In case anyone missed mention of it in all my writing the fact is I have not owned a television since 1989. When I lived in Pennsylvania I was very busy studying for the CPA exam, in Connecticut with helping my parents fix up their house and getting ready to retire to Florida. When they left I moved to Annapolis Maryland where there was sailing, used book shops, and coffee shops galore where I played chess and had great conversations with everyone from retired Navy captains to St John’s College students, to visiting sailors from as far away as Swedenand New Zealand. Once I came to Virginia I was too busy with work and commute days that stretched twelve hours or more. Now I am in a town with no book shops and only one coffee shop. I am not commuting. I have even more discretionary time but still no desire for television. I take on line classes, I go to Meet Up groups, I blog and I read. I read other blogger’s blogs, research articles for projects I am working on or issues that come up, like loosing Wifi when you upgrade to Windows 10 or feline health problems, and I read books.
I also brush the cats on a regular basis. We play laser tag. I collect all the toys into the basket and move the basket around. Within a day the toys are all out of the basket and spead around the house. I put up bird feeders and get lots of avian visitors that the cats watch out the windows. While they sleep much of the day and don’t need the constant activity of humans their days are quite full. They enjoy their food, they spend time grooming themselves, each other and me. They don’t miss television at all. Even Simba and Mi Sun, who used to live with my old roomate, live perfectly well without it. YJ was way too busy as a Tae Kwon Do instructor and didn’t have a television when I moved in.
There is a mountain of research on the negative effects on the brain of television watching. The switch from left brain to right brain while watching television releases endorphins, body chemicals structurally identical to opium and it’s derivatives like heroin. Higher thinking areas of the brain shut down and the lower brain areas like the limbic sytem, the so called “lizard brain”, take over. This part of the brain has one purpose, to activate the fight of flight response program and it does not distinguish created images like television from external reality, so the same hormones are released regardless. In a classic case of use it or loose, the more time spent watching television, using the lower brain, the more we actually loose cognitive ability in the reasoning parts of the brain. Actual brain atrophy has been dicumented. What happens with television viewng is the exact opposite of what I have been tryng to acheive in my life with mindfulness and meditaion. No wonder television is loved by politicians and people trying to sell you things. I suspect it’s better at brainwashing than anythng any KGB or CIA progeams came up with.
It’s not that I am against all programming. I just know it’s addictive nature. I prefer using my higher brain. All that meditation and mindfulness trainng to improve my wellbeing would go right down toilet if I got infected with the television habit. I also think programming has deteriorated over the years until it is hardly worth watching, especially the so-called news. Edward R Murrow must be spinning in his grave. I limit such visual stimuli to hunting up occasional old masterpieces on You Tube, such as the original serial version of Quartermass and the Pit or one of my favorite old movies never released in the DVD era . Even there the constant push to sell me something is difficult to escape. I have never yet had a book, even an ebook at that, break out in an inane jingle to promote some product utterly worthless to me. And of course, the cats never try to sell me on anything, except possibly that it’s time for food when it’s not. So I spend my time with them, not mesmerized by a television and it suits them quite well.