Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happiness, flow and viewing telelvision

According to a recent report, to be happy just turn off the television ..... instead, go out and interact with people.

Advice that I do not take enough .... I think TV is a major distraction in our lives because it is an external stimulus. It's an example of really bad flow ... to just be frozen in front of a flickering screen, in a daze zombie-fashion .... but so absorbed in this externally provided stimulation.

I often start with the good intention of watching something important or informative but then get trapped watching stuff that, while interesting in some way, was not what I intended. So the TV takes control .... even as I sit with the remote in my hand.

So watching TV is a form of submissiveness where we give up on our own lives to be stimulated by someone, or something, external to our lives. I know when I am directionless I watch news (oh how we end up being just like our parents) bulletins .... secretly hoping for some major event to excuse my inaction .... so instead of admitting my lack of motivation (and sometimes mild depression) I can say: Did you see that on the news today ... what about Obama's economic team.

As I told my Dad in a moment of frustration as he surfed from one news channel to another: What can YOU do about it?

The truth is that being an "intimate observer" does not change the fact that you have NO CONTROL over what's happening. I guess the research suggests that we stand a chance for happiness and a positive flow experience when we put down the remote and get out and do something in the real world ..... that's the only place where we can take control of our lives.

, as