Jul 17 2012
What is this power that television has over us? Hell what is this power that useless stuff has over us? Why is that I can literally watch the same episode of a television show over 20 times and if that same episode comes on again, I’ll watch it again? And why is it that even if I know all the evidence points to watching television is bad for me it won’t make a shred of a difference?
In all honesty I don’t have much of a scientific answer here. I can only conclude that it’s simply easier. It’s just easier to be lazy. It’s easier to do things we know are wrong because in general they tend to temporarily make us feel good. Hell even I know that laying back and watching TV can be a good thing once in a while.
It gets your mind off of things and it tends to take me away from my real world problems. But how much is enough?
That’s the eternal question right? How much is enough? Like any other addiction in life you start off small and you get this rush from the feeling of whatever it is you try. You smoke that first cigarette and you might feel a sense of relief. Hell you might feel like it takes some stress away from you. Then all of a sudden you become dependent on the stuff not only because it’s literally addictive but because you’ve become so used to it as a channel in life it becomes harder and harder to give it up.
And the more you get used to something the more it becomes habit. Also, the more it becomes addictive even though it’s hard to see television in this fashion. But think about it. If you’re watching more than 5 hrs a day of television, which is what the average American does, then you’ve got issues. The reason being is that if you’re watching over 5 hrs there’s a very good chance that a large portion of that 5 hrs involves shows or movies you’ve already seen. Do you know what that means?
That means that of the 1000 or so other things you could be doing at that moment you’d rather be watching programming you’ve already seen, and probably more than once. Doesn’t that sound just awful? And even as I write that I’ll still go back and watch Seinfeld later on today. So how in the hell can we beat this? How can we get past it?
First things first. We have to be pissed off about it. If you think that watching all this TV per day is fine then there’s simply no help for you. However, if you know it’s an issue and you realize your life can be more productive then here are some things that might help you improve your television situation.
1. Stop watching old crap – I’m not saying that you should lower your hours on TV. That’s a tough thing to do. But at least you can alter up what you watch. Try new movies. Try new shows. Only watch new episodes. Hit up the nature channel once in a while. You’ll find that this is extremely hard to do. It will become more and more difficult to keep up your normal 5 hrs a day if you make sure everything you’re watching is new. Trust me. You’ll wind up watching the news just to make sure it’s new programming. And the news sucks.
2. Then start trimming your hours – If you only watch new programming your hours will start to drop anyway. But at this point you should make a real effort to cut it down at least an hour a day. Maybe do that for a few weeks and then cut back another hour.
3. Watch TV when you know you should – This is a tough one because it requires you to think consciously about it. But really think about it. There are times when you know that watching TV is pointless. Really think about these times and stop watching TV when you know it’s crap. For example, if you have work to do and you’re putting it off in favor of an old show that’s on, you know it’s wrong. However, if you’ve put in a long day and have gotten a lot done, then you can reward yourself with mindless programming.
4. What do I do with all this time? – Once you are able to cut your hours, what in the hell do you do with yourself with all that free time? Frankly I don’t live your lives but keep a list up. Add to it everyday. Make a list of ideas, any ideas. Hell once I wrote down that I wanted to learn to make a pickle at home. You never know. The point is, you’ll always have something to do, and chances are it’s way more productive and better for your mind than watching TV.
Or you can just keep watching the same old crap everyday. It’s up to you.
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