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From Being Idiots to Being Zombies, How TV Robs Our Emotional Quotient

When phones get smarter and people get dumber, it is the manufactured truth that triumphs


[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the public opinion got bigger with the presence of social media and television it got dumber too. In fact it is no more an opinion; rather it is repeating a notion over and over again until it becomes gospel truth.  Since the 24X7 news channels and soap operas made their foray into Indian television we have virtually been reduced to a vegetative, unthinking lot. For one so much information overload has made us lazy.

We do not bother to verify facts anymore and share misinformation in all gullibility. Very few have caught this pulse of ours and they manipulate our choices; make us speak in 140 characters, keep us in a tizzy, always harried. We represent no more our own reason but manufactured reasoning is drilled into us. The recent episodes of political immaturity or blind faith that we are witnessing reflect these tendencies. Very few possessing reason and objectivity occupy these virtual spaces.

Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst, notes in one of his articles that “When I come home in the evening too exhausted to engage in meaningful activity, I just tune in to a TV sitcom; even if I do not laugh, but simply stare at the screen, tired after a hard day’s work, I nonetheless feel relieved after the show. It is as if the TV were literally laughing in my place, instead of me.”

That is the reality of today’s public opinion.

Zizek goes on to say that “the real threat of new media is that they deprive us of our authentic passive experience, and thus prepare us for mindless frenetic activity—for endless work” which in fact is the exact echo of the current kind of thinking (or the lack of it).  Mindless tweeting, replying, getting all worked up and mad over silly Facebook posts and doing little research before blurting out endless blabber is what marks our discourses today.

The fear is real that we are gradually becoming television news and social networking zombies impatient to react to things. Our responses are often impulsive and devoid of objectivity. When phones get smarter and people get dumber, it is the manufactured truth that triumphs. One of the major reasons of such gluttony for reacting in public is that we leave ourselves with little time after work and in those moments we just want to be a part of the world buzzing with activity.

This just takes us away from other more important activities like reasoned, critical thinking and analysis. There is still time left to wake up and take a break from this endless cacophony. Our discourses and life itself can be more meaningful if we pick and choose from what we are being fed and more often question the veracity of facts. It’s time to get a life.


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