Monday, February 28, 2011

Committing American Cultural Blasphemy - Turning Off The TV

Can be purchased here at Amazon.

A scandalous thought for the last post of the month.  Turning off the TV forever

I have just finished Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander which presents this radical idea, and I gotta tell you, it's one of the greatest books I have read in a long time. I have long believed that television is one of the key culprits in the demise of humanity and this book confirmed these beliefs and then some.  Television distorts reality, screws around with your brain and can quite easily become a means of thought control.  Scary stuff.

Here's a brief but very interesting synopsis of the conclusions found here.  The link will take you to the Orthodox Christian Information Center, but the book itself is non-religious and written by a man born into the Jewish faith.

In my own personal musings I often wondered if people's unhappiness and general discontent with their daily lives was based on their comparisons on what television would have them believe a "happy" life really is.  Real life is mundane, television life is not.  It cannot be or you wouldn't watch.  The sole job of advertisers is to sell you products, to make you believe that what you don't possess is the real reason you are unhappy. And, for whatever reason, we believe it.  We have created a nightmare of a society based on consumerism and the constant arousal of a flickering television that jumps from one scene to the next creating what Mander calls "Artificial Unusualness".  It's madness!  Sheer absurdity!   It is impossible to emulate the life advertisers and television programmers present to us as reality.  I personally know of marriages that have fallen apart because either one or both spouses lived in this fantasy world and held insane expectations of what their lives "should be" which was never based on reality.  Like I said, life is mundane, it does not move at the speed of television.  We go through long periods of routine, something that television will not portray.  I believe that routine is not bad, but actually ideal.  If I am not focusing on material acquisitions or whether or not "my needs" are being met at every waking moment I can focus on other people, which surprise, surprise, is one of the primary messages of the Gospel of Christ.  Sounds like television may be a type of Antichrist.  Food for thought for sure.    

So, as we are rapidly approaching Great Lent in the Orthodox Christian Church (one week from today to be exact!), maybe a 7 week kibosh on television watching is in order. Do you think you could do it?  Or at least cut back?  I know I will.  I think I may have mentioned it before in another post, but I would rather live in reality than delusion. It should be obvious that television is a source of delusion that implants false ideas that we passively accept whether we realize it or not.

Read the book. Do it for yourself, your children, for the sake of the human race. 

Wow, that was one hell of a rant...see you in March!


CarlynB said...

Wow, this was a timely post for me.
My husband and I were just discussing curtailing our video viewing during Lent. We don't watch any broadcast TV, but we do watch videos that we get from Netflix. We stick to what we can watch together as a family, but even so, our evenings after supper are built around the television.

Thanks for this post. I have never heard of the book, even though it was first published in 1977.

Desert Dweller said...

Hey Carlyn,

One of things I really started to wonder about was how this relates to our thoughts. There is so much written in Orthodoxy about our thoughts and dealing with them that when I read this book and realized the further mess we create by allowing images to be implanted in our brains, I began to wonder if we all are at the borderline of insanity.

Mander writes this:
"Television inhibits your ability to think, but it does not lead to freedom of mind. You may have time out from prior obsessive thought patterns, but that's as far as television goes. The mind is never empty, the mind is filled. What's worse, it is filled with someone else's obsessive thoughts and images."

I don't need other people's thoughts...mine are enough to battle with!

As an aside, St. Kosmas of Aitolos who lived in the 18th century had this to say "A time will come when the devil will enter a box and scream. His horns will be on the rooftop." and "A time will come when the world will be directed by speechless and lifeless things."
What must have sounded crazy in the 18th century sure makes a whole lotta sense in the 21st!

May you and your family have a blessed Lenten journey. I can't wait...I love Great Lent!