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Friday, February 25, 2011

The Great Escape: Television?

We all have our favorite television shows and movies, right? But, when I am grieving over the loss of a relationship, I certainly don't want to watch a sappy love story. When I am sick, you can't pay me enough money to watch a story about someone dying of cancer.

On the other hand, when I'm feeling especially healthy, I can watch Discovery Health surgeries one after another all day long. A lot depends on my present emotional state. But most of the time, I don't want to watch other people having a great adventure, I want to live a great adventure myself!

It may present a temporary pacifying affect to watch a group of people enjoying the white sands, crashing surf, windy palms and bright sunshine on an exotic island getaway, but it seems to leave me feeling frustrated and resentful when the show is over.

Why do millions of people everyday sit vegetated on their couches watching other people live their lives, interact with their friends and families, endure conflicts and face life's challenges as if their own lives had no challenges to face? Maybe that's it! Maybe it is a form of escape from their own life.

Our lives can be overwhelming at times, filled with stress and aggravation. So instead of dealing and coping, instead of investing the time and energy into working out solutions, it is easier to wander over to the comfy chair and turn on the television. Then we get interested in the characters.

It almost seems like we develop a relationship with them because the writers have done an excellent job with character development. We look forward to seeing them each week. We cry with them, we laugh with them, we root them on when they are being especially heroic.

We yell and scream at the television when one of our "friends" gets kidnapped or hurt in some way. We invest more time and energy with these strangers than we do with our own lives. It seems like we have to tear ourselves away from their stories to accomplish the task of getting ready for bed.

The set goes black and reality begins to creep back into our memories. Oh, that's right. I have a life. I have my own family, acquaintances, work and play. Does each session of escape with the television make our return to reality a little more difficult?

Do we long for the time when we can reunite with our friends on Law and Order? What will it take to break free from this electronic addiction that puts us in this pleasure inducing, but crippling trance for hours every evening? What if our own lives had so much interest, enjoyment and challenge that we didn't have time to sit and watch a crime scene investigator examine a body on a slab?

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