TV trivializes everything. The fact of the matter is that boring stuff just cannot be tolerated. If it’s on TV, it damn well better have some pizzazz, or we’re changing the fucking channel. TV broadcasters have caught on to this, of course, because that’s what they do. And with the on-demand paradigm of the Internet Age, it has become even more important for those broadcasters to keep you glued to the screen.
It’s not just about entertainment. Ultimately it’s about distraction. We want a quick fix, we want our minds to be constantly wowed, we cannot stand a moment of not consuming something that will lift our mood in some way or the other- either to anger us, or satisfy us, or elicit a tear from us. We want distraction, but from what?
We are craving something, some final zenith of completion, and we just do not know what it is. Or we do know what it is, and the task seems so monumental that we don’t want to think about the serious stuff, we just want bright, shiny entertaining things to occupy our mind with. Because that zenith of completion is known: it’s PEACE OF MIND. It’s just that we don’t know what the hell that is.
Peace of mind means being absolutely content with everything around you and with what you are and how you fit into it all. Now, while it is easier to be content with what is around you, the real task lies in being content with what is within you. And how can we be content with ourselves when we are bombarded with messaging everyday telling us that we are not complete until we are rich, beautiful, and popular? We are all running around trying to make our own outward image as shiny and appealing to others as possible. Social media has become a brand new source of anxiety; it gives everyone the opportunity to broadcast themselves to the world, and the task has become embellishing that image with pictures of us doing and having “cool” things. Advertising feeds us images of some “ideal life,” and we spend a lot of effort trying to convince people we have that ideal life. It is all a very vicious circle.
It would seem that “peace of mind” has always included making others think that we are happy, and we concentrate on that more than actually making ourselves happy. We never want to “be in our own brain,” and so we constantly seek distraction and/or approval of others. Alan Watts said, we are always trying to run away from ourselves; we never want to just face ourselves and really listen to the internal dialog.
The people who are making the media know this, and we see this reflected in the garbage they produce. Nothing useful ever comes from consuming it, yet we the audience are always there, willing and ready. And this endless feedback loop reinforces the Cultural Wheel, giving it ever more momentum.
Find peace of mind. Remember how it was before social media? You only cared about impressing a few people. With age came wisdom (sometimes) and you realized that the people whose opinion you really cared about would stick by you no matter what. That only leaves you yourself to work on. Really think about it, and hone in on what makes you happy; the more you do that, the less distraction you need throughout the day because you will be able to devote your time more wisely to the things that you actually want to. We are all addicted to drama, but let us go back to the drama that we each love best, and turn away from this shoddy, vulgar, and debasing “drama” being pedaled as news and entertainment. All it takes a little bit of courage to not be part of a herd, to not follow every trend and a half, and to really, truly be honest with ourselves. We can then actually give more time to ourselves.
The below video explains this strange need for distraction, and how it is manifesting itself in all aspects of media. Wisecrack.co is a wonderful site, and you should go and follow them on all social media. Cheers to using entertainment to spread philosophy. And to top it off, there’s some Alan Watts to soothe your ears with.