It’s hardly a home without a television, am I right? One of the first things people do when they move or go out into the world on their own is get their cable turned on. Small talk invariably revolves around popular tv shows. Internet memes are created about them. Characters on these shows become like family. The world mourns when a popular character is killed off on a show, or cheers when a villain is dispatched by the hero. In some ways, television is the great uniter. So why am I against it?
Well, let me explain. Aside from my very strong beliefs regarding the government and the media in general, I don’t believe television itself is intrinsically bad. It is a fascinating, brilliant concept that has succeeded beyond it’s own wildest dreams. But the television is a vacuum. It is a wasteland for the mind if it’s usage is not controlled and nobody seems able to do that. The only time the television is turned off in most homes is when people are going to sleep or they are leaving, and even then half the time it is left on. Television has become a religion. This has got to stop. There are now entire generations of people who believe that if they did not see it on television, it isn’t true or didn’t happen. This is very dangerous.
There is also the absorbing aspect of it. Families watching tv together are not spending time together. No one is talking to – or even aware of – the other person. They said once upon a time that television would turn people into zombies, In a way, that’s true. The television paved the way for the era of complete digital distraction we now live in, where people walk into telephone poles and fall into fountains because they cannot take their eyes off their damn phone. People text each other when they are sitting in the same room. Kids are unable to read body language because their main interaction with people occurs online. Kids do not even want to play outside. They must be constantly stimulated. When did it get like this?
My husband and I had iPhones for a little while. I never wanted one because electronic gadgets mean very little to me and by the time we got rid of them, I absolutely hated the damn things. I got so tired of seeing it in my husband’s hand and in front of his face that I actually threatened to break it a few times if he didn’t put it down. I was so sick of repeating things to him over and over again because what was going on in that stupid little rectangle was more important than what was going on in real life and he didn’t hear me. I got tired of calling his name just for him to raise his head but not his eyes from the phone. I saw the same things in my kids and even though I didn’t use mine very much, I still noticed that I was spending more time looking at my own phone than I was doing other things. The phones caused arguments because anyone who was asked to put it down for a minute got very angry. It reminded me of the crackheads I used to see while growing up in DC. The phones had to go. We sold them for $150 each at GameStop, so if you want to get rid of yours, go there or sell it on Craigslist.
Why would people rather interact with a little rectangle than with real people? Why is that more important than their own family, than their kids? It’s insane. This is why I became a modern pioneer. I don’t want to live without electricity. I don’t want to beat my clothing on a rock. I don’t want to carry water from the creek to cook with and I don’t want to churn butter all day but I do want to be part of the movement that is going back to basics. I want to live a simpler life. I don’t have a cellphone, I don’t have a tv, I don’t have a car and if it wasn’t for my son being home-schooled, I would not have the internet either. I cook from scratch, I don’t use the microwave and I don’t use chemical agents to clean with. There is a balance in this modern world and I intend to find it.
So the next time you are sitting in your house with your family, look around. If every single person has an electronic device, or if all they are doing is staring mindlessly at the tv instead of engaging with each other, ask yourself if that is why you had a family in the first place. Ask yourself why the television is necessary for you to spend time together. Why do you need a buffer between you and them? What are you afraid will happen if you face each other instead of facing the tv? Food for thought.