Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mindless Matters (follow up to previous post)

In response to my last blog, Luke wrote some ideas down that need further looking into. Specifically, why do people sleep with the TV or radio on at night. For my own history, I never had anything on until I moved here to Georgia when I was 10. I remember going to bed at my house and turning on Fox 97 (by this time I would have been 12), and listening to oldies every night. I made these tapes of songs I liked, and I recorded them straight from the radio, which meant that usually the first couple seconds of music or the first word or two were always cut off. I even used a ruler taped to the record button so that, if I woke up in the middle of the night and heard a song I liked, I could use the ruler to hit record instead of climbing down off of my bed (it was the top part of a bunk set.)

Luke was talking about how often people have the TV or radio on as a defense mechanism, to keep the monsters at bay. And that's probably true, except I think that as time progresses, the monsters that are on the outside turn into the demons that are on the inside. People keep audio stimuli on to keep away the meandering thoughts that are stressful or disturbing. Money issues, personal quibbles with loved ones, the insecurities of life. It's what people watch that are interesting. The Tonight Show, which is on late, is filled with mindless comedy, interviews that are anything but illuminating, and a host that is bland and egotistical, and hardly funny. The best that can be hoped for is to stay awake until Conan O'brien comes on. Then there's more intellectual humor, if you can stay awake past Leno's banality. My mom has on HSN, which is filled with positive and sometimes instructive information on how to buy their latest X, Y, or Z. I usually have on Sportscenter on ESPN, or I might turn it over to FoxNews or Headline News, so that I can recieve a proper brainwashing. The reason I turn on the TV now is to keep my thought processes on more mindless matters. So, he's right. The stuff people leave on at night is pointless. It's supposed to be. (Although, I've learned not to leave X-files on at night, cause 1) I wind up watching too much of it and not going to sleep, and 2) screaming from the TV tends to wake someone up. On a related note, I used to never leave it on NBC cause they would have this show, Starting Over on at 3am which was all about women starting their lives over, and it would be a bunch of sobbing and crying, and it always woke me up, too. )

To think about it now, reality is what everyone is trying to escape from. There's more comfort in not knowing, in escaping reality, than knowing, and being afraid. And I can totally understand it, because I would rather drink Lysol than to have to go through my checkbook. It's genetic, I think. My dad couldn't balance a checkbook either. I think it's because of the same reason. Reality is too harsh, too uncaring, and it's better if I don't know, that it won't hurt me. Of course, that's not true, as the numerous $35.00 overdraft charges can attest to.

Sometimes people just can't accept quiet. They have to have some external audio stimuli to keep their minds off the other noises they hear in their minds. As if the conscious and sub-conscious are not to be thought of. And it's gotten worse now that portable sound devices are everywhere. Dozens of people walk by me everyday either listening to their i-pods (and sometimes singing out loud, which is another blog all together), or talking about nothing on their cell phones. It's all mindless matters, and they seem to fill their days with it. My mom wonders why I can't go to the store without taking a CD along in the car. Well, that's why. Aside from the fact that without the music, I will fall asleep driving very far, it also keep my mind "mindless" while I do the menial task of going from point A to point B.

So to answer the questions. Yes, I do keep the TV on as a defense mechanism, to keep the meaningful thoughts down and the mindless matters rising to the surface. Perhaps that is why most of my dreams take place in a mall (or because I work at one). There is time, in the shower, or sitting here, writing on my blogs, to think the deep thoughts, to understand the experiences and memories in my head. But there is also time for thinking nothing, letting stimuli enter your brain and leave it unfiltered, undigested (that people have a tendency to do this to important information, like listening to parents, is another blog altogether as well). That's why shallow summer blockbuster movies are so popular, or why rock n' roll songs of the Brittany Spears variety are so necessary now, because people don't want to think about the real problems in their lives, they'd rather think about or create false issues and problems in other people, or read, or watch TV (soap operas, for instance). It is the way today's world works. So while Victor and company fight out their problems on The Young and the Restless, we can sit for a time and ignore ours.

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