Video Kills the Loneliness Star

I’ve been curious, visiting different people in their homes over the years, at the of television.  Some folks have televisions in every room of their house, and are literally never out of earshot or line of sight from a screen.  Many of these folks are not simply staring at the screen incessantly, but it’s often always on as background.  

Research has filled in a few gaps about why that might be, though these particular reports are more focused on intentional viewing of favorite programs.  It’s not surprising to find out that television fulfills this role.  The concept of television taking the place of traditional social interaction is not exactly groundbreaking.  I think back to Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 – which predicted that a more interactive television format would keep people mesmerized in their homes instead of out interacting with their world and their neighbors.  
Sometimes watching people interacting can make us feel as though we’re part of the interaction, as though we’re really sitting there with them, listening in.  It can lessen our feelings of isolation and help our lives seem fuller – at least according to some of these studies.  
Obviously there’s a need that television helps fill, but which television is not the best solution for.  If anything, television, while helping to fill a need, is actually making the need greater by increasing the amount of time we aren’t interacting with others in meaningful ways.  It feels better than being alone, and is easier than not being alone.  A dangerous – and difficult to change – trend.

6 Responses to “Video Kills the Loneliness Star”

  1. Gary K Says:

    Next week, Paul’s uber-timely blog takes on the evils of these newfangled horseless carriages. People are spending less time with their horses and filling the void with technology. Hell in a handbasket I tell ya.

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    Remember, it’s not technology per se that’s dangerous – only how you use it!

  3. Judy Says:

    The great Francis De Sales wrote much about this idea that you have presented in that the viewing of television is creating a pseudo-interaction. This, he explained, is the reason why viewing immoral/sinful behavior in a movie or show is wrong. He wrote that event though the viewer is not the one committing the murder, the adultery, the sin of swearing in God’s name, etc…it is a form of titillating voyeurism where the viewer arouses base feelings and passions (albeit in an inadvertent or pseudo form)from WATCHING stories of people committing mortal sin. Allowing oneself to take pleasure in or receive gratification from that activity is inline with the Scripture where Our Lord tells us that “he who has lusted after a woman in his heart had already committed adultery”.Understanding St. Francis’s insights and wisdoms helped us to make many drastic changes in our tastes both in music and television/movie viewing.I guess the point is that if one is going to take part in this pseudo interaction to fill the void of loneliness, one should be very cautious in the choosing of “good company”.

  4. Paul Nelson Says:

    There is the issue of how does watching pornography or violence – regardless of what it’s called or how it’s packaged – affect our own lives spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  But there’s the other issue of the fact that these things are having perhaps a more direct impact on the people that are engaging in them for the sake of our watching them.  Actors and actresses playing out parts are affected by those parts in more direct ways.  I would argue this is particularly true for pornography more than for violence.  So much violence is special effects – either computer-generated or created by special effects masters on the set – that the actors aren’t likely to mistake what is happening for reality.  Pornography though is rather different.  The act is the act, whether they see it as just a paycheck or not.  So by watching this stuff – by going to the movies or tuning in to Showtime or renting videos or streaming them online, we are encouraging damage not just to ourselves, but to countless other people who make their living satisfying our tastes for these things.  How is this loving our neighbor as ourself?   To what lengths are we willing to go personally – and to demand others to go personally – to fill the voids in our lives?

  5. Mozius Says:

    Great insight, great article, and thanks for sharing it. How to subscribe on your blog ???

  6. seawolf Says:

    I love Justin Bieber

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