Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.
– Bob Marley
Think about it: Will I be exaggerating if I say that a part of your behavior and personality is shaped by the things that you see on the screen? Definitely not! It is naive to think that television is a harmless pastime activity that doesn’t affect your psyche in any way.
Every thinking person knows that anything you expose your mind to, affects it. Your psyche is continually being shaped by all kinds of information that you receive from your environment and that includes television.
Television is one the most effective hypnotic tools out there. It can have a huge influence on the way you think, the beliefs that you hold and consequently how your life turns out. Your subconscious mind, which carries all your memories and beliefs and makes you who you are, is directly programmed by watching television.
The flicker-induced hypnotic state
Your mind slips into the hypnotic trance state within seconds of watching TV. This lowers your brainwaves to a lower ‘alpha state’ commonly associated with meditation and deep relaxation. This is believed to be caused by the screen flicker and explains why you feel sleepy while watching TV.
Under this state of trance, your subconscious mind becomes highly suggestible and whatever information you receive from the TV becomes part of your memory pool. Since beliefs are nothing but memories, this information has the tendency to alter your beliefs or form new ones when it seeps into your subconscious mind. You might think the remote is in your hand and you’re watching the programs but, in truth, you are the one who is getting programmed.
Impaired conscious filtering
Freeing your mind is all about finding out what beliefs you are holding in your subconscious, bringing them to consciousness and then eliminating the ones that have no compelling evidence or any basis in reality.
Our conscious mind is a security guard that ensures only information that we already believe in is allowed into the subconscious mind so that our pre-existing beliefs get strengthened. It has the tendency to reject any information that does not match our pre-existing belief systems.
The natural consequence of a hypnotic trance state is that your conscious filters are turned off and you are unable to critically analyze the information that you are receiving. Moreover, when you watch TV you are not able to do any thinking because information is bombarded continuously into your mind. You get no time to process what you are watching. Your conscious mind is eliminated from the equation and the information that you receive continues to become part of your belief system.
Compare this to reading where you can stop, think and reflect after each line that you read. You, the reader, sets the pace while you are reading and not the book. TV, on the other hand, keeps on pouring information like wine into the glass of your unconscious mind and before you know it, you are already drunk.
And that’s what you see all around you- people intoxicated with the thoughts of other people who never give sobriety a chance by reflecting on their drunkenness.
How TV influences us
How many times have you done something just because you saw someone doing it on TV? We are hard-wired to copy those around us. This was especially important during childhood when our survival depends much on how well we copied actions that others around us did such as eating for instance.
I’ve said before that our entire childhood was essentially a period of hypnosis. We picked up beliefs from all over the place because our conscious faculty was not fully developed. We did not have the ability to question our beliefs and actions.
We saw Superman flying, got a Superman dress and tried to take off from the balcony. We saw wrestling on TV and fought with pillows in the living room, tearing the poor cottony things apart. We saw our favorite gun-carrying heroes and were shooting imaginary aliens in your courtyard.
This is strong proof of the fact that our subconscious mind cannot differentiate between things that we see on the screen and reality. That’s why we believed all that we saw on TV when we were kids and tried to copy what we saw.
But some people just never grow out of it. Sure you can’t do anything to convince your subconscious mind that what you see on TV isn’t real, just like you can’t be ‘not-scared’ while watching a really scary horror movie alone in the night. But what you can do is bring your conscious mind into the equation and only accept that information which agrees with your common sense and reason.
Millions of people are daily getting programmed by the stuff they watch on TV. They might not try to take off from the balcony but their life is a good reflection of what they see on the screen. Find out what TV programs a person watches and you can know a lot about what kind of a person he is.
Millions of people are trying to live the fictional lives they see being portrayed in the films, many are identifying with their favorite celebrities and copying them and countless others are daily accepting the versions of reality their news channels present them with.
TV isn’t necessarily bad if you are very conscious and deliberate about the things that you watch. Entertain and educate yourself, but don’t allow the programs to program you with irrational beliefs. Always try to keep your critical thinking faculty switched ‘ON’ so that you don’t let others control your thought processes.
Hanan Parvez (M.B.A., M.A. Psychology) has written 300+ articles at www.psychmechanics.com, a blog with over 3 million views and 100k monthly visitors. His work has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur.