Unshackling from the Opiate of the Masses
No, the title isn’t in reference to the criticism of religion but rather that glowing opiate of the masses, television.
I was once a TV junkie. A junkie with good taste, not one of those monosyllabic couch potatoes that considers Jerry Springer ‘Must See TV’. But I was an addict, nonetheless. I had favorite shows for every night, my DVR was packed with more programs than I could watch. My knowledge of the TV schedule was encyclopedic in scope.
Then last year we decided that spending $140 plus a month for internet and cable was too much. We canceled the cable, opting instead for the very minimum offered – local channels for about $15 a month.
And though I never would have suspected it, I hardly miss cable TV. I’ve learned to make do with local broadcast TV, coming to appreciate our local PBS offerings. Though daytime TV is still a barren wasteland all across the dial – especially on the weekends.
Then two weeks ago, something odd happened.
My sister-in-law and her four daughters visited. She is a bit strict in what she allows her kids to watch (in other words, none of the good shows). Since most of the networks are in repeats anyway, I didn’t mind. I simply turned the TV off. And it has hardly come on since.
Yes, I’ve gone nearly two weeks without any TV.
There are times I tuned in to catch Conan or Ferguson on the late night talk shows and I did watch the NBA finals (I am still a man!), but for the most part, my TV screen has been a blank gray square. DVDs I borrowed from the library have even gone unwatched. I’ve simply been busy doing other stuff. I’ve found more time to read and more importantly, more time to create.
You see, I’m usually most creative when I’m bored. For example, I must’ve written 2,000 stories during high school Algebra. Turning off the TV prompts me to fill the silence and void with my own creative energies.
Turning off the TV has:
- given me more time to do constructive things
- inspired my creative brain
- lightened my mood – a constant stream of negative news starts to wear on you after a while
Turning off the TV has been a very liberating experience creatively speaking. I’ll be interested in seeing if this air of newfound freedom continues to blow when the fall season and all my favorite shows return. I suspect that it will because I am enjoying the taste of freedom from the oppressive stream of media.
Community Question: What shackles are restricting your creative freedom? How will you break free?
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