Coded gray.

Tuesday 5 March 2002


Pic of the day: Scientific American February 2002.

TV: Friendly fire

Ha! I told you so! I told you so! Television is opium for the masses. It zaps your brain, it eats your soul. It is evil, I told you, eevil!

Scientific American for February 2002 uses a more scientific langauge, of course. But the facts still remain. TV affects your brain; not just by its content but by its very form. It is designed to capture and hold your attention, whether you want it to or not.


In short, television creates an "orienting reaction" by shifting to a new picture or a new perspective frequently. This grabs your attention because you are hardwired to notice shifts in the surroundings, for your own safety. At the same time, TV does not require you to actually act on the changes. So you get mental stimulation and relaxation at the same time. This has a mild drug-like effect on your brain.

After you turn off the TV, the alertness caused by the orienting reaction fades; but the passivity lingers for a while. This gives an unpleasant feedback, and teaches you to not turn off the TV even if you don't particularly like the programming. Not until you have a compelling reason, at least.

Remember me whining about people who continue to sit and watch, while complaining about how bad the programs are? Even friends of me do this. I knew there was something sinister influencing them. The "off" button should not be heavier than a rusty-hinged oaken doar to move; but it is. Well, it is because your brain punishes you each time you do it. So you learn to stretch it out as long as you can. For the average person this is about half their spare time (not occupied by work, commute or sleep). Day after day.


I am human, certainly biologically at least. The same would happen to me if I let it. But I don't. One of the (few) truly nifty sides of being single, is that I don't need to have the mind control device in my home. I am Magnus Itland, and I refuse to let boredom defile me while I have the body and brain to fight it! If I were to live for 1000 years, I would still die young, so much do I love to be me. Would I let strangers numb my brain and walk all over it? I am created in the image of the Creator; I must create. I must express myself while I still am a self; it will discontinue soon enough. I will not let a craftily designed device chain my spirit.

A movie ends, and you leave. A book has a last page, and you close it. A game may be hard to stop playing, but at least you do it actively. You express yourself, you don't have others impress themselves on you and walk all over your half conscious mind, like a date rapist taking advantage of a drunk girl.

Shoot your TV! As if you could. Can you even turn it off?

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: GURPS, Lojban etc
Two years ago: Deep, dark secret
Three years ago: Magiciens sans frontieres

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