Television Simulates Life

Many people are now using television as a substitute for life.  The content of television – with its cuts, edits, zooms, pans, and sudden noises – mimics, although poorly, real life interaction.  The temptation is to substitute watching programs for participation in life’s events.  The brain is easily fooled by this counterfeit simulation of the real thing.

Researchers say that people lose their ability and confidence to interact socially after heavy viewing.  Statistically it has been found that television has the following negative effects:

1) The couch potato factor:  It takes away the time and incentive to exercise.  Individuals watching TV use even fewer calories than when sleeping!  Studies have found that heavy viewers are less likely to participate in community activities and sports and are more likely to be obese. 

2) Less social interaction: television poorly mimics interpersonal relationships, lessening the need and the ability to interact.   Introversion can result.

3) Snack attack:  The foods people choose while watching TV have been found to directly correlate with the advertising messages of the sponsors.  41% of the foods portrayed on TV are snack foods.  These foods contain high amounts of fats and sugars, which stimulate the appetite center and do not signal the brain that we are full. 

4) Vicarious experience:  Watching others engage in new experiences drains the motivation of viewers to go out into the real world.  The mind becomes used to letting a source outside of itself give it data for conclusions.  Curiosity, intellectual questioning, and learning from one’s own experiences are slowed down when television watching is increased.  Watching television does not put one in touch with other people, or even with ourselves.  Instead, it bombards the individual with the agenda and values of the TV programmers and advertisers.  Spending a lot of time in front of the TV feeds loneliness.  It encourages viewers to let someone else decide what’s interesting or worthwhile.

One determination as to whether a substance or a behavior is an addiction lies in whether the individual experiences withdrawal symptoms.  Substances that are addictive involve the triggering of a reaction and a subsequent cessation. 

In the 1960’s, Gary A. Steiner of the University of Chicago followed families whose TV sets had broken.  “The family,” he recounted, “walked around the house like chickens without heads.”  He related some of the comments by those involved in the study: “It was terrible.  We did nothing – my husband and I screamed constantly.  Children bothered me; my nerves were on edge.  Tried to interest them in games, but impossible.”

In experiments, families have volunteered to stop watching TV.  Many of them could not complete the short period of self-restraint.  Charles Winick of the City University of New York concluded that, just as with chemical dependence, the first three or four days of withdrawal from TV were the worst.  In over half the households, during those first few days, regular routines were disrupted and family members had difficulty adjusting; anxiety and aggression were expressed.  People living alone tended to be bored and irritated.  People had lost the inner resources to entertain themselves.

Television watching increases passivity in human behavior by developing reliance on vicarious experiences.  People interact less with each other and more with the “electronic babysitter.” 

TV promotes avoidance of movement and exercise and encourages overeating.  Dr. John Foreyt, obesity expert at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has said that the strongest predictor of obesity, especially childhood obesity, is the number of hours spent in front of a television. 

The constant visual and auditory stimulation coming from the TV set is addictive.   Knowing that TV is, in fact, a drug, can help us combat its deleterious effects.  Like any drug, the first hit, or in the case of TV, the first program, leads to watching more.  One sitcom turns into another…until the evening is gone, and with it the opportunity to interact with loved ones, build interpersonal relationships, communicate with children, exercise, take up a new hobby, or take an adult education course at school. 

Artificial stimuli, such as those coming at us from television, quickly trigger the release of enkephalins, (short-lived endorphins) but just as quickly spur the need for renewed release.  Natural Endorphins, Dopamine, Oxytocin and Serotonin triggers last longer and do not require constant replenishment. 

Be a participant in life, not just a viewer.  We have the capacity to choose.  Knowing what those choices are, brings us that much closer to regaining control of our lives and making good use of our time.  Television is insidious.  It plays six major roles that used to be reserved for the family – cultural mentor, sexual advisor, hero, family manager, arbitrator, and friend.  The TV has now supplanted these positions.  It’s not just a half hour that is gone by; it’s your life that’s going by.

Your goal in life should not be to accumulate material items with planned obsolescence built in.  Your goal should be to be of benefit to others less fortunate than yourself. 

Opportunities are everywhere.  All you need is “to be awake.”  Look around you; seek those circumstances.  Consider it good fortune when you find such opportunities. 

Did you know that the cost of one bottle of expensive wine can keep a midsize hospital open for weeks?

That a half hour operation can fix a cleft palette in children so they do not have to be ridiculed and treated like scum by others

Did you know that only average tattoo can feed a family of four for a month?

While you sit in front of your TV, mesmerized by stupid, inane, repetitive, commercials and by shows that play to the lowest common denominator of human behavior the world suffers.  And for a fraction of what you earn you could relieve the suffering of many, many people.

A full arm tattoo can bring internet to a tribe of a thousands people.

There are children who have had their arms chopped off because they would not accept the rebels as their masters.  For a few hundred dollars these children can receive artificial limbs and be able to care for themselves.

Instead of watching America’s got talent, the biggest looser, dancing with the stars, doctor pimple popper, or any one of the stupid, attention grabbing, mind numbing, mind-freezing programs and commercials, you could be making a different in  the world.

Tell me about your favorite shows, how they uplift the people in need and in danger.  How they benefit mankind.  How they make for a better future for man and the planet.  How they educate and enlighten you.

America’s got talent, hey I’m sorry.  I don’t actually know the names of the programs because they only time  I see the names is when I’m scrolling through the channels looking for the BBC, AL Jazerra, CNBC, CNN, Democracy now.

Well, there’s a lot of good series  now from Netfix.  Good actors and interesting, even captivating plot.  Really?  Who gives a fuck.  Your life is flashing by while your opportunity to make a difference in the world fads.

How about being a pen pal to poor person in South America, Africa, or South East Asia. Instead of finishing that bottle of wine you could be inspiring and uplifting a child.  You could be educating them as much or mire than they get at school where teacher rarely show up.

It would only cost you one international stamp ($1.29) and cost nothing by email.

Support Doctors without Borders: doctors, nurses and specialist who risk their lives and are paid nothing for operating in the most dangerous places on Earth.

Support Mercy ships that travel the world operating on the poorest people in the most dangerous countries.

Support UNICFEF: helps children in physical and emotional danger.

Support RED CROSS: helps people who lost everything in flood or fires.

Support the AFRICA RELIEF FUND so women don’t have to see their bodies for a bag of rice.

Support THE HUMANE SOCIETY and save poor animals mistreated and abandoned by their owners,

Host parties to gather donations for good causes.

Mentor young people in third world countries.

You’re being hypnotized and fed garbage.  Wake up.  It’s not too late.  Save a poor, innocent, deprived, at risk person….help an uneducated, willing child through cell phone messages (almost everyone in Africa has one in their family) and save yourself in the process.

Shopping Basket