Before we get started, let me just point out that this is my personal view. I’m not imposing my opinion on anyone. Let’s start:
Whatever you see on television is fabricated. It’s not true.
As an upcoming entrepreneur, one of the most important skills you have to develop is the ability to understand the motive behind anything you see.
Once you start to develop this skill of observation, a lot of truths are revelaed.
One of the biggest truths that will be revealed to you is that television is the opposite of truth.
That’s because no matter what you see on television, there is only one motive behind it – Making large sums of money.
Distorting the truth to make large sums of money.
That’s because the truth is usually not very exciting. It is ever present and ordinary. Television spices up truth and turns it into an eye-catching false with the aim of generating money.
Let’s understand this by seeing the different channels or genres that TV has to offer:
When a dog bites a man, that is not news. When a man bites a dog, that is news.Charles A.Dana
The quote above perfectly sums up what news is about.
It is only concerned with the sensational. Because sensational is what catches the eye. The more eyes it catches, the more money is there to be made.
In my opinion, N.E.W.S should stand for Negative Echoes of Worldwide S**t.
News makes you believe that the world out there is full of negative things.
Whereas when you get out, you don’t see anything that the news tries to show you.
The birds are singing, the sun is shining and people are usually getting about their business.
But such normality is the killer of News. Hence News always tries to focus on the things that are the polar opposite of normal.
That’s because they know that as humans we tend to focus on something that stands out. Draw a cross on a large whiteboard and your eyes will ignore the larger surface area of the whiteboard in favor of that little cross.
During monsoons, millions of thunderstorms go unreported because the lightning bolt never did any damage. But if one in a million lighting strikes a building and sets it on fire, you can rest assured it will be on news channels. If we imagine a hypothetical situation where a person has never ever seen a lightning bolt before and if such a person were to see this news, the first thought in their mind would be that lightning is dangerous. Such a person would not dare to walk out of their house during a thunderstorm. Whereas the truth is that lightning is not dangerous at all in normal circumstances.
This is not to say that all news is bad. But the irony is that the news that is worth hearing and actually important comes to you on its own without any need of news channels.
This happens because the news that actually matters will impact you on a personal level so you won’t be able to ignore it. For instance:
- Do you think you needed a news channel to hear about COVID?
- Do you think you needed a news channel to hear about demonetization?
Any news that is actually important will be talked around you so often that unless you are living under a rock, you will hear about it or experience it in your daily life.
The only news that can be considered exempt from the opinion above is of the nature where the scope of distortion and sensationalism is less because it is dominated by objective facts. This involves news regarding major government decisions which happen once in a while, business, economics, stock markets, etc.
Basically, the boring kind of news is actually the real news. And in my opinion, this should only be followed if it has a real consequence in your personal or professional life.
Rest of the news is just sensational entertainment that distracts you, makes your fearful and robs you of vital energy.
Personally speaking, giving up watching news was one the best things I did for my well-being.
But as an educated and responsible citizen, I should also point out that I’m not trying to bash media and journalism in general. I am aware of the importance of media and I’m also aware of the fact that there are a lot of honest and responsible journalists out there who work very hard to throw light on some very serious issues. The trouble is that this is often less evident and spoken of as compared to the sensationalist part that we discussed before.
I hope a certain mechanism can be adopted that makes the media more responsible and which rewards the honest and hard working journalists. I’m not sure what that mechanism is but it is certainly a topic worthy of an article in itself.
These softer genres are still alright and I do like to indulge in them occasionally, especially sports. But the key word is “occasionally”. Because these should be used as a means to relax, kill time and have some fun.
Bu the trouble is that these days the opposite is happening. People are spending all their effort and time in “binge watching” entire seasons and actually taking breaks in between to relax from this gigantic passive effort. Some people are even proud of this addiction.
Here’s what you need to understand about these forms of entertainment.
They are great. But not great for you. They are great for the people who create them.
Art and creativity is the most rewarding for the producer. The consumer is always the second best.
But the irony is that the consumer feels he or she is getting the best.
Let’s take an example.
Let’s take a popular show like Game of Thrones.
I don’t know the names of any actors in it because I have never watched the show but let’s just assume “A” is an actor in this series.
Now just imagine “A”s life.
“A” gets to do what he loves – Acting. “A” gets to make a great living while doing that. “A” wakes up every day looking forward to performing his favorite activity knowing that he will be watched by millions of people around the world. “A” gets to create a great life around a vocation he loves. “A” has a fantastic life which is being lived in accordance with “A”s highest values in life.
Game of Thrones is great for “A”.
But the consumer thinks that his or her life is great because they are getting to passively watch such a great show. The consumer is actually inadvertently funding the amazing life of “A”.
In fact not just funding it, the consumer is actually making huge sacrifices to make “A”s life amazing. The consumer is willing to wake up everyday unhappy to do a job that he or she hates, to listen to a toxic boss or manager, to get involved in ugly politics in their office, etc in order to get a chance to comfortably watch Game of Thrones.
Whereas if the consumer decides to put in a similar energy in creating things, they can have a fair chance at creating a life that is similar to that of “A”. But the As of the world will never tell you this.
Turning from a consumer to a producer will result in satisfaction which is way beyond what a passive consumer can ever feel.
Apart from that, just like news, TV shows and movies always distort the truth to make it more exciting. That’s why whenever you go to Wikipedia to read about a movie that was supposedly based on a “true story”, you’ll find that the makers of the movie took countless liberties to spice up the actual story. If they won’t do that, no one will watch the movie because like I mentioned before, truth is usually not as exciting.
Sports is usually something that is the closest to truth but there also remember that it’s mainly good for one and only one person – the creator, i.e, the ones actually playing the sport.
To sum things up, I’m not advocating that you become a TV ascetic and give up everything. The point I’m trying to make is to be more aware about where and how you are spending your time and energy.
That awareness will make sure you are using television when you want and not the other way round.
Of course this is a topic that can have multiple opinions. I would love to hear your own in the comments below.
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