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tv and trance-like states

(4 Posts)
Papillon Mon 14-Feb-05 22:50:39

i really want to read this info but dd has just woken up and plus also my head is abit spinny today...

anyone want to make comments or discuss that would be fab

> Do documentaries induce this state, or other stuff you might
> actually want your kids to watch?

The medium itself induces a trance due to the nature of the technology
and the brain's reaction to flickering light, regardless of the content.
However, today's video editing style is way more rapid and intense than
it used to be, adding to the brain-body effects from watching.

I never actually want my kids (age 3.5 and 7.5) to watch TV, and
technically they don't -- they only watch non-broadcast videos, DVDs and
home movies, for about 2 - 5 hours per month on average. We would prefer
that our kids not watch anything on the tube until they are much older
(say... 35? ;-)) but that simply doesn't work for us in the overall
balance of things. Striking a balance has been quite a challenge as we
have to deal with several conflicting objectives (e.g., inclusiveness
vs. age appropriateness).

> According to a study I saw reported somewhere recently adults
> rate tv viewing as one of their most enjoyable and, I think,
> relaxing times of the day (!)

I can relate to that, as a "recovering TV addict". :-) I see it as a
dysfunctional cycle that goes more or less like this:

- Modern lifestyles are too complex. There are just way too many things
we "have to" think about, too much to do, too many complex decisions to
make, too many social pressures, and not enough time and mental space to
avoid daily "compression". Due to the nature of our concerns (and our
cultural habits) we rely on our intellects far more than nature
intended, thus feeling burnt out at the end of the day.

- In desperate need of daily downtime and decompression, we head
straight for the TV to "vege out". The passivity of the experience meets
our need to stop thinking, and the trance state feels pleasurable. So do
the feelings of pseudo-connectedness we derive from immersion in the
"lives" of characters with whom we feel some affinity. It feels as if it
could almost fill the void created by the alienation of the rat race.
And then there's the stimulation we get from the constant flashing of
provocative images (sex, violence, drama, tension, release) which
amounts to a kind of "visual Ritalin".

- Along with these "benefits", we are bombarded with images and
messages -- especially from advertising and news -- that incite us to
cling more tightly to the rat race itself, thus completing the cycle.

You don't realize how much TV-watching contributes to the stress cycle
until you go "cold turkey" and detoxify for a few months. But you need
to make sure you establish other ways to meet the valid needs TV tries
to meet. (If you spend a lot of time surfing the Net, it also helps to
set your browser so that it doesn't show animated ads.)

> Any other ideas for altered states? Dancing comes to mind, and
> exercise, meditation... all things I haven't been doing much of
> lately. Our ds is only 13 months, do you think he's capable of
> producing his own trances at this stage of life?

A baby's state of awareness is already "altered" relative to normal
adult states. I think what they need is to feel connected to us without
being required to shift into states which are closer to normal adult
consciousness. In other words, we can meet their need for connection to
us while meeting our own need to connect with ourselves in the
here-and-now flow of life. Rather than to *check out* mindlessly with
TV, we need (and they need us) to *check in* mindFULLy -- whether
through dancing, exercise, meditation or play -- and bring that flow
state into our relating with them. Instead of drowning out the noise of
modern life with TV noise, we can mindfully question the demanding
voices of society and release those which cleave us from the present and
undermine our deeper needs and desires.

I also highly recommend reading this summary of Dr. Charles Tart's
concept of "concensus trance":

http://www.cantrip.org/charles_tart.html

I agree with Elin's suggestions (in her Feb. 9 post). However, I
personally experience daydreaming as more mindless than mindful. Those
two states are quite similar in terms of feeling mentally relaxed and
expansive, but mindful states differ in that you experience more
presence and clarity. Our children will often become irratible when
we've lost that quality of presence, so that their fussyness can
actually be a good thing, serving as a reminder to make sure we are
present and "in our bodies".

Nevertheless, I like daydreaming and think it's a good way to take a
vacation from the concensus trance, so long as the kids don't need me to
be more present.



See also:
Effects of Television on the Human Being
http://www.antipas.org/magazine/tv/4argumentsbook/argument3.html
(excerpts from "Four Arguments For The Elimination of Television" by
Jerry Mander, 1978)


ooh I had a mander book once but I think it was not just about TV... wonder where that went?

melsy Mon 14-Feb-05 23:04:28

will also read when head less spinny, say heloo to little paps.

Papillon Wed 16-Feb-05 21:09:54

Just read this now, I agree with the checking out and thinking its relaxing to sit in front of the TV syndrome. Also reminds me of MN... and the burnout that I think happens to some mums who come on here loads... its happened to me and therefore it is good not to have this place or the TV as the only times out from kids, life or wotever.

anyone else read this/ got comments?

gothicmama Thu 17-Feb-05 14:00:03

yes media ads do perpetuate teh need to produce so you have teh means to consume but media can also be educationl and resistance to ads is a good skill to learn dd watches tv but she knows she will not have everything advertised and she is learning the value of money through this so if you are educated and aware is it a problem or is aproblem with easily influenced people who feellife is not good enough unless they have xyz as advertised

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