Friday, October 18, 2013

The Telly

What role does television play in your life?  Could you give it up for 24 hours?

Sometimes I talk about the man's obsession with tv, because it's hard for me to understand the constant need for tv.  Before the man I watched a little tv here and there, but nothing compared to him. Watching tv is pretty much the majority of his day.  In fact, a lot of what we do is rushed so he can get back to the tv.  I've tried hard to sway him to do other things but it isn't always easy.

Much like other vices, tv can become an escape too.  Instead of living life people watch it.  It's much easier for some to zone to tv than engage in life, have real conversations and interactions. Sometimes technology can feel rather socially isolating as well. 

And what about all the negative stuff viewed on television, it can negatively affect us.  Think about it if we watch the news which tends to be filled with negative we come away feeling happy or sad? And all these reality shows that seem to promote caddishness, unkindness, fighting, crimes, selfishness, etc, what affect does that have?  Not only on adults but kids.

And what if it's true that we become what and who we surround ourselves with?  If that's true than could not television, especially negative shows or movies potentially bring negativity into our lives?

As happenstance has it I stumbled upon this interesting piece on tv written by Gay Hendricks.

Today I ask you to focus on television and it's place in your life.  Some people do not own televisions by choice, and others do not have televisions by circumstance, but most people - even the very poorest, even those in the most remote areas of the world, living without indoor plumbing - not only own televisions but have set up those televisions as guests of honor throughout the house.  The sets occupy eye drawing positions, resting on precious pieces of furniture, adorned with all sorts of accouterments: remote control devices, so that only wrist movement is necessary, dvd, cable boxes, to allow hundreds of options for zoning out.  More than drugs, more than alcohol, televisions have become the narcotic of choice in our culture. 

This is not to suggest television isn't a remarkable medium, one that can bring vital information, connection to people and places that were beyond us.  Television is both of these things and much more. And yet, it is also the most prevalent way in which people flee, avoid, deny and escape reality and relationship.  You watch the suffering on a soap opera, and yet cannot see the suffering in your own home.  You gasp at the danger in a thriller, and yet cannot see the crisis in our partner's eyes.

If each time you approached the television, you first asked yourself what else you could be doing, with whom you could be engaging, what might be the answer?

For the next twenty four hours, your television is broken.  Commit yourself to doing anything but watching television.  Feel what you feel as you do this; you may find yourself feeling cut adrift, or you may feel a sense of despair - we often to when we give up our crutches - and this is all right.  Let yourself feel whatever arises, and do not judge yourself, but do not give in to the feelings by medicating yourself with the television.  Read, talk, watch your loved ones, walk, dream, write, play or sit with your eyes open and do absolutely nothing at all.  Just be. 

There are moments I wonder what life would be like without televisions and computers?  What would people do if the telly did not exist? What would you do?

Turn off the TV!

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