December 20, 2009

You are what you watch

I'm still reading A New Earth. I can't seem to finish it. I'll read a chapter and then reread it 12 times. There's a lot to absorb. Yesterday on the train I was reading about television. Yes, there's a section on tv. It says that by the time the average American reaches 60 years old they have spent 15 years staring at a tv screen. Holy shit. By watching various game shows, talk shows, dramas, sitcoms or even commercials and sports, it takes you "out of your being". It quiets the mind, you become "free" of yourself. It says that by watching tv you're not producing thoughts, you're absorbing them. Tv produces a trance like passive state of heightened susceptibility like hypnosis. Advertisers LOVE when you're in this state of "receptive unawareness". During these mind-numbing shows you become a hypnotized moron. "I must buy a new BMW, I must buy Tide with whitening sparkles, I must own a Chop-o-matic".
While tv does "appear" to provide a "relief from your mind" you pay the price of "loss of consciousness". Like a drug, it's very addictive. You grab the remote and try to shut it off but an hour later you find yourself still surfing for another show. The more meaningless and trivial, the more addictive it becomes (Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, Insider) You watch this crap an slip into a TV induced coma fueled by mindless entertainment. The book goes on to say that shows with a rapid succession of images that change every two or three seconds (most shows) are responsible for some degree of ADD. This short attention span makes your perceptions and relationships shallow and unsatisfying. It goes on to say that prolonged TV watching induces passivity and drains you of energy.
Tolle offers some suggestions:
ONLY watch certain shows you plan beforehand and find of interest.
Don't channel surf.
Keep the volume to a quiet level, ALWAYS mute during commercials.
Never sleep just after watching and especially, NEVER fall asleep with the TV on.

This implies, which I totally agree with, that by giving up most of your TV viewing you will become more creative, more interesting, less negative and have more energy. We are constantly bombarded with negative input in this culture. Watch any news broadcast. Pictures of war, murder, catastrophes both natural and man made, death, destruction, abductions etc. etc.. Who can watch this shit on a day to day basis and still think clearly and positively? Watch negativity, become negative. Watch moronic shows, become moronic. You are what you watch. Obviously there are exceptions... A few nice nature shows, an informative science show, but come on, for the most part about 98% of all tv is horseshit.

Here's an interesting experiment to try. I do it often and it usually makes me sick. Watch a TV show and count to yourself how long each scene lasts before they change pictures or camera angles. I did this watching The View one day (another stupid piece of shit show). Constant flashing from one face to another, never stopping for more than 2 seconds on any one person. It was nauseating. But, it had always been like, I just hadn't stopped and recognized it. In a typical commercial the scene will change about every 3 seconds. An extremely long scene in a show these days is 20 seconds. Long ago movies had scenes that lasted minutes. This new "MTV/ADD" version of what we call TV is a large number of extremely short snippets edited together to make a whole show. I've always thought this incessant, choppiness had to be bad for your brain and apparently I was right. Constant flashing images, it's a wonder we don't all have seizures.

Do yourself a favor, pull yourself (and your kids) away from the Tv. Better yet, get rid of it. It's a bad bad thing that sucks your creativity, wastes your time and brainwashes you. Apparently watching too much tv makes you uninteresting, negative, depressed and numb.

Oh, I'm not being a hypocrite... I admit, I watch too much tv (it's not on right now). But, after this entry I will make an honest effort to curb what I watch, and for how long.

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