Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I Don’t Watch TV

For the past fifteen years, I have avoided the television. I get my news from the internet, and I don’t watch any shows on TV other than tennis matches. I do watch movies, but I get them from Netflicks, so there are no commercials. My attitude has to do with trying not to be influenced by the spin guys, be it politicians, religious people pushing their brand of crap, or corporations selling products.

My own sense is that the acquisition of self-knowledge has been made more difficult by the modern world. More and more human beings live in vast urban environments, surrounded by other human beings and the creations of human beings. The natural world, the traditional source of self-awareness, is increasingly absent.

Furthermore, within the last century we have come to live in a compelling world defined by electronic media. These media have evolved at a pace that is utterly alien to our true natures. It is bewildering to live in a world of ten-second spots, each one urging us to buy something, be different, do something, vote for some candidate, or to think something different. Human beings in the past were not so assaulted.

I think that this constant assault has made us pliable in an unhealthy way. Cut off from direct experience, cut off from our own thoughts, feelings, and sometimes our own sensations, we are only too ready to adopt a viewpoint or perspective that is spoon fed to us, and is not our own.

My refusal to watch TV is a feeble attempt to keep my thoughts as pure to my experience as possible.


Anonymous said...

Interesting subject. When I was in my 20's, I never owned a tv. I don't even remember why that was, but I never felt I was missing anything. I remember at my job once, someone mentioned 'South Park' and I had no idea what they were talking about. Now 20 years later, I have an HD-tv and am totally addicted. I have dozens of programs on my DVR and it's almost become a job keeping up. I've been unemployed for awhile so thought I would just do whatever I wanted. That led to me totally immersing myself in tv - almost 15 hours/day. It's weird how it creeps up on you like that just like any other addiction. I hope I can give it up cold turkey.

AlanChinWriter said...

Can't imagine watching TV for 15 hours per day. Wow. That does sound like an addiction. Best of Luck.

Ruth Sims said...

Alan, your 3rd and 4th paragraphs say it all. If I may, I'd like to quote them from time to time because they say what I think and say it better.

I do watch tv, but mostly because my husband does and it's a way to spend time with a tired man who wants to veg after work. However, a lot of what we watch is syndicated older shows with good plots, great characters, and a lack of vulgarity.