“For in the end, he was trying to tell us what afflicted the people in ‘Brave New World’ was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.” ~ Neil Postman
When I had cable television, I was an infamous channel surfer. Every 10 seconds I was changing the channel, vexing my wife with the constant change of imagery.
My actions were much like the actions of millions of other chronic channel surfers; actions motivated by boredom and a lack of entertaining programs.
Depending on their cable packages, cable subscribers generally have a minimum of 100 channels to view, yet are unable to find a program that will engage their interest for more than 15 seconds. According to reports, the average American watches more than five hours’ worth of television daily. Please note: during these brainwashing sessions, they are usually sitting and eating. Not a good combination.
In the height of my television consumption I mostly watched re-runs of my favorite sitcom or movies, reaching the point I could recite entire movies. Companies are quite aware of the public’s dependence on reruns, selling sit-com DVD sets, TiVo, On Demand and other programs that allow viewers to record their favorite shows to watch over and over again.
Such famous channels as ESPN’s Classic Sports and Nickelodeon’s Nick at Nite consist solely of reruns. I had to ask myself one day, “Am I so bored or is my life so boring that I am sitting here watching this shit over and over, laughing at the same jokes? If my time is my most valuable asset, why am I wasting it?”
The decision to cancel my cable was pretty difficult, I won’t lie. I received strength by reading numerous books, a couple are listed at the bottom. When telling peers of my decision, I was met with ridicule. People viewed me as a militant or a quack. The transition was actually easier than I expected resulting in immense improvement in my physical, psychological, and spiritual health.
Without television, I have been able to delve deep into the gift that all humans possess but many fail to use the, ability to think. I was able to think my own thoughts. Not thoughts given to me by some producer in Hollywood, script writer in Manhattan, or apparel company in Oregon. We are really unaware of the influence television consumption has on our thoughts and moods. Movies, sit-coms, news, and sports all have a great impact on our psychological and emotional state while watching them. I can attest to numerous shows that made me feel insecure, distorting reality making me ungrateful for numerous things I should of been appreciative. Television also provides an unattainable criteria for success that leaves too many depressed and unfulfilled.
People ask, “What the hell you do without television?”
I reply, “More than I was doing while sitting in front of the television.”
What would you do with an extra five hours of free time? You will surprised what can be accomplished when not sitting in front of television being told what to wear, what to eat, what to think, and how you should look. Five hours of indoctrination can turn into five hours of growth and inspiration.
Wishing you the best on your journey! Here are some books to help you along the way:
Empire of Illusion “The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (Chris Hedges)
Amusing Ourselves to Death (Neil Postman)
Dialectic of Enlightenment (Max Horkheimer & Theodor W. Adorno)
Propaganda (Edward Bernays)
Author: Linton Hinds Jr.
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Iain Watson/Flickr