Wednesday, February 09, 2005

TV is the New Campfire?

Speaking of cavemen (as in my last blog entry), a friend of mine made an interesting observation. This is while we were camping (and those of you who know me and my policy on camping will understand what a rare occurrence that was), sitting beside the campfire. As you know, there is a hypnotic effect when you sit and watch a fire, either of the camp variety or in a fire place. Wright's observation was that the hypnotic effect may be genetic. Back when we lived in caves, it benefited those that sat around the fire at night -- more warmth, more personal interaction with the other fire-likers, and less likely to get eaten. And that TV is the modern campfire.

When you think about it, there are definite similarities. Both are flickering lights that encourage you to sit and stare. Maybe that explains the ease that some people have sitting and watching TV for hours on end. And, that may explain the default behavior of many people I know when they watch TV. They don't find a good show to watch (because there aren't any), they find the least worst thing and watch it. When a commercial or some other distraction comes along, they find the next least worst thing and watch it. I propose that most of the TV being watched isn't because it's really good, it's because it's there. A lot of TV isn't much more entertaining than a fireplace. Both seem to encourage that passive, vacant stare.

Maybe you could get the best of both worlds by setting fire to your TV?

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