Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Television as a tool, not a friend

Not a four legged friend,
it's a television!

     A long time ago, I had an opportunity to live in Germany for an extended period of time.  There was no one available to talk to about what to expect or how to prepare for the culture shift.  I happen to believe that you get what you need and that the lessons you need come in time to make good use of them.   I picked up a magazine in a doctor’s office and read about a woman who started a magazine of her own, based on a need.  

     There were no American soap operas playing in Europe when she was stationed with her husband in Germany.  She was an addict and wrote home for updates regularly.  She later started a newsletter that became a subscription that evolved into a magazine you know as Soap Opera Digest.  How clever of her! 

     More important to me, it was good to know I would also have to withdraw from a daily habit before leaving the country.  I knew I was addicted to General Hospital and One Life to Live.  I watched it EVERY day!  I talked about it at work!  I cared what happened to those characters!  That had to stop.
     I cut back to watching only the Friday cliffhanger and the Monday reveal.  Within a few weeks I skipped the Friday show then generally lost interest in the time killer.  I found other things to do for an hour and a half every afternoon.  It was also helpful to know I could catch up on anything I thought I missed by reading the digested version monthly.

     I bring this up now as I ask you to ask yourself how much television has become a habit for you?  Is there a program you watch, should I say it, religiously?  It doesn't matter if you only watch the nightly news or a daily soap or a weekly reality show, is it a habit?  Is it a habit you can break now?

      I was thinking I am fed up with the sensationalization of the local  TV news and how  I won’t miss that noise at the end of the world as we know it. The news has become an electronic magazine, entertainment.  It is not Walter Cronkite and the news of the country and the world in thirty minutes anymore.  I turn off the television and I blog or take inventory or make a list of other things to do with the time and then I work the list.  I won’t miss the newscasters telling me what news they will tell me about in a half an hour from now, or after the commercial break.  I won’t miss the same news reported day after day as they wait for more news to fill the time.  So, the news can go and I will already have this habit licked and new better habits cultivated.

     I do like a few programs.  I like Castle, Person of Interest, the first two weeks and the last two weeks of Dancing with the Stars and Antiques Roadshow.  A few others I like, but I don’t watch anything religiously as I once did when I was hooked on soap operas as a young woman.  When I find myself changing a scheduled event or scheduling around a television program, I stop watching the show.   Centering a life around a television is the sign of an addiction to it!

     If the lights go out there will be shock.  There will be a shock to many as new and immediate concerns over food, water, safe shelter, and survival take over.  All these new concerns will be handled by people going through withdrawals.  There will be no more tobacco unless you stored it before the event.  There will be no more alcohol stores once they are ransacked and looted by the most able of the alcohol addicts.  I won’t go in to the concerns I have when the recreational drug crowd start withdrawing.  I want to talk to you. 

     Your concerns will be urgent and life preserving.  You will be dealing with them under the stress of missing the noise and distractions of a fully electrified and gas fueled life.  I would like to suggest you think ahead and withdraw from the dependencies upon fluff and noise in your life.  

I never suggest withdrawing from life, only from a habit or dependency on a trivial thing.   Television is an entertainment, not a lifestyle.    Television can be a tool for education.  Television is a machine that you control.  When it controls you or is used as a substitute for real life, it is a problem.  Let it go.  Go get ready for a safe life.

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