Re: Dumbing Us Down--discussion

Rook (
Wed, 1 Apr 1998 09:41:05 +0200

This is Christian from Germany.

There it is again, our beloved topic of TV and it's bad, damaging influence on
...whom?...children, of course. Two boys take their weapons and mow down a school
yard and what is the first, public, right, easy AND MORAL answer: TV is to be
blamed. The number of agressive acts that children see before they are, let's
say, 14 is cited and the problem is named: TV, MOVIES etc. And this
finger-pointing might not even be entirely wrong. Because who knows how damaging
the rays really are that are emitted by TV-screens. But that is not the point of
public attack. It's the content that is attacked. Whith an underlaying moral

But what I really want to get at is that TV is not the problem, it is what TV is
substituted for: reality, real life. If the every day life of everyone is so
bleak and empty that he/she cannot draw any energy form no-consumption
activities, then this emptiness is the problem. But even this emmptiness is only
a sign for the again underlaying way of life that our western society has chosen
to follow.

The main wrong asumption, though, is that our actions are mirroring what we see
on TV. The consumption society wants us to react to an advertisement/commercial
with the action of buying. And if the marketing peoples' assumptions are right
(and let's be honest they must be right, otherwise who could justify the vast
amounds spent for advertisement), then we in turn will react to the
advertisements/commerials accordingly. And if this works with ads and
TV-commercials, then it will work with everything we are displayed to: See an ad
- buy the product, see a killing - kill, see a love scene - love. And children,
because they are far more influencable, will copy a lot more.
I don't have an answer to why the assumtion is wrong, but I could find a lot of
reasons why our society would want us to believe the assumtion is right. I do not
believe it.

Now to the children: We have a three year old daughter and live an a perfectly
normal German suburban neighborhood. Children are around all the time. They love
to play inside and outside and don't seem to be too interested in consuming high
dosages of second hand life TV-material. They like the first hand experience a
lot better. Yes of course, TV always has its magic powers. But even if we pop in
a video, we more often find the place in front of the TV pretty soon deserted and
the children in another room playing out the story they had just begun to watch.

TRUST in ourselves and TRUST in our children has been the most influencial lesson
I have learned from Summerhill and Sudbury Valley. The trust to decide for
ourselves rather than have others make decisions for us.