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The explosion of technological advancement has had a strange impact on our society.
Most cultures in considerable contact with the tidal wave of contemporary technology are slowly altered by its peculiar nature.
The biggest impact seems to be on North American culture, where television and the internet have become so ingrained in our social interaction, they are a catalyst and representation of that interaction.
I hope to avoid discussing what healthy or unhealthy interactions are exactly and focus more on what role technology plays in our lives.
On average, North Americans spend an unusually large amount of time watching television. Television can be lots of fun and a useful tool for relaxation, or escape, from the rigors of everyday life. In this way, as a mere distraction, television can be healthy.
However, what often happens is that we become strongly involved with the characters on TV we try to act like they act and feel what they feel. As viewers, we experience a wealth of situations and emotions. We get wrapped up in the lives of these characters and we establish strong emotional ties.
So the question remains: Are we satisfied living through others at the expense of our own experiences?
How does this affect our real social interactions? Do we become desensitized to our own real life emotions and situations, or do we try to measure up to the representations that we see on television? What happens if we cannot experience such strong emotions in our real lives, or if our lives are not as exciting as those on television? Do we then become upset or unsatisfied with ourselves? If so, in order to fill ourselves with happiness, we return to the original source television.
Unfortunately, television only provides us with simulated happiness because it is a simulated existence. The beauty of television is that all the bad stuff is edited out. This causes us to want to achieve this in our own lives. We try to edit the negative because we are taught through television that bad stuff doesn't happen.
As a result we avoid or escape from these bad situations instead of dealing with them. If we do address them, it is only symbolically. We deal with them like our friends on television. Everything on television works out unfortunately in real life, this is not necessarily the case.
It appears that all of this is fine as we seem content living a simulated existence. In fact simile is the bane of coherent conversation: "So I like went over to the store and I saw this like, guy who like…"
Why don't we stop trying to be like other people or things and just be people and do things.
This approach to our lives will set much more realistic standards so we can have more direct relationships with ourselves and those around us, as well as experience our own emotions and not borrow those of others.
Mark Lewandowski can be reached at email@example.com