The average user spends about four hours a day watching the tube. The more time spent exposed to television, the more influence it has. While television may never tell us the effects it has on us, it is still in our interest to find out what impact it has.

Anyone who watches television gets influenced, both consciously and subconsciously, by what they see and hear. Anyone who sees an advertisement gets influenced in a similar fashion. Therefore, excepting those who watch DVR’s (that can record shows and skip ads) or commercial-free programming, anyone who watches television gets influenced both consciously and subconsciously by advertisements.

So what does TV do? The old wives tale is that TV will rot your brain, and if we were to observe the physical effects of TV – sitting on a couch like a zombie, eyes glazed over, mouth slacked open – one could easily conclude that a television is an electrical device that emits lights and noise in order to induce a catatonic state in humans.

But thats only looking at the outside. Inside, our minds are working hard… there is a lot of stimulus to be processed. Television turns us into zombies, not because it is mind-rotting and under-stimulating, but because it is overstimulating. Similar to how a deer can get frozen in headlights, or a chicken can get hypnotized by tracing a line in front of its face, the bombardment of stimulus overwhelms us.

And while we are bombarded with info, we never get time to reflect, for there is always a constant influx of new information. We get to view and analyze what happens, but before we really reflect on what we see, new stuff happens and we view and analyze the new stuff, and then over and over again. Never do we engage in deep thought, for we aren’t given the opportunity.

Television makes us be passive thought processors. Someone else will put the time and effort and thought into what we see, and all we have to do is sit back, enjoy and absorb. Easy. The brain, like any other muscle, gets toned to whatever it is used for. As the years go by, long-term exposure to television atrophies the ability to form independent thought… turning us into chronically passive thinkers.

And as a bonus, the more we watch TV and the more advertisements we see, the more we will become what ad producers want us to be – passive consumers. Then we will have no choice but to do what we are told… work harder and harder at our jobs, taking any drugs we need to keep us going, be it caffeine, nicotine, Prozac, or anything else that alleviates the symptoms of a high stress work world. Then, go out and spend money on all the meaningless shit they assign worth to… big houses, fancy cars, toys, status symbols, and bling. But you can’t just buy the all the stuff. No… you have to want it all soooo fucking bad that you are willing to let your world get overrun with pollution and greed and violence and suffering as long as you get that kick-ass 72 inch plasma screen with surround sound to entertain you when you’re not sucking down gasoline and polluting the atmosphere in your tank of a vehicle.

Don’t just kill your TV because of all the shit it makes you want and pursue and live and die for. Television is a distraction from reality. A distraction that makes us idle our lives away, viewing the world through a lens and someone else’s viewpoint instead of seeing it for ourselves. A distraction that makes it easy for us to shirk the responsibility we have to the earth and all life on it, and more importantly, to ourselves.

Once we stop watching TV we can stop being passive observers. Then we can stop wasting our lives making corporations more powerful, and instead, spend our lives making the world a better place for ourselves and for those to come.

While I do agree that materialism fills a need in all of us – the desire for power – we should recognize that the pursuit of happiness via material acquisition is fleeting. Encoded in our genes is part of human nature – permanent insatiability- which makes it so that no matter how much we gain, it can never be enough for we will always come to want more.

But that doesn’t mean we can not be happy. In fact, here’s something that no one on television who is selling you something (apart from self-help books) will ever let you know… you already have everything you need to be happy. That’s right… even in today’s fast-paced world, it is possible, with a little effort, for us to combat our perpetual dissatisfaction and be happy with what we already have. Happiness cannot be bought, but it can be found within each of us. All it takes is the inclination to look, and the time to find it.

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  1. Zaphod2016 says:

    For your consideration:


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