Escape Your Television - Diary of an Addict

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Day 14

Well, that's two weeks passed and this one was easier than the first week.
This week I survived on only 30mins of television, that is until this evening when I watched a film with some friends and enjoyed an hour of that programme I taped (Are we real?).
Hmm.. this really feels like I'm confessing!

Anyway, despite not being absolutely tv-free, I don't think it's so bad as I've got plenty of other things done instead. Again the week feels like it's slowed which is really weird for a fortnight before Christmas, maybe it's because I've been able to plough through so many tasks without having to make up for time lost to the telly.

I've just finished watching the programme I taped and it was a bit of a let down, which is often the case. I suppose the nature of existence and reality doesn't fit nicely into a one hour slot with three advert breaks. Maybe I was hoping for too much and I guess I can get vast amounts more from a book. TV offers tantalising bite-size amounts of new information but never giving me enough.. like a taster so I then have to find out more information myself. In that way I suppose it can't be knocked as it can stimulate a hunger for knowledge though it can never feed it.

(Sorry, this part's a bit off topic)
This programme, I watched, mentioned the idea of the universe and subsequently our reality being nothing more than a massively complex simulation in a far superior intelligence's "computer". Literally. It's the stuff of sci-fi, I know... nothing new there but unfortunately that's where they left it. They didn't get to the real profound bit which, if you follow the logic, means that is almost certainly the case. Maybe they wanted to keep it dumbed down a bit or maybe they would've had to sacrifice an advert break to fit it in.
I've detailed the 'missing' and profound bit below :
If you accept the notion that one day (in 100 years time or maybe 100,000 years time) we will have been able to create artificial life and simulate thought processes in a computer then it doesn't take a leap of imagination to picture a whole world/universe for those intelligences to inhabit. So, if we accept that one simulated universe could exist then why just one? It seems likely that many thousands, millions or billions of these worlds would be created by anyone and everyone for research on everything from evolution to physics to history and even for recreational use.

So, if you accept the above as being likely then there would be billions of simulations running and what you're experiencing right now could be one of those simulations. Infact, the chance that this is the real-deal, the original reality out of all those billions is literally that, one in a billion. The odds that your reality, right here, right now is a simulation are pretty overwhelming.
Despite this, I'm still agnostic but could you wish for better odds in favour of there being a creator? A slightly worrying thought but then, hey, maybe 'he' just loves agnostics! All being well, I'll find out one way of the other in about 50 years time.
So, the programme although interesting, didn't give me anything new, but I felt I had to watch it just to find out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I seem to have wandered a bit off-topic there, enough of the mental gymnastics. I wasn't going to use this blog to document my thoughts on life the universe and everything but the tv programme did stir up all those profound thoughts which had lain dormant for some time. Anyway, I think I've got them out of my system for a bit so I'll try and keep my future posts on the task in-hand, ie. switching off the television.
Still, I'm pleased to say I did turn it off after watching the programme and didn't go wandering into the abyss that is late-night tele-shopping. Instead I continued reading my book which I'm now half-way through (something of a personal record for a book of fiction) and I'm really enjoying it. I had literally forgotten that my imagination could be fired in such a way to bring to life the chacters in the book without any visual aids as there is with tv and film. What's more, I'm really enjoying getting stuck into a book and the escape it provides, even if it is to a time of imminent apocalypse for Roman Pompeii (not somewhere I'd choose to be to unwind). Maybe "escape" is a poor choice of words as I don't have anything to escape. I think that saying "it provides a refreshing change of pace from my bog standard existence" would better describe the experience than escapism. Thinking about it, could you not say that fiction books also hinder people going out and experiencing things for themselves as a television does? Afterall, the excitement and fear of being on the side of a volcano which is about to explode (admitted, this book offers an extreme example) is only the figment of someone else's imagination. Wouldn't it be better if I'd relied on my own imagination to come up with this or better still to get out there and find a "safe-ish" volcano to climb. After-all, one of the main criticisms of television is that people sit in front of it being fed someone-else's experiences rather than getting outside and experiencing things for themself. Have I not simply swapped one medium for another?
Anyway, I'll stop there otherwise I'll never end this post. Hopefully, when I write the next post on Boxing Day, I'll have finished the book and be browsing Amazon for a new one.


  • I have just read this post Alan and it relates to what I said in my previous blog post about the underlying need to consume.

    The question is when you say bog-standard existence, who has set those standards?

    Pick up the women's gossip magazine Closer in your local newsagents. On the front cover it says "Celebs + Real Life"..
    This tells alot about how askew or perception of reality is.
    Bruce Springsteen said "Success makes life easier, but it doesnt make living easier".

    There is a red-carpet idealism, the notion that somewhere there is a magical plane of perfection and wealth where famous people live constanly exciting and glamourous lives of indulgence, causes the need to escape our own reality.
    This propels the convenient consumption.

    The solution to this is self-reliance. Get back to the beauty of reality.
    I have to recommend this now.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay Self-reliance

    I think you'll see it Alan.

    My name is adrian, my email address is and im on this site as im researcing for a book im writing called Step Off The Merry Go Round (you can step back on whenever you want, the key point is to realize what you and I have realized- that you can step-off, and when you do your days seem longer, you can direct your attention better and you start to notice the simple beauty of reality) Im writing this book for the generation(my generation) who were reared on television and consumption. We were born on the Merry Go Round and the internet can either be our salvation or a downward spriral depending on how generation Y CHOOSE to use.

    This is a messy portrayal of the thoughts of somebody who is excited by your blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 March, 2010  

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