It became painfully obvious last night how much television has been designed to not only entertain but to trap us. It all started when one of my work mates wanted to watch a reality TV program. I have no problem with people watching what ever they want so merely sat on the couch talking while she watched, but before you know it I was watching as well. Then before you know it, one show ends and another one started, and yet it stayed there, flashing and begging us not to look away. Thrusting advertisements into our lives unequivocally.
If I were at home, I never would have caught pulled into it’s trap, knowing that I can’t stand a lot of those shows, yet when I was merely in the room with the television it grabbed my attention without any effort, before I knew it I was merely a zombie, as if seeing my body there, stuck. It wasn’t until I realised I was staying awake to watch a movie that, had someone asked if I wanted to watch it earlier, I would’ve declined.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with television, I find great source of entertainment in the art that people create, but with the advent of Netflix and streaming services, I can’t help but feel my ability to block out the bright, flashing shouting screens of commercial television has waned. As if being spoilt by choice that I control, I’ve relaxed myself into thinking that television doesn’t interest me anymore, when in reality it never did.
It’s further cemented my belief that I am on the right path. That eradicating the excess and making sure that everything in my life adds value it by far the best path to follow for me to lead a life I am content with. Last year I wouldn’t have even paid attention to the attention sapping prowess of the television, yet this year, although late, I saw it and made the call to step away and change my behaviour to suit. Sure, I still lost an evening watching programs that I couldn’t tell you a thing about any more. That day is gone though, I’ve already wasted those hours and they will never come back, yet in a positive spin, at least I noticed it early and can now accept that I can address that and make sure that I don’t get drawn down the same rabbit hole again.
It’s fine to loose hours in front of the television, sometimes it’s even nice to have a day binge watching your favourite shows. What I have learnt today though is the problem is not in the action of doing those things but the way in which we let hours melt through our fingers without paying attention to notice.
How many hours have we let slip in our life with no recollection of these days? How much of my life has been lost, with nothing to show or no memories to smile at? As well as avoiding compulsory consumption, it would probably be helpful to reduce mindless consumption of distractions as well.
Thank goodness for mindfulness over mindlessness.