Do you watch tv?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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Viscid
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Viscid » Tue May 28, 2013 4:47 pm

The problem is people habituate themselves into watching television over doing activities requiring some actual effort. Once they develop the habit of watching television excessively, doing productive and/or fulfilling activities becomes much more difficult.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Vern Stevens
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Vern Stevens » Tue May 28, 2013 8:50 pm

People habituate all kinds of unskillful choices. I know I still make unskillful choices despite my best efforts to be more mindful. As Ben alluded to earlier, TV is but one tool which people can either use skillfully or unskillfully.
“What we think, we become.“ - The Buddha

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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by BlackBird » Tue May 28, 2013 9:56 pm

Ben is quite correct. There is no such thing as unconscious action, action may be mindfully done or mindlessly done, but it cannot be unconscious.

Television is what you make it, by itself it is merely a medium.

metta
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"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Coyote » Tue May 28, 2013 10:13 pm

I don't watch a lot of TV if I am by myself - just a few shows like Game of Thrones that I am keeping up on. I have picked up the bad habit of watching TV while I eat, which is usually comedy or some kind of documentary. I don't think it is any worse a habit than the other media I engage in - fiction books and music. I do try to be mindful of getting caught up in these kind of things though, especially dramas.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Viscid
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Viscid » Tue May 28, 2013 10:27 pm

BlackBird wrote:...action may be mindfully done or mindlessly done, but it cannot be unconscious.
Plainly wrong. There are lots of actions which are unconscious: breathing, chewing, swallowing, walking, and even speaking can be unconscious (sleepwalkers.) How we act at any moment is conditioned by our history. Most of the time we're doing ritualized actions day after day without much conscious thought. If we had to make conscious decisions for every minor action we make, we'd be paralyzed by the buzz of constant deliberation.

People don't consciously decide about whether or not to watch TV before they do, they generally just do it because they always do it.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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BlackBird
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by BlackBird » Tue May 28, 2013 10:33 pm

Sorry Viscid but when I'm talking about action, I'm talking about it in the phenomenological, Buddhist sense of the word, where the Buddha describes action as involving intention, not the modern scientific rendering. Rightly so you state that breathing doesn't involve consciousness. You're right, but for the purposes of this discussion I would relegate breathing from the realms of action, as action implys a choice, and it is not our choice to breathe, but simply something that is bound up with the body.

So I reiterate that action involves intention, and one cannot turn on the television unconsciously, by it's very nature - intention is implicit, and so is the presense of consciousness. Therefore - I am not wrong.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Viscid
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Viscid » Tue May 28, 2013 11:11 pm

I don't think the Buddhist 'intention' and the phenomenological 'intentionality' are actually compatible, so I don't know why you bring up phenomenology at all. It's just confusing.

Watching television requires little deliberation when you're habituated into the act. In fact, it probably would require more intentional effort to get yourself to not watch television than to watch it. And there are lots of actions I do with little to no intent behind it-- during my morning routine, I regularly forget if I put on shampoo or deodorant because those actions are so automatic for me. It is insufficient to describe an act as either intentional or unintentional, as some actions (such as buying a car) require much more intentional effort than others (like putting on your socks.)
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by BlackBird » Wed May 29, 2013 12:51 am

You're welcome to disagree with me, which is all I can see in the above post. Nothing much to dissuade me from what I believe to be quite self evident.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Viscid » Wed May 29, 2013 2:13 am

But this is a potentially fruitful discussion about television watching (and more generally, habitualized action.)

Ben said people choose to watch TV, and that it's good for them.

Firstly, I think we have different definitions of what we mean when we say 'TV.' I gather Ben's concept of 'TV' is a device which receives and displays transmitted sound and video. The television itself is a benign technology (it doesn't harm us directly in its operation) but the habitual behaviour by which we engage with it is potentially harmful: if you watch for over 4 hours a day, you're probably at greater risk of developing health issues due to the sedentary nature of excessive television watching. Another concept of 'TV' is the body of programming that is transmitted and consumed by a receptive audience through that device. Most people don't watch documentaries and enriching content on television. If we were to survey what people are watching on TV at any given time, I believe we'd see more people watching sitcoms, reality shows and other empty programming which presents the world in a distorted way. This is in no way 'good' for people.

