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How TV Hypnotizes You, Pacifies You, and Makes You Waste Your Life Away – Mike Swanson (03/17/2013)

Last week I was driving home in the evening through the country side going by houses. I glanced at them as I was going down the road and saw in most of them the living light was on and so was the TV. People in half the houses were sitting there doing nothing, but watching the television. I imagine that many of them do this just about every single night of their lives.

It’s a trope to say we are like the Roman Empire, but in one sense we are. Our country has been fighting wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan now for over twelve years and hardly anyone cares. People are coming home wounded and emotionally scarred. We don’t know if we are winning or losing and no one talks about it. People don’t give a crap if we win or not. No one hardly does anything for the troops when they come home. No one cares. And TV doesn’t talk about the wars anymore.

Instead of talking about that or even about our own hardships with each other and trying to do something about it, what most people do is just sit and watch the TV. They get entertained. In this sense we are like the Roman Empire. Fewer and fewer of the actual Roman citizens served in their armies and as the years went on fewer even cared about what was happening. But they had their circus shows and gladiator battles to watch. They filled their lives by watching spectacles.

And most Americans do the same thing every single night. They care for nothing, but their shows. But they are wasting their lives away while the bailout, debt, war machine called the federal government sucks them dry. It’s an addiction just as bad as overeating, drugs, and drinking. Americans consume more drugs for depression than any other country in the world. That too is probably linked to chronic television watching. Passive people become hopeless people. And then they become scared and depressed – and obedient. They also become incredibly boring.


The TV in the average American home is turned on for seven hours a day.

It’s an addiction that kills the soul.

I want to refer you today to a great interview that Scott Horton of The Scott Horton Show did a few months ago with clinical psychologist Bruce Levine about television.

You can go to Scott’s site and stream the interview by clicking here or download the MP3 by hitting this link.

The interview also refers to an article Bruce wrote on the subject you can find here.

Of course everyone knows that TV, movies, and video is the perfect medium for propaganda, because it tends to present any issue in a black and white, good and evil, us versus them manner and forces us to consume its information passively. It also does so in a way much more manipulative than audio or the written word, because of the manner it is delivered. The message is the medium.

But there is more to TV than simply the content.

TV puts its viewers into a hypnotic state and those that create TV productions seek to keep their viewers attention and they throw everything including the kitchen sink at you to do it. Think quick cuts, fast movements, and pictures designed to provoke an emotional reaction in you. You see scared and angry viewers are ones that will keep watching.

Levin cites a study that says:

“In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri and their colleagues began to study whether the simple formal features of television—cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises—activate the orienting response, thereby keeping attention on the screen. By watching how brain waves were affected by formal features, the researchers concluded that these stylistic tricks can indeed trigger involuntary responses and “derive their attentional value through the evolutionary significance of detecting movement. . . . It is the form, not the content, of television that is unique.”

Levin writes of “research showing that regardless of the programming, viewers’ brainwaves slow down, transforming them to a more passive, nonresistant state. In one study that Mander reports comparing brainwave activity in reading versus television watching, it was found the brain’s response to reading is more active, unlike the passive response to television—this no matter what the TV content.”

After the Presidential election last year I decided to drastically cut down the amount of time the TV is on in my house and it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. After having it off for a few weeks I found I was a lot more relaxed and now I don’t even want to hear their fear mongering anymore. I’m free of it.

So check out this interview by clicking here.