Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why I Don't Have a TV

Many people ask me how I live without a TV.

The reasons are simple.

1. Waste of time: The average person watches 5 hours of TV a day. That is almost 17 years of one's life spent watching TV. That is 17 years that could have been spent creating a piece of art, starting a company, helping someone in need, raising a child, making love. We only have one life to live. Why waste such a precious gift?

2. Skewed perception of reality: TV is designed to get people to buy products. Full stop. And to get people to buy products, companies need to make people feel deficient, lacking, unhappy ... that is, until they buy the company's product. Companies need to redefine normality in terms that advantage them.

The real world is nothing like the TV world. Take a walk on the normal street. In India, you will see millions of people who look nothing like the people you see on TV and TV commercials. These are the real people. And yet, companies want people to feel that the real people are stars like Aishwarya Rai, and that if you do not wear the perfume they are wearing, you are not normal.

3. Materialism: After I got my first job out of university, I decided to move into my own flat. This is somewhat new in India, but since my work was in Bangalore, I did not have a choice. Over the next few months, with my new income, I starting accumulating goods.

My favorite TV show at the time was Friends, an American show about young people in New York. For a while I tried to imitate their way of life. I spent my spare time in cafes, and I bought a lot of the stuff advertised on TV to match the Friends lifestyle. Then one day I looked around, and all of a sudden it seemed so futile. We spend all of our lives accumulating junk, and then we die.

This is why I don't have a TV.