5 Reasons to Abandon Television

by Ron Haynes @ The Wisdom Journal

Abandoning television is a serious step in today’s society. Television is both a fantastic resource and a faceless attacker of wealth. It has the ability to inspire and the ability to depress. It can make you happy and scare you to death, it can inform and educate, but it can also help you waste your most precious resource: time. That’s just one reason I’ve decided to abandon most television shows.

Before I discuss why I am choosing to abandon television, let me say that not all television shows are bad. I don’t disparage anyone who choses to use their time watching parents change the diapers of their youngest child (of 27), or watching someone completely disrespect another person because of the t-shirts she chooses to wear, or watching a talk show host give marriage advice to a couple when the host has never been married. There are some great shows on various channels that help you better understand the world and help you learn valuable information that will improve your life. But those shows are the exceptions. What passes as entertainment and enlightenment today is an utter joke. So, I’ve made the decision to severely restrict the amount of time I waste in front of “the tube.” TV has abandoned most of what I think is important so here’s 5 reasons I have decided to return the favor and abandon television:

Reason #1. Television has abandoned understanding. Though there is a wealth of information available via the tube, for the most part, the information you gather via television is devoid of deep understanding. What is more important is drama, excitement, and the illusion that it projects. If you want to get a completely skewed view of the world, do nothing but watch television and form your opinions only based on its shallow information. Where else can someone get shot 14 times, fall off a building from 3 stories, get up and drive in a car chase, crash the car, then jump into a helicopter and fly it to some exotic island with an Italian supermodel?

Reason #2. Television has abandoned responsibility. News programs depict the crying children of famines and wars, the bodies that lie exposed to the elements and wild animals, the human devastation of a terrible natural disaster, then cut away to a commercial. “Now this.” Now that we took you to the edge of an emotional cliff, now that we’ve exposed the most horrible of human conditions, now that we’ve talked (briefly) about an intense tragedy, we want to make sure you see our commercials! Then we’ll just go merrily along to the next story after briefly shaking our heads. Now on to sports.

Reason #3. Television has abandoned memory and history.
Television execs are caught up in the panting flow of more information, the “breathless flow of now,” as one person put it. We know more about the last 24 hours than we do about the last 50 centuries. We have people who know more about what Paris Hilton ate for lunch than they do about their city councilman. They know more about American Idol than they do about their own checking account. They know more about the most unimportant details of Oprah’s last guest, than they do about their own grandparent’s experiences during World War II.

Reason #4. Television has abandoned rationality. When you’re watching, there is no need for thought, television does that for you. We have 170 channels and there’s still nothing on. Is that rational? Television has made normal life too boring. People now think they have to be entertained virtually all the time. If there isn’t something exciting planned at least every 3 or 4 days, their believe their lives are dull and drab. People forget that only 50 years ago, most people lived a life that required 12 hour work days on a dusty farm tractor, or that just 30 years ago, cable TV was just starting with only 8 channels and thy weren’t THAT exciting. Television has caused us to question whether we need to abandon family and friends because they just aren’t exciting enough. “Til death us do part” has been replaced with “until you begin to bore me.”

Reason #5. Television has abandoned truth. “Exciting and compelling” take precedence over truth when it comes to television. People, places, things, and events only have value if they are “entertaining.” I remember when a certain associate justice on the Supreme Court was falsely accused of a heinous crime. The charge against him centered NOT on whether the accusations were true, but on “the seriousness of the charges.” Television has fostered an attitude of theater over thinking, of showmanship over substance.

I love to take my family camping. It always amazed me to see my children, who were bored at home with every toy imaginable and 99 channels of entertainment, learn to make up games with rocks and sticks. Today, kids don’t have to use their imaginations. Television does it all for them.

Today, television dominates every aspect of our lives. We arrange furniture around it. We put them in our bedrooms, kitchens, showers, on our refrigerators, in our workshops, in our cars, on airplanes, on our computers. They are everywhere.

How much more can we take? I for one choose to not take anymore. Sure, I’ll watch some sporting events and the occasional show on the History Channel or Discovery. I might even watch something on HGTV or The Food Network, but much past these and I have no desire to participate. My mind and my time are far too valuable to be spent on the silliness that characterizes most TV shows today.

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6 Responses to “5 Reasons to Abandon Television”

  1. March 15, 2023 at 11:23 am #

    Great post, Travis. I abandoned (for the most part) TV and movies and went through the weird phase of trying to figure out what to do. It really takes about two or three weeks of going without it for the awareness of how much time and energy that goes to it to sink in. You’ll likely find that you are more energetic, creative, and relaxed, which is weird because people think that they need to watch television to relax and recover their energy.

    If TV is no longer recreation in the full sense for you, it’s high time that it goes. Keep us posted on how it’s going.

    Charlie Gilkey’s last blog post..What Happened to the “Learning to Play a Song” Series?

  2. Mark G.
    March 16, 2023 at 8:13 pm #

    I abandoned TV for almost 2 years and I was never more productive or more interested in reading. I read more books, got more accomplished, had more conversations, drank more wine (in a good way), entertained more friends and got out into the world more than I ever had. If you’ve never tried a life without TV you don’t know what you’re missing!!

  3. March 17, 2023 at 12:46 pm #

    There was a great book, published around 30 years ago, by a former ad executive, called Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.

    Some of the key arguments include a discussion of the way television used technical events, rapid changes of scenery, perspective, etc. in non-natural ways, to move the mind faster than it can consciously respond. The result is that television excites the body, and dulls the mind.

    Among the other arguments is a discussion of the way in which television lends itself to use as an autocratic tool, a tool which is too easily used by governments to convince people of things without backing up the arguments with facts, and to get people to follow along like sheep.


  4. Didi Jones
    May 6, 2023 at 1:40 pm #

    I think your post is very interesting. It is very true that it is easy to become addicted to TV or movies but I think what is important is to try and keep a balance. I don’t think there is anything wrong with watching a little TV. Some times you need a little break, unwinding after a long 12 hour day.


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