Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Turning it OFF

"You watch television to turn your brain off and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on."
-- Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple
Computer and Pixar, in Macworld Magazine, February 2004

I used to never believe people when they said that they didn't watch TV. I guess, because I just couldn't fathom not partaking of its endless array of "entertaining" commotion. Since I work at home, I had just become accustomed to hitting the ON switch in the morning and the OFF switch at night. Even when I wasn't paying attention to what it was broadcasting, I had it on as "background noise" and I even felt
lost when that "static-ness" wasn't resounding in the room.

NOW I truly look back in near-horror at the WASTED hours of my life that I sacrificed so willingly to television. WHAT was I doing? And HOW did I think or get ANYTHING done? I am SO annoyed by the brouhaha associated with that chatterbox now that I seriously cannot handle it being on in my office for more than 20 minutes before I just have to get up and flip the switch. Nowadays, while I am working, I SO
PREFER: a) playing music and singing along, b) tuning into a great radio program that makes me think and engages me in the topics, or c) just having it quiet. And if I am taking snippets of time away from work, I LOVE reading: either a book or something online.

I almost feel a sense of shame for all the time I wasted and for the submissive nature of my previous relationship with TV. I think that it was such a habit that I didn't realize how destructive it really was. Not only do I now view it as pretty much, a waste of my time, but I also abhor the messages coming through the screen. The "news" media is controlled by such a small group of corporate
conglomerates, all deciding exactly what they will ALLOW you to be privy to that day. The "entertainment" channels are completely obsessed with the strangest topics, scandals and relationships. The "reality" shows are so UNREALISTIC and "scripted without being scripted." The game shows are completely ridiculous and unattainable. MTV is currently kissing the asses of the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus (WHAT???!!!!). It is just INCREDIBLE!!

According to the Oxford University Press, the average American will watch 45,000 x 30 second commercials each year. What an astounding number! 45,000 more times to be told that you need to buy the "cool" clothes, the biggest TV, the
shiniest SUV, a new medication to help you cope, another credit card, another diet pill (while at the same time, more decadent desserts, saltier snacks and extra-calorically-rich food); and on & on & on with the mindless consumerism.

I am becoming so loathsome towards it all that I can barely make it through my 80 minutes of workout time in the mornings without just riding the stationary bicycle and doing my crunches in silence (I have recently decided that I might need to lug a radio upstairs to keep me company during my exercise hour). This morning, I
was TRYING to watch The Today Show, when I nearly threw up at the opportunistic intimacy of Meredith Viera, while interviewing Meghan McCain about her new children's book about her father (gag!).

I think that television is like SO MANY things in America. We are SO CONDITIONED to believe that it's necessary and normal ... and, well, American... that we grow up thinking that way and living that way, and before we know it, we are HOOKED! I kind of liken my "weaning-off" of the big box full of static to the reconditioning it took when I let go of religion; as well as when I stopped eating meat. At first, I didn't think it was possible to live without these constants; but as I realized what TRUTH and CLARITY waited behind the doors without them, it
was like a whole new world opened up that I had never let in and NOW didn't want to regress from.

Though I wish I had come to this realization years ago, I know, as with everything in life, that it's NEVER too late to start anew. I am just glad I SWITCHED OFF before another day went by, because the possibilities to explore, the endless array of information to learn, the music to play & to listen to, and the beauty in life, SO DOESN'T come from TV.

If I lived to be 85 years old and cut out JUST 4 hours of TV a day (4 hours, btw, is below the average amount of time the average American watches per day and much less than the number of hours it previously was turned ON in my office in a given day) ... that would give me 87,600 "extra" hours of learning, thinking ... LIVING!

I might be 37, but I'm NOT going to spend any more years, months, days, or minutes of my life ... WASTING life!

~ J-Boo

"American children and adolescents spend 32 to 38 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV." -- The Kaiser Family Foundation


By Bad Religion

television, television, television, television

oh yeah! I want to bask in your golden light,
submerge in electric waves,
I need my connection to the world outside

the world outside is buzzing like an angry wasp in summer,
the candidates are running, and soon the son of God is coming,
crackle mental convolutions tune in to the revolution,
whereby everyone's included so we'll never have to be alone

every atom of my body, blood and sinew, bone and fibre,
I can't distil you from my blood,
you're a hungry germ inside of me,
you're my lover, you're my heroine,
my conscience and my voice,
and I know that I have learned to let you in I
will never have to be alone

I'd take after my mother but she's from a different generation,
I prefer my big brother he's so gentle and understanding,
and I learn what I can from him by the television light,
so that when I'm all alone I know everything's gonna be alright

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