Secondly, we have different perceptions of what it means to make a decision [to watch television.] Kim said that some people (those that are habituated into watching television) aren't making a choice when watching television. Ben says, and Jack confirmed via Buddhist Phenomenology, that there is indeed a choice. Now, while I agree one can say that a decision to watch television is being made (ritualistically) every time the television is turned on, it is not as if that decision wasn't made under the incredible pressure of the past. If someone holds a gun to your head and tells you to do something you don't want to do, can you really say it was your decision to do that act? Well, yes in one way and no in another. It's the same with habit: yes, theoretically you can opt-out of committing the habitualized action, but it's quite unlikely you will, unless there is substantial pressure to alter it.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Vern Stevens
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Vern Stevens » Wed May 29, 2013 2:28 am

Ben did not say TV was good for them, Ben said TV is a medium that can be good or bad based on how people choose to use it.
“What we think, we become.“ - The Buddha

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retrofuturist
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed May 29, 2013 3:08 am

Greetings,

I watch a TV show called House Husbands because my niece is in it, and I watch the cricket when it's on.

Otherwise the only other times the TV will be on are if I have guest over. Generally speaking, it doesn't do much for me... personally I'd prefer to listen to music.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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BlackBird
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by BlackBird » Wed May 29, 2013 3:29 am

Viscid wrote:But this is a potentially fruitful discussion about television watching (and more generally, habitualized action.)

Ben said people choose to watch TV, and that it's good for them.

Firstly, I think we have different definitions of what we mean when we say 'TV.' I gather Ben's concept of 'TV' is a device which receives and displays transmitted sound and video. The television itself is a benign technology (it doesn't harm us directly in its operation) but the habitual behaviour by which we engage with it is potentially harmful: if you watch for over 4 hours a day, you're probably at greater risk of developing health issues due to the sedentary nature of excessive television watching. Another concept of 'TV' is the body of programming that is transmitted and consumed by a receptive audience through that device. Most people don't watch documentaries and enriching content on television. If we were to survey what people are watching on TV at any given time, I believe we'd see more people watching sitcoms, reality shows and other empty programming which presents the world in a distorted way. This is in no way 'good' for people.

Secondly, we have different perceptions of what it means to make a decision [to watch television.] Kim said that some people (those that are habituated into watching television) aren't making a choice when watching television. Ben says, and Jack confirmed via Buddhist Phenomenology, that there is indeed a choice. Now, while I agree one can say that a decision to watch television is being made (ritualistically) every time the television is turned on, it is not as if that decision wasn't made under the incredible pressure of the past. If someone holds a gun to your head and tells you to do something you don't want to do, can you really say it was your decision to do that act? Well, yes in one way and no in another. It's the same with habit: yes, theoretically you can opt-out of committing the habitualized action, but it's quite unlikely you will, unless there is substantial pressure to alter it.
I don't really disagree with anything you're saying here.

:anjali:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by DNS » Wed May 29, 2013 3:59 am

Not nearly as much as I did when I was much younger (before the internet). :tongue:

When my kids were younger, we all watched The Simpsons but stopped several years ago when they outgrew it and the writers changed (not so good anymore).

Today, about the only things I watch are the news, some documentaries and sports. And not all sports, primarily just NBA basketball playoffs, some American football, soccer but only the World Cup, no league competitions, and a few sports of the Olympics (World Cup & Olympics are only once every 4 years).

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Mindstar
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Mindstar » Wed May 29, 2013 8:13 am

I´m not watching the news as i`m pretty much aware who has the biggest influence on them...
http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/e ... al-reserve

I don`t like to be brainwashed except for positive buddhist brainwash :lol:
I´m just focusing on everything that is positive.

Higher than lordship over all earth,
Higher than sojourning in heavens supreme,
Higher than empire over all the worlds,
Is Fruit of Entrance to the Dhamma Stream.
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Re: Do you watch tv?

Post by Dinsdale » Wed May 29, 2013 8:56 am

I think we need to extend the discussion to all forms of media, and the extent to which they can be a distraction. I've met people who proudly announced they got rid of their TV, but it turns out they are spending hours on the internet instead, which includes watching films, and yes, you guessed it, TV programmes. :tongue:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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