Tag Archives: Turn off your TV

The ultimate question?

Is life worth living?

According to Nietzsche our lord(s) and saviour(s); our God(s) are dead.  Dead in that their originating source is undefined and Religion(s) appear to be systems that provide a social structure for the continuation of our species.  Interesting stuff!  He points out that if indeed God(s) is dead this isn’t necessarily a negative thing.  Our horizons will have been opened up by the lack of moral boundary.  Anything is possible; at last.  However, if there are no Gods, then what makes life worth living?  If life is not a period in which to attempt to satisfy all Karmic debts, then what value does life have in and of itself?  Procreation and maintaining human numbers is one potential offering, but there are already probably way too many people on this planet so this seems like a very weak argument.

Baudrillard coined a wonderful term “Desert of the real” to describe the mere fragments of our experience that are actually sourced in true authenticity.  In the west we are surrounded by imagery which is used to construct our reality.  Only the other day did I realise the depth to which I had been conditioned by TV.  I was at a friends house (hi Jono!) and he put his TV on as background noise as people do.  The BAFTA awards were in their early stages.  People who I mostly did not recognise due to lack of exposure to the entertainment media over the last five years or so appeared in smart attire and were furiosly photographed by photographers.  As I watched with new eyes.  As if I hadn’t seen this kind of thing before, I saw one section of the media photographing another section of the media, to be published in a different form of media; the whole event being televised which obviously is another form of media.  TV was displaying its own child.  I think this is a simulacra or simulacrum?? (Answers on a post card please!)  Anyway, I remembered “The desert of the real” and as I watched actors and actresses be treated incredibly specially I wondered what they had done?  Have they saved lives?  Have they prevented wars?  Have they solved world poverty and starvation?  No, they have entertained those of us who are lucky enough not to be starving.  There are awards for this kind of thing.

So in the potentially godless desert of the real, is life worth living?  If not should it be ended?  If it is worthy of our effort how do we know?  What benefits do we reap?  In my experience the death of a loved one is an interuption to the precession of simulacra presented to us as reality on an everyday basis.  Maybe those who acknowledge and accept in their own mind that life isn’t of any value and act on this personal reality bring a moment of reality to the lives of their nearest and dearest?  Those who I have lost most certainly have brought a moment of reality and clarity to my experience.  I am grateful.

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Living without TV

Over the summer of 2006 I decided to get rid of my Television set. My DVD player went too. Why? A colleague of mine (hiya Lesley) mentioned in conversation months earlier that she didn’t have a TV and hadn’t had one for many years (or maybe even at all, I can’t remember). This, whilst it came to a shock to me at first, made me consider the amount of moaning I have been told that I do at the TV when watching it, especially the News. Don’t get me wrong, its not the news itself that I have an issue with, what happens in the world happens, its the way that the news is told. The lack of actual facts and accurate information is remarkably common. The huge amount of opinion that is stuffed into each and every article makes the story completely one sided. Take the imagery of the wars in Iraq and the current conflict between Israel and Palestine for example. The imagery is completely censored. We are told that people are dying and many are dead in a single article. They probably are, but the imagery does not support the voice over. Once we have had the wool pulled over our eyes which political leader do we hear from next? Being here in England, you would expect to hear comment about the days events from our Prime Minister or one of his colleagues. No. We get to cross the pond to the USA, about as far away as you can fly without going to Japan or Australia, to hear what George Bush has to say. Why should we care? He doesn’t run our country does he? (mmm good question!). It was startlingly obvious to me during my last days with a TV that the media of this country isn’t doing its basic job very well. Unless its basic job is to corrupt the minds of the UK population with half truths, open lies, complete rubbish and opinions from people who we shouldn’t be hearing from who are presented in a way that makes you feel as if they are our leader.

So anyway, I got rid of my TV. I got rid of it because I wanted some quiet. I could turn it off thats true, but unless you live on your own its very rarely actually off. It provides the background noise for daily life. What a din it is too. The programmes are to low in volume or is it that the adverts are louder? A room that is serene and pleasant with the TV off is changed once the TV is turned on. Immediately there is electrical noise that fills the room as the TV heats up. Then it starts. Fifty percent off at hopewells, brush your teeth with aquafresh for a cool minty whiter mouth, no-nails is so strong you can fix a chair to the side of your garage with it, are you in debt? Got that sinking feeling? Well don’t worry because debt buster loans can help. It goes on and on. So you turn over the channel to find Trisha interviewing a group of low life half wits using leading questions and directing them to their embarrassing doom in front of the nation. Who ironically probably don’t care one inch and wouldn’t recognize any of the people from the show if they past them in the street the very same day. The unfortunate thing is that these people probably aren’t actors like on Jerry Springer, but really do have real problems that they need help with. Why does anyone with an ounce of sanity think that appearing on Trisha will help them in anyway shape of form?

So anyway I got rid of my TV. I regularly got the feeling that the TV broadcasts were invading my personal space. When your at home your personal space is the whole place. But I found myself sat in my living room being constantly disturbed by sound and images that I had not asked to see or hear. Advertising for things that promise something constantly thrust in my face. I realised that TV can shape your attitudes if your not aware of its potential. Now that I don’t have a TV I no longer think “10 o’clock – the news will be on now”. I no longer feel myself planning my time around TV programmes that are actually a complete waste of my time. I mean, really ask yourself – when was the last time that TV actually gave you something that made you glad you have it.

So anyway I got rid of my TV and the time I spend in front of the box has filled with other activities. The most important one is talking to my friends and family. Communication is so important, everyone thinks this. Yet 99% of UK households have this time wasting, communication inhibiting device, and many of these households have more than one.

I save £360 a year at least (not including electricity) by not having a TV. The biggest saving of all is my time and the fact that I now spend it doing things that I choose to do consciously, rather than unconsciously.

It has been pointed out to me that having children in a TVless home puts your children at a social disadvantage. This concerns me. I feel that this probably is true but at the same time is a sad sad reflection of the world that we live in.

YouTube.com has a lot to answer for! I found this video on there detailing what an American TV network does with the truth in its TV news reports and how the news team in the studio behave like they are model examples of how everyone in society should be.

I have ranted on about TV already so I am going to leave the following video to pass on its message.

“But it’s American, what do you expect?”, The BBC do exactly the same thing with all the “Terrorist” reports shown over here. However unlike the people in the US who complain about the problem but don’t actually take direct action, I and many like me have decided to dump the TV and the “how to live a good life” propaganda that it sends out 24 hours a day.

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