July 16, 2012 | Stefanos S Sifandos
Reality television is a genre of television we're all familiar with by now. It's a type of programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded. It appears that for the most part the more dumbed down and situationally unaware the individual characters are on these TV shows the more honour, prestige and popularity they maintain amongst viewers.
Occasionally I like to watch TV and attempt to grasp and understand the beliefs and cultural activities of the mainstream. I wish not to appear arrogant in anyway here, I am very aware of the many people, like myself who do their best to disengage from watching television, for many uphold the belief that television is basically poisonous on all levels of being. Please note that it is not about wrong or right and that those who engage in television religiously or obsessively are wrong or have misplaced values, they simply are part of the mainstream. They say though to be able to fight your enemy with prowess, power and succession it is wise to know your enemy; hence why I like to sit in front of the idiot box and contemplate the stupidities on TV and hey if I had to be honest there are some TV shows that do amuse and entertain me at a superficial level, so I also feel part of the mainstream.
When these people or reality TV 'stars' perform feats of absolute stupidity, act in an idiotic or ignorant way it seems to be more appealing to producers and revered by the public. This must be the case, otherwise why would the media continuously place these individuals on TV? Obviously the producers of the show either believe or wish to create a culture where we idolise stupidity, superficial aesthetics and negative character traits such as deception, violent & aberrant behaviour, slyness, selfishness, stupidity and cunningness (just to name a few). Why? Ratings. What do writings equate to? Cash Money! It's all about the perception of what will attract more viewers; to ultimately bring more advertising dollars in and increase the longevity and ratings of that particular show.
As a side note the habitual cultural practice of obsessively watching TV places the viewer (us) in a constant state of denial pertaining to the happenings of our own lives and the world around us. We become obsessed with the lives of others for it is easier to place our focus and concentration here (more often than not in a fictitious world) rather than address the real life societal, interpersonal and relational issues that plague us as persons. They continue to plague us because we continue to ignore them. One of the avenues in which we take to ignore our own lives is of course TV; others include:
- Meaningless employment where our interests lie outside of what we are actually partaking in towards a life which can only be day dreamed about largely due to the constraints of society in which we are a greater part of
- Aesthetic and non practical obsessions, such as: the latest unnecessary gadgets, or the 'more advanced' car
- Obsessive consumerism
- Superficial information we are constantly subjected to, such as: the constant bombardment of media advertising
In essence what is happening is that the media is creating what the mainstream culture finds appealing and values. Once these cultural traits or habits become established, the cycle of this behaviour feeds off itself and becomes circular. Indiviudals and groups then demand and crave this behaviour or genre upon our TV, so in order to satisfy demand; producers seek and produce more of this mindless and numbing garbage. What then happens is that psychologically as individuals we all wish to be part of what is known as the in group and what ever behaviour our emotional / cultural posture emulates that naturally becomes desirable. So over a period of time we find individual behaviour morphing itself to this particular sub group, because it is the norm or popular and people will be liked if they adhere to the norm or what is popular. Let's face it, we all like to be liked... How about this; how about we create a new in-group???
In short, we seriously need to wake up and grasp what is important, ignoring the occurring of what is happening to our Earth, what we are doing to ourselves and what we are doing to each other as a humanity and to our life sustaining Earth is not healthy for the longevity of our existence (psychologically or physiologically). It is necessary to engage in all that is good (our humanness, our relational nature, our selfless nurture, our inwardly driven potential for peace, love and innate wisdom) and not ignore or distract ourselves from the real reality of living by creating another reality where we can consciously forget the actual world around us.
Stefanos S Sifandos has a degree in Behavioral Science and Philosophy and is currently earning a master's degree in Environmental Science and Management. He works on a daily basis assisting individuals in bettering their lives and reaching a higher inner potential.The Labyrinth of Life is the first of many books, which provide an insightful approach to an ever-changing world.