You know we can’t focus, right? Wrong.
Okay we can focus, but only on video games and TV shows, right? WRONG!
Okay, you know we can focus the living bejeebers out of some things … and not so much on others, right? Right!
Why is this? I don’t know. Every time I try to think about it I zone out. Yeah, yeah, I know, that was a cheap shot just to get a laugh.
If we wanted to help ourselves focus, we’d have to start by asking what makes us focus on the things we do focus on?
We know that Fight or Flight will make us perk up and pay attention. And we know that curiosity can do that also. The TV? Ah, I have no idea what it has that makes me stare open-mouthed at it, damned thing. Well, okay, I do kind of know what the TV has going on, it’s a sensory buffet.
The TV is to us what an open car window is to a dog.
The TV is to us what an open car window is to a dog. If you blow in a dogs nose, it will turn away, but if you drive down the road with the window open, it will have its head out and its nose shoved right into the wind. Why? Because that air flow is like a smorgasbord of smells.
When you blew into the dogs nose, all the dog could smell was your lunch. Turning away is just the dog’s way of saying “Yeah, yeah, tuna salad. I smelt that when you were making it, thanks.”
So the TV provides a story for most people, but for us it provides a story as well as so many other little details like:
“I like this music, and what was on the counter behind the guy with the knife, and what was that woman wearing, or not wearing, and man that guy eating that steak reminds me that I’m kinda hungry, and that was a really good looking steak but I wonder if he knows it’s too well done, and whoa did you see that, that was the biggest stereo I’ve ever seen, I bet that thing can really crank the tunes, I need to get my music collection sorted, oh wow don’t look behind the door he still has the knife, …”
and so on.
So that’s the ticket. Drama makes us pay attention. And since TV is all it takes, we can ascertain that it needn’t be good drama, just prolific.
What? You see a flaw? Oh, right, I even stare at commercials. So it can’t be drama that has me hooked. But what is it if it isn’t drama?
Hmm, the constant flicker, the ever changing scene, the chance of seeing something that I might miss if I look away.
The truth is, there’s nothing going on outside the idiot box that I haven’t seen before, but inside the thing there are universes, worlds, countries and rooms that I’ve never been to before.
The truth is, if there is a reasonable chance I’ll learn something, no matter how useless or unimportant, my brain will make the determination that the return is worth the investment.
The problem is, it will make this determination seemingly without consulting conscious me. It’s like my ADHD brain just goes ahead and drugs my conscious mind, then hypnotizes it with TV garbage and leaves it there, staring.
But is this focus, or lack thereof? I’m saying it’s a definite lack of focus. It’s distraction to the nth degree. And it’s not a good thing.
I’ve heard from many friends and colleagues who tell me they’ve stopped watching TV and I tell them, “Me too.” And with the exception of DVD’s and tapes, I have given it up.
So TV isn’t focus and Drama isn’t the cause of my perseverant TV watching behaviour. So why do I think Drama would help me focus? Oh look, we’ve run out of space … I’ll have to tell you on Friday.
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Last reviewed: 6 Feb 2013