply by the way the medium “enters” your environment. I watch way too much of it but I also try to balance it out with living in the real world as much as possible. New Orleans is a perfect example to use…when the cameras are on, it was the focus of the world…when the NBA All-Star Game came to town, the problems of the city were “unearthed.” Yet, they never went anywhere…only the cameras did…they went away but the problems did not.

  2. yep, it does so by impacting the delta wavs i the brain. so u end up watching without being aware of what you take in. The cathode ray tube i tell ya

  3. Too true. I must admit, I’m a tv lover. I love a good movie, especially old movies. I suppose I’ll have to balance my tv life, my love life, my sex life, my family, my helping people life, my cleanup my house life, my going to work life . . .
    There is nothing more relaxing for me after engaging in these many lives, than laying down and watching the majestic TV.

  4. when I conduct social histories with families who have a delayed child I ask how much television does your child watch…the answer is astounding…these children watch six to ten hours a day…they don’t go outside, they don’t engage in imaginative or reciprocal play, they don’t ride bikes, swing, or engage in any other activity but watching television…the parent does not see the link between their child’s inability to talk, function, grasp basic daily living skills (such as not being potty trained at four) and the endless hours spent before the boobtube…sad…

  5. Or Cordie you could curl up with a good book lol. Nah if tv is working for you go ahead. Lord knows you already have a great mind as is.

  6. Thanks ghettophilosopher. I needed the reminder today. I must say though, that I do often curl up with a good book; and I have a strange compulsion in that I can’t use the bath room without taking some reading material with me to read. I used to take the bible with me sometimes, until I was informed that it was disrespectable. If I can’t get to the book or newspaper before going in the bathroom, I often yell for someone in the house to please bring me a book! My daughters are the same way.

  7. Lol I don’t think its disrespectable personally and I am the same way. I can’t go without a book.

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