Monday, August 10, 2020

Reasons I Dont Own a TV

Reasons I Dont Own a TV What? You Dont Own a TV? Why? Thats a question I get quite often. And the answer is simple: Because Id watch it. A lot. You see, I really enjoy television. Its easy to watch. Its passive. Its entertaining at times. And I dont have to do much work (unless you consider pushing the buttons on the remote to be work). But there are many other important things I can do with my life, and so the costs drastically outweigh the benefits Money. Sure, there are the monetary costs associated with television viewing. There is the TV itself, which can cost up to a few thousand dollars. I have a friend who has eight flatscreen TVs in his house (I shit you notâ€"he even has one in his master bathroom). Theres the monthly costs of cable or satellite (plus all the little extra fees for cable boxes, DVRs, HD service, premium channels, etc.). Theres the DVD or Blu-Ray rentals and  purchases, many of which we dont watch. (Come on, I bet youve done it before: youve rented a DVD just to return the unwatched movie a week later. Its okay, weve all done it before. The trick is to stop doing it!) And then theres all those fancy ancillary items we think we need: the surround-sound system, the Blu-Ray player, and dont even get me started on video games, thats an entirely differentâ€"and equally troublingâ€"story (I know grown men in their thirties who play video games more than five hours a day). But TV costs us a lot more than money Time. TV viewing robs us of our most precious asset: our time. Even with the Internet, the average person watches more than five hours of television a day. Thats 35 hours a week. Yikes! If you get rid of your TV, you can reclaim this time for yourself. Attention. TV robs us of our attention. Sometimes we think were multi-tasking  if were doing other thingsâ€"folding laundry, working on the computer, etc.â€"while were watching TV. Deep down we know this isnt true, though. We know that TV distracts us from our tasks, which causes us to either: a) take more time to complete the task (look, TV is robbing us of even more of our time), or b) it reduces the quality of what were working on (e.g., have you ever tried to write somethingâ€"a paper, an email, a work assignmentâ€"while watching TV and noticed that it just wasnt that good? Thats because we arent able to focus our attention on several things at once and still expect the same quality in our finished product.) Awareness. Awareness is the most precious kind of freedom. We should cherish it. But TV often makes us oblivious to the world around us. And thus, in a roundabout way, TV robs us of our freedom. Relationships. If youre watching TVâ€"especially if youre watching it aloneâ€"then you are taking away from your relationships with other peopleâ€"time in which you could contribute to others. Creativity. If we are constantly consuming, then we are not creating. Thus, TV has the ability to rob us of our creativity. Sure, watching TV is easy. But is it worth it? Thats the question you must ask yourself. Im not suggesting that you have to get rid of your TV to be a minimalist. You dont. But you always have options: Ryan disconnected his cable service during our journey into minimalism. He got rid of all his DVDs and video games, but he kept his TV. We still watch movies on that TV from time to time, which brings up another point If you get rid of your TV, like I did in 2009, you can schedule time to watch TV with other people. I dont do it often, but if I want to watch a program or a movie, I can watch it  at someone elses house, and afterward, we can discuss what we watched. Such planned viewing is far less passive and helps us  build and strengthen our  relationships, rather than take away from them. You can get the TV out of your bedroom. You can limit your viewing to one day a week. Schedule it and dont deviate from the schedule. Or, if you need to take baby steps, try to turn off your TV for one week. Unplug it and put it somewhere out of sight if you can. Or cover it with a sheet and make sure you dont turn it on for a week. So, if you get rid of your TV (or drastically reduce your viewing), what are you going to do with all your reclaimed time? The short answer is: you can do whatever you want. You can create something meaningful. You can exercise. You can focus on your relationships. You can contribute to other people in meaningful ways. Its liberating not to have a TV. Television sucks the life out of our lives. It takes our money, our time, our attention, our awareness, our freedom, our relationships, and our creativity. And in return it gives us a little entertainmentâ€"it pacifies us for the moment. For many of us, television our drug of choice. Additional  reading: Can I Get Him to Stop Watching TV?

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