TV is one of the worst influences in today’s culture. The folks profiting from the TV business have become experts are social engineering, making us believe that a TV is one of the first things you MUST buy when starting out on your own. Think about what you bought when you moved out of your parents house…a few dishes, some IKEA furniture, and a TV…am I wrong? And that’s just the hardware!
The electrons that make us sit glued to the sofa while staring at a plastic box is where the social manipulation really kicks in. You can find a TV show for anything, but believe me they all serve two purposes: (1) to get you addicted so you desire to suck away more of your life in front of that screen, and (2) to sell you something.
The blatant selling comes in the form of advertisements where you only tend to see perfect bodies, new things to buy, and lots of super happy people. This forces you to analyze your own life and realize it doesn’t measure up to everyone else’s. The smart folks working for the TV station really do know how to get into your head and have you (un)consciously choose to spend money on products or services you don’t need. It also lowers your self-esteem since you’re subliminally comparing yourself to all those “perfect” happy people you see on TV.
The more subliminal “selling” is making you believe ideas, biases and opinions. Although present in the advertising, I’m actually talking more about the TV show content itself. Each show has a producer, writer, and businessman behind the project trying to message something to you. It might be that you need to prepare your life for an impending zombie invasion, or that you need to have an elaborate wedding ceremony that will top all those other brides’, that Miami is better to live in than Las Vegas, or that the government is on the brink of disaster and can’t be trusted with our futures.
Approach TV with the attitude that it is working to manipulate you. Don’t let it! When you watch the screen with this defensive mentality it is amazing the messages you’ll pick out. Suddenly facts seem few and far between and political agendas seem quite apparent. Or TV just seems plain stupid and you feel dumber for having watched it (how can people actually be entertained by some of the shows these days!)
Even the “good stuff” on TV makes you stressed out—have you watched any news segment in the last ten years? Chances are it’s about a terrorist attack, high-profile crime, corporate scandal, or a dramatic car wreck causing crazy traffic jams. What value does this information have to your life? Do yourself a favor and turn off the TV and instead scan through a scholarly journal online, or actually talk with that old guy in the coffee shop—I guarantee he has a crazy story that is way more entertaining and thought-provoking than any you’ll see on TV (and it gives you the opportunity to spread some positive energy).
If you’re not convinced, try an experiment. Unplug the TV for a week. See how much time you suddenly have regained in your life. Instead of sitting on the couch staring at the wall I guarantee you’ll end up being more active, social, academic, or productive. You’ll likely use the extra time to walk around the block, or try a new (naturally healthy) recipe on the stove, call an old friend, or read a book. You’ll likely find yourself less stressed and less inclined to buy things. I challenge you to try this experiment—and continue it forever!
Once you tell the cable company you don’t want their services you’ll add about another $50-$150 back into your monthly budget to save, invest, or spend on a special date for your significant other. [Note that cutting this expense will save you $30,000 – $90,000 in your lifetime.] You’ll also find yourself not knowing what the latest movies are, which is OK because you’ll hear all about those spoiler alerts on Facebook and decide which ones truly might be worth watching a few weeks after their initial release. You’ll not be anxious all week for the next episode in your favorite series. You’ll not be exposed to those elaborate marketing schemes to buy the latest clothing fashion, technology gadget, or too-good-to-be-true deal at a chain restaurant. And guess what? You won’t miss anything. You’ll be just as happy, if not happier from the higher quality of life you’ll have created for yourself.
Bottom line: Don’t watch TV. It’ll save you oodles of money, lots of stress, increase your health, and help you become happier.