Tuesday, February 7, 2006

TV Makes Us Smarter?


All the McLuhan and Baudrillard fans who’ve spent their lives misconstruing both these thinkers’ circuitous thinking are cheering these days, as a current conceit circulating among some in cyber society has it that digital media, television in particular, has made us smarter than generations before. Smarter, more intelligent, more aware. Real people with fake lives watching TV shows full of fake people acting out real ones. Social anxiety disorder is a real condition, though we dispensed with the trend of making every discomfort a disease and just referred to sufferers as either existentially perplexed, or more simply, "neurotic".

Any good post-war philosopher knows the cure to the constant fretting and despair: GET A LIFE, or at least create one. In the current age, we begin with simply turning off the TV and getting a library card, for nothing makes you smarter as well has reading books , one page at a time, at pace where you're allowed, or rather compelled to develop sound thinking. TV has replaced the ability to abstract with the mere capacity to summarize, which is the difference between synthesizing information and formulating a solution to a problem under inspection, and the other merely a form of inventory taking, hardly more than putting everything in specimen jars, labeling them, and categorizing them in a method that renders the information inert, useless, and mere clutter. This is a time when citizens can know so much about so many things and yet understand absolutely none of it. Extreme, perhaps, but it feels that way as you make your way through phone conversations, exchanges at work, conversations in grocery stores and coffee houses and the bars where one might sit for awhile trying to regain their composure;  voices heated and voices calm citing this article, that website, that blog, this TV show as they sally forth with a world view that hasn’t changed much since they were a teenager. So much information absorbed for positively no effect. We fight wars and drop bombs for the old , ruined reasons dressed up with new terms and end notes. We are able to express the limits of what we perceive faster.

Real people with fake lives watching TV shows full of fake people acting out real ones. Social anxiety disorder is a real condition, though we dispensed with the trend of making every discomfort a disease and just referred to sufferers as either existentially perplexed, or more simply, "neurotic".Any good post-war philosopher knows the cure to the constant fretting and despair: GET A LIFE, or at least create one. In the current age, we begin with simply turning off the TV and getting a library card, for nothing makes you smarter as well has reading books , one page at a time, at pace where you're allowed, or rather compelled to develop sound thinking. TV has replaced the ability to abstract with the mere capacity to summarize, which is the difference between synthesizing information and formulating a solution to a problem under inspection, and the other merely a form of inventory taking, hardly more than putting everything in specimen jars, labeling them, and categorizing them in a method that renders the information inert, useless, and mere clutter.