April 20, 2013

Crisis: The TV and average intelligence
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it"
-- G. Santayana

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1.  Crisis: The TV and average intelligence
About ME/CFS


Today there is some text on the topic of the crisis. Actually, the same theme - more or less - as over three months ago, here:
Crisis:  Why are so many so apathetic?

1. Crisis: The TV and average intelligence

Actually, this is a reprisal in some ways and a continuation in some other ways. Here is the main point from almost four months ago, that as stated was mostly about apathy and its causes:
11. Bad education, stupefying media, and especially 50 years of TV, natural languages poisoned by figures of speech, fallacies and rhetoric as practised in public relations and advertisements , and the relativization of all values, of all knowledge, and of all aspirations to what the democratic masses, as manipulated by propaganda in the media, (are supposed to) approve.
My present stress is on TV, which I think is the main cause for the apathy, though not the only.

Here are some numbers - and I took them from here, noting that I also might have taken them elsewhere, but that by and large there is widespread agreement on the basic numbers:

Television Statistics
According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.
Percentage of households that possess at least one television: 99
Number of TV sets in the average U.S. household: 2.24
Percentage of U.S. homes with three or more TV sets: 66
Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home:
6 hours, 47 minutes
Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion
Value of that time assuming an average wage of $5/hour: S1.25 trillion
Percentage of Americans who pay for cable TV: 56
Number of videos rented daily in the U.S.: 6 million
Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million
Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49 
Approximate number of studies examining TV's effects on children: 4,000
Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children's TV watching: 73
Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500 
Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000
Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
Percentage of Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem: 79 
Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
Number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million
Percentage of survey participants (1993) who said that TV commercials aimed at children make them too materialistic: 92
Rank of food products/fast-food restaurants among TV advertisements to kids: 1
Total spending by 100 leading TV advertisers in 1993: $15 billion 
Percentage of local TV news broadcast time devoted to advertising: 30
Percentage devoted to stories about crime, disaster and war: 53.8
Percentage devoted to public service announcements: 0.7
Percentage of Americans who can name The Three Stooges: 59
Percentage who can name at least three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: 17
Compiled by TV-Free America
1322 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

As I have said before:
  • I do not have a TV since 1970 (for 43 years now)
I will come soon to considering this point, but first want to consider a point that is related to the above list between bars:

It is quite difficult to say from when it is. Any time after 1993 qualifies, and I have just now seen some 240 pages - very superficially, but through Yahoo!, Bing and Google - that did not have any of the above.

I do not know why this is so. It may be just chance. In fact - having spend some more time on it, without any clarity - I will assume it is.

Now as to my not having a TV, and not wanting a TV, and hardly ever watching TV since 43 years:

I gave up after some 6 years of watching at most 2 hours per day. My reasons are here, but I will mostly repeat them for your convenience:
I first saw TV in 1958, and my parents bought a TV in 1963, of which I did see a fair amount until 1970, though not as much as my contemporaries, because I quickly came to the conclusion that most on view - one or two channels, at that time in Holland, in black and white also - was boring and stupid, and that I hardly ever learned anything I did not already know, and that most that I watched seemed to have been a waste of time after the fact.

So when I started to live by myself in 1970 I did not buy a TV, for which I also had a positive reason: I wanted to read, especially philosophy and logic, and a lot of science and literature besides, that almost always seemed a lot more interesting than what was on offer on TV.

This has remained so ever since, and again I do not regret this at all. These days, and since decades, there are a lot more channels available, but also there is a lot more advertising, which I strongly dislike because people are obviously lied to and treated like morons, and addressed as if they are idiots.

And again I suppose it is mostly a matter of taste and of priorities, and not of principle, though I can't really understand why people with an IQ over 130 would want to watch TV, except from laziness, depression, or great tiredness, given the existence of many more excellent books than they possibly can read in a life time, to which nowadays the great possibilities of fast internet are added.
Anyway... that is the basic problem: FAR too many people are watching TV anyway, and FAR too many people are watching TV as their main thing to live for. 

And that is effectively what it is all about: Billions of people who basically don't know what to do, except watch TV, and to make money to be able to watch more TV.

I can't make anything different from it: If you watch TV some 5 hours a day, and work 8, plus 2 hours for traffic and eating, your day is filled.

Also, I really do not know how to change this.

Clearly, the problems would be considerably less if only the average IQ was 130 or higher, and indeed the programs on offer then would be on average a lot less idiotic.

In fact, all of the world would be quite different if the average IQ was 130 or higher, but alas it isn't.

But I do not know anything to change this.

Then again, there is one relief - well, sort of:
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it"
-- G. Santayana
will not be implemented: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to die.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate
(that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate
search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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