T Nation

Television as a Comfort Item

I recently moved in with a new roommate. Something I have noticed is that he watches television non-stop. He will get up in the morning and turn on the television and have it on all day. He will sit at the computer and watch television out of the corner of his eye. He just loves the thing. I on the other hand watch some, but probably only a couple hours per night. Now is this just his need to be entertained all the time? Is it just something he needs to have to comfort him, such as a security blanket? Is it his parents sat him in front of the thing when he was a kid and that is all he did? He has pretty low intelligence, and isn’t very social so I’m thinking this television is almost an addiction. Anyone have thoughts?

Ya, my step monster is exactly the same way. She literally sits in front of the t.v from 7:00am till 11:00pm every single day. She’s about 70lbs. overweight,smokes a pack of butts a day, and claims to have been diagnosed with cronic fatigue syndrome, epstene bar virous (sp?), depression and a host of other illnesses. Hell, I’d be depressed and cronically fatigued if I sat in front of the soul sucking t.v all day everyday too. Any time anyone suggests she take up a hobby or start excercising she gets very defensive and claims her various illnesses prevent her from doing anything. She has started going for short walks in the last six months, but it’s not enough to actually derive any benefit from. It’s all very sad. How can people do this to there bodies? it’s the most precious thing each human being has been blessed with. I know, I’m preaching to the converted.

Hey magnus, I totally agree with you. I am tired of people making excuses about there debihlitating(sp?) illnesses. I am sure that some people actually have diseases which hinder them from exercising and being healthy,l but most are just making excuses. My suggestion would be to ask your roomate to go train with you. If you could just get him in the gym a couple of times a week, he might be more motivated to do something other that watch TV. I know that is helping me, because I am a recovering TV-holic. I just keep trying and training, hopefully I am getting better.

scientific american magazine did an article on how television can be addicting. You might want to check it out. One thing I’ve noticed is once the tv is on, it’s hard for me to turn the damn thing off. Probably it has to do with how our minds think at a stupor state when we watch tv. It’s a good thing I don’t have cable, otherwise I’ll be in my house all the time.

Paul Erdos, one of the greatest (& funniest) mathematicians there ever was, said that ‘television is something the Russians invented to destroy American education’. That is so true. People don’t read enough.

How can anyone be addicted to the thing? I’m a teenager, and even I only watch it maybe one hour a day. If I watch it any longer than that, when the commercials come on I find myself depressed. Depressed because I’m wasting part of my life watching tