Like (nearly) all of us in Hong Kong, I am concerned about the environment we live in. The air we breathe, the water we drink etc. But this blog isn’t going to be about that. It’s going to be about a different form of toxicity. The toxicity of that favourite little (or sometimes big) device in most (if not all) our houses. The television set.
My husband used to be addicted to TV. It’s hard to tell now as he rarely (if ever) even watches it. It’s hard to imagine the person that he was when I know (from others and through seeing myself) how much he has changed. He’s much more likely to meditate, read, do exercise or go across the road to do some Tango than he is to watch TV these days. He was one of many people who spent too much of their lives sat in front of the box. But what good is that box actually doing us? Don’t get me wrong, I watch TV (mostly cooking and documentary programmes), but how much of it is actually a waste of time? Documentaries aside, what are we actually feeding our minds?
Toxic programmes or films are like food. What goes in must go through the system and (eventually) come out. But unlike food what goes in can stay in for a very long time. Watch a horror movie and it might take months (if not years) for it to show up in the radar of your dreams. These programmes show us the world in a certain way, and quite often it’s based on fantasy and not fact. Scary films make us fear the night (or birds, dinosaurs, insects….you name it there’s been a fearful film about it!). Romantic films make us think that a Hollywood/Bollywood picture of love is an accurate interpretation of it. Dramas make us serious and Soaps make us addicted! (bit stereotypical but hey, watch enough and you’ll probably find that’s the case). We should start thinking about the programmes/films we watch more and the way they make us feel. If they make us feel good (maybe “Just for Laughs” or a programme like that), then it gets a tick and passes the test. If it makes us feel negative, sick, angry or sad then we have to ask ourselves if we REALLY want to feel that way. If we don’t want to feel that way it’s simple. Don’t watch!
As for magazines and the internet; what is good for us and what is not? Are we feeding our “good, compassionate side” or are we feeding our “evil, need for gossip side?” What kinds of judgements about the world are we creating from what we read? Are these judgements actually based on anything but opinion? If we constantly put rubbish in, the only thing that’s going to come out is rubbish. But this rubbish can turn into dangerous rubbish as it can impact on the way we see the world in a significant way. Friendships and relationships can be destroyed as a result of the garbage that we put in.
Once we have sorted out this toxicity, we can then move into the realms of “Toxic People” and “The Toxic Planet”.
“We mostly know how to live, what we want for our kids and even how to run an economy. So why doesn’t it happen? The media is what colours and textures our belief systems. It has, in a way, replaced religion.” — Alain de Botton