|Watch this. Photo by Kyla|
When I tell people I have not watched television for a long time, nearly everyone replies with a lie: Oh, I don't watch anything but ________ (fill in the blank.) Usually it's sports, or maybe old movies. Or Jeopardy. Or cooking shows or some other specialty interest. And most often I come to find out, later, that they have understated the amount of television they really watch, by a considerable amount.
(Yeah, and that's weird too, really, cooking as a specialty interest. But it is a specialty interest these days, when you think of it; how many people do you know who really cannot cook even basic food for themselves? Maybe you are one of them even.)
So, why do people still watch t.v.? I mean, it is universally groused about as a time waster and full of crap and nothing we want to watch anyway, right?
I suspect most people have a mental program running, that has instructed them to pay no attention to any ideas about not watching television because, after all, it is so simple to entertain oneself by simply switching on a device, so, whyever not?
We also are entrained to believe that, well, of course, it's totally stupid to think we are being brainwashed, or controlled, in any way, because we are not important enough! I mean, just look at who's on television! Is it us? No! It's important people, or at least, entertainers, but never are we ordinary sorts worth the concerted attention of anyone who might be manipulating images and sounds.... What would be the point of that?
It isn't like the pieces of the puzzle are all that invisible. We already know that advertising is designed to influence us. But we think we are immune to that, and that our marketplace choices are freely made. We forget to consider the squillions of dollars and hours that have gone into honing the advertising mechanisms and processes. They are not just trying to "appeal" to us. Influence that penetrates past our already crippled critical alertness is big business and has been for decades. Big business, big government, big military. Big enslavement.
Do we really believe it is ineffective? Do we really believe it is only used "innocently" to make a bit more money for Brand Top O' the Line?
Did you see the news items about the two largest advertising agencies having a happy merger? I won't name them, but hey, centralizing the control mechanisms in plain view is not going to be a problem, not at all. The part that's visible will slip right on by most of us.
Or perhaps we think that if we don't watch commercial television but only cable, only public broadcasting, only this, or only that, we are out of the line of fire.
Are we really that naive?
Americans used to pride ourselves on our independent thinking. I fear we still do but without much left to back it up. We have been bamboozled royally.
I once did a "media fast" as a part of the Artist's Way process from the book of the same name. Lots of fun stuff, in that book, but the media fast was downright scary.
The idea was that, for one week, you would take in no media. No television, no radio, no written material of any kind -- newspapers, magazines, books, even personal letters, were a no-no. The purpose was to stimulate your creativity.
This was before the internet was everywhere, but even so, and even though way back then I had no television, it was scary! I did get through a week, not reading, not partaking in any media consumption at all, and I recommend you try it. You will get a key piece of yourself back, if you do.
So, if television is so all-influencing, so destructive of liberated awareness as I claim, how can I say it is doomed?
Are you beginning to see through it? To see the shape of the programming behind the programming? I know you are, and if you are, and I am, so are millions of others.
I propose that the healthiest thing we could do, as a population, the best and most productive and single greatest self-supportive step we could take, en masse, would be to simply stop watching.
At least, imagine that. Everyone stops watching.
How would that change our world?