Saturday, February 10, 2007

Farewell Old Friend

Originally uploaded by LilMudPie.

I took this photo of my cable TV decoder box and remote 4 months ago.
I then went over to Starhub and surrendered it to them and cancelled my cable TV subscription.
5 months ago I gave the TV in my bedroom to my mother, and 6 months ago the main TV in the living room of our home sort of blew up and had to be carted away.
In short, 6 months ago God smote my TV.

The first few weeks were the worst. We craved for our daily dose.
We wondered what happened to our TV characters in our cartoons and miniseries. We suddenly had hours of spare time.
We didnt know what to look at when we sat in the living room.

We adjusted our living room furniture so that we no longer faced the Great Altar That Presides In Everybody's Temple.
Our sofas, and us in it, now face each other.
We placed our family photos on the TV console.
That helped.

We developed other things to do in the spare time. Homework no longer gets undone.
Prayer does not get delayed by something happening on TV anymore.
We read a lot more than before.
We talk a lot more to each other now.

The home is peaceful - so peaceful.
No background noise of cartoon yells, car crashes, gunshots, shouting music, canned laughter.
We no longer know - nor care - about what happens to the non-existent people in the non-existent worlds of television shows anymore.

In his book, Amusing Ourselves To Death, Neil Postman, writing 20 years ago, observed that the people in our society today show a disproportionate interest in fictional happenings (most TV shows are fictional) and in events that have no effect on them (hyperinformationalism, or obsession with news of events in places we have no connection or control over).
I personally believe that these two things are spiritually toxic.
They serve the function of drawing our attention away from our inner selves.
By knowing our selves do we know God, said our Master the Prophet (prayer and peace be upon Him).
How much time do we spend on introspection and self-evaluation if we are occupied for hours staring at fictitious worlds and distant events?
Given, some measure of intellectual escapism is needed to give a person some perspective in life, and as such fictional literature, and its visual parallel, film, can play a positive role in a person's spiritual quest - but always in levels that WE control, certainly not in the overwhelming presence that IT controls US.

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