To Have Or Have Not

One of my friends asked me the other day if I noticed any changes in my life not having a television set around. You see 6 months ago Lyndsey and I got rid of our TV, or opted out of getting a new one since our old one kicked the bucket. To be 100% honest, we still have a small television set hidden away in our guest bedroom to watch movies on. It might actually get reception on 1 or 2 of the channels on a clear day, but besides that we are TV free. I thought about the question and then was slightly amazed myself when I began to answer it.

I remember a few years back I had an old business partner that told me now that I was married I needed to get cable, and go ahead and get the premium package with all the movie channels, because that is what you do when you get married, you watch TV. Prior to that I had pretty much avoided having cable television for about 5 years. I fell for it like most young newlyweds do, assuming that is how you spend time hanging out with your spouse. I mean when I was younger that is how I spent time hanging out with my siblings when I was aloud to, why not my wife. At least when I was a child I had a mother that limited the amount of television we watched and made sure that we got outside during the day to burn some much needed child energy. Now that I was an adult, I needed to draw my own lines and be aware of my own limitations. I needed to ask myself how much TV I should or shouldn’t allow myself to watch. Like many mindless habits, days go by, months go by and then years go by before you stop to realize how consumed you actually have become. The pushers in this case (Networks/Advertisers) don’t want the consumers (you & I) to break our habits (addictions) and stop using their product (Television). Once we do, we might all start thinking for ourselves.

"According to Veronis Suhler Stevenson’s Communications Industry Forecast and Report, quoted by the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2003, the average American spent 1,745 hours watching television, which works out to 145 hours a month. That’s more than six complete days in front of the TV. each month." I am sure that as much as I would like to think that I was not one of those mindless drones, I am as guilty as the next person. I use the term Mindless Drone, because that is actually what happens to a person when they watch TV.

"The longer a person watches television, the more likely they are to be put into a trans-like state and the more likely that their minds will slip into alpha mode. Alpha is the term used by scientist who study brainwave activity for a noncognitive, passive, receptive mode. While in alpha the mind is open for information to be placed into it. One of the reasons that the mind slips into alpha mode while watching television is due to the lack of eye movement while watching television. Because most television screens are relatively small, very little eye movement is required to absorb all of the images on the screen. There is a direct correlation between eye movement and thought stimulation. While one’s mind is in alpha mode, it is being taken advantage of by advertisers who are using the mind’s receptive mode to instill a desire for their product in the viewer. The only reason that television programs exist is to sell them to advertisers who want to show their advertisements to the mass of people watching television. The average American sees approximately 21,000 commercials per year. That’s 21,000 carefully planned and thought out messages repeating their message to you, buy something now! "

The results of giving up something that has such an effect on ones mind and time can be overwhelming. At first we didn’t notice any big differences, only subtle changes when we stopped using TV. I started to find myself reading and writing more, as well as playing more of my guitar. After a while I subconsciously started new projects around my house. The first ones were minor like fixing up some of the surf boards in my quiver. I hadn’t done my own ding repair in years because I didn’t think I had the time. Next we got a fish tank up and going. It seams that watching the fish can put us in the same mindless alpha mode, but so far only one of the fish is trying to control our thought process. Since we had to start changing out the fish water weekly we started a garden and that is when then things started really piling up. After a couple of months, with 6 extra days a month of free time, we really began to see some obvious changes. Organic garden plots, composters, rideable surfboards, new songs, chicken coops, backyard hens, good books, aquaponic gardens are just a few of the changes.

I guess you could say that we started to notice that instead of being major consumers we were slowly becoming more sustainable. Instead of purchasing food that was being advertised to us, we started growing some of our own. Instead of watching adventures on TV, we go out and have adventures of our own. It has now been six months without a television set and we have a whole house and business full of fun projects that keep us looking forward to long summer nights and the weekend. It is almost safe to say that for us, giving up the TV has brought our family back to where things might have been for our grandparents. Before everyone had a television set in their homes, or each room in their home. To answer my friends question, not having a TV around has made both my wife and I less dependent and more independent, less lethargic and more creative, less clouded and more clear.

2 thoughts on “To Have Or Have Not

  1. I have always been an advocate for NOT having a television and just yesterday I was wondering why I thought that way…Your post hit it right on the head. I would MUCH rather be out doing, then watching. I have no interest in watching sports on TV, but if I can rally a couple people together I am all about kicking/throwing/hitting a ball around. Watching a totally unrealistic “adventure” on TV? No thanks. Having/plotting an unrealistic adventure in real-life? OH YEAH! Talking about the lives of fictional characters on your favorite television show? Whatever floats your boat, but there are so many cooler real-life people to talk about, in my opinion…

    Congrats on giving the tube the boot :)!

  2. Right on Summer, I think you nailed it…”Talking about the lives of fictional characters on your favorite television show? Whatever floats your boat, but there are so many cooler real-life people to talk about, in my opinion…”

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