Thursday, January 22, 2009

The One Best Thing to Do for Your Health

The One Best Thing to Do for Your Health? Easy. Kill your television set. Put it outdoors and shoot it (if local law permits...). Turn it OFF.

This is something that I imagine most readers of this blog will not do. TV is simply too deeply ingrained in the culture.

If I could do one thing that would radically CHANGE American culture, nearly overnight, I would unplug every television set in the nation. Yep. Make them all non-functioning. And believe it or not, that would do the trick. "Waking up the sheeple" would be easy then, because they would be far closer to a real state of being awake than they ever were before, with all their typical unconsciousness due to the power of the Tube.

What does television watching have to do with your health? Oh, everything, sez me. For one, if you watch TV regularly, you have lost your ability to concentrate, to focus, to think in any kind of sustained manner. Why? Because images change every few seconds on the screen, first one angle, then another shot from another angle. I don't have the jargon to explain this technically, nor do I wish to. It's obvious. At least to me, since I don't watch television.

Caveat: yes, we have a tv set. We watch movies on it. That's bad enough, though it we only watch once or twice a week, if that. We got our TV turned off six years ago and neither of us have regretted it.

I don't think ADHD is a genetic problem. It's an environmental problem. Kids did not have ADHD when I was a kid. They might have been bored and jittery/fidgetty in school, but they could use sustained attention readily enough if called to the task. However, years and years of heavy TV watching has taken its toll on people's ability to function mentally.

My husband and I do not have the levels of stress that we see in other people. I think it is because we are not constantly exposed to the fear-mongering of the TV news, nor are we exposed to the hours of commercials telling us how rotten and awful and unlikeable and unsexy we are since we don't have this or that product. (We are, however, perfectly capable of being rotten and awful, etc., without any help from :)

To provide some evidence for my claims, I will direct you to an article posted a while back at called The Plug-In Drug. It is written by a guy who is a professional in the television business, but who got rid of his home set when his son came along. According to Tokyo Mike, television is a drug. I agree. A very addictive drug.

And I will share the article below. I found it at on the web and kept it to remind me why TV is so deadly.

Read these two articles and see then what you think about TV. Yes, the damn thing IS killing you. Slowly, but surely. And like it or not, you are brainwashed and your IQs diminished. Turn it OFF. You'll be smarter and happier. And, come the doom/crash, you won't have withdrawal symptoms to worry about. Get them over with in advance. :) And check out the last line of the article--now, that's a kick in the head, ain't it?

(If you're wondering why you're reading this on a blog that purports to be about foraging wild food and herbs and such, well, me too. But hell, it is JANUARY and foraging is not a big activity this time of year. )

Television: The Hidden Picture
Rixon Stewart

The old line about British television being the best in the world is a debateable one. What is beyond dispute though is the fact that Britons are a nation of TV addicts and with the advent of cable and satellite TV that trend is likely to continue. Whether or not that is a good thing is another matter entirely. For its influence could literally be described as deadening, as a growing amount of scientific evidence would seem to indicate. But don’t expect to hear that from the mainstream media, particularly television; there is simply too much at stake here, politically and economically, for what follows to become more widely known.

According to Daniel Reid, writing in the Tao of Health Sex and Longevity, the rays from a TV flicker erratically, causing uneven and irregular stimulation of the retina. “This choppy stimulus is transferred directly into the brain via the optic nerve, which in turn irritates the hypothalamus. In scientific experiments conducted in the US but ignored by both the government and the television industry, rats exposed to colour TV for six hours a day became hyperactive and extremely aggressive for about a week. Thereafter they suddenly became totally lethargic and stopped breeding entirely.” In effect their endocrine systems had been ‘burnt out;’ equally significant was the fact that during the experiment the TV screens were kept covered in thick black paper so that only the invisible rays came through. Thus the damage was done, not by the visible rays, but by the invisible radiation.

These findings were echoed by Dr H.D. Youmans of the U.S. Bureau of Radiological Health, quoted by Associated Press in 1970: “We found rays escaping from the vacuum tubes to be harder and of higher average energy than we expected. They penetrated the first few inches of the body as deeply as 100-kilowatt diagnostic X-rays. You get a uniform dose to the eyes, testes and bone marrow.”

The same year Dr Robert Elder, director of the BRH, testified before Congress that even very minute doses of radiation, which fall below the legal limit cause damage and that the damage is cumulative.

In fact the evidence is beginning to mount to the point where it can no longer be ignored, unless you happen to watch a lot of TV, in which case you may not have noticed the results of a study by Sally Ward. One of Britain’s leading authority’s on children’s speech development, she completed a ten year study which showed that the background noise in the average two year olds day can delay his or her acquisition of a language by up to a year. Almost invariably the background noise came from television.

Amongst other things she found that:

· Children learn to speak from their parents and parents don’t play or talk enough with their children when the TV is on.
· Background noise from TV or radio, confuses infants. In response they learn to ignore all noise and then they ignore speech.
· Children of two years or older should not be exposed to more than two hours of TV a day.
· Children of one year old or younger should not be exposed to television at all.

Sally Ward is currently preparing to focus on television and the way it affects our attention. In particular she will be looking at Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). “. . . a lot of people think it’s chemical,” she says, but in her view . . . “it’s very peculiar that at the onset of children’s television it got a lot more prevalent, and at the onset of children’s video’s it got a lot more prevalent.”

Her concern is being reiterated in America where child psychologist John Rosemond has stirred some controversy by suggesting that ADHD is environmentally created; a suggestion that is completely at odds with the pharmaceutical industry, which maintains that the disorder is genetically inherited and makes considerable profit as a result.

“Ritalin may work, temporarily,” says Rosemond, “But pharmaceutical intervention won’t change behavioural and motivational problems.” And these he blames on television – “the endlessly changing images, flickering like the attention spans of ADHD children.”

Interestingly, Rosemond began questioning the role of TV after his own son began displaying symptoms of ADHD. In response he got rid of his television and within six weeks the boy’s behaviour was transformed. Today he is a commercial airline pilot, a job which requires some concentration.

Still, there may well be a place for television in modern society: in our prisons. No seriously. At a time when its budget is being cut by over 15% you may ask why the prisons service is spending an estimated £5 million on television sets for a third of its inmates? Why? Well, according to David Roddan, general secretary of the prison governors association: “It’s the best control mechanism you can think of.”

Extracts from The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity, Simon & Schuster and GET A LIFE! David Burke and Jean Lotus (Bloomsbury ISBN 0-7475-3689-9)
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Last updated 12/09/2006


HermitJim said...

Very interesting...very interesting indeed! Thanks for sharing that!

Stephanie in AR said...

You are foraging for health aren't you? Well this is one find that is sure to improve health. Fits the blog after all.

The Mom said...

Let's see, we pulled the plug the summer of 1993 and never looked back. No TV in this house at all; just a small DVD player that is used every few weeks. Unfortunately, our youngest son married a girl with the "addiction" and now he has one back in his home. The best thing that could happen to us is that somehow TV could disappear. Great blog entry!

Patricia said...

Hey Hermit: We can get all the "TV" we want or need off the 'puter these days. Not that we do much of that even. It just ain't worth it.

Stephanie: Thanks! :)

Mom: Good for you and yours. I wish everyone would.

sunni said...

Hear, hear! I stopped watching TV nearly 15 years ago, and have never encouraged my children to develop the habit. We have one, primarily for watching videos, but it is not the center of our home. It's an entertainment or information resource when we choose it, nothing more.

Thank you very much for saying this much better than I could have, and for posting the article too.

Patricia said...

Hi Sunni! Good to hear from you again. Yes, TV needs to go away, for good. I will confess I missed Jeopardy, of all things. But that's it. But we also missed numerous wars, the tsuanami, killings, murders, zillions of deoderant commercials, and lots of other total waste of times. There's so much more to do, more life to live, more time to enjoy good things in life (cats, moonlight, each other's company, etc. not to mention BOOKS!) I could go on and on, but seems like it isn't necessary, at least in this company. Thanks everyone,

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog when I searched 'kill your tv' we got rid of ours but love movies and watching them on the laptop isn't as fun and might end up with one for movies only again, but it was ironic that the google ad at the top of the article was for google tv ads! thanks for the article, Shannon

Anonymous said...

tv is a form of control, stop watching what youre fed by proxy and we may regain our true freedom to think independently, eventually.

Anonymous said...

As an 80 year old with kids & grandkids brought up sans candy, soda and only a modicum of TV, I couldn't agree more or written it any better!
Thank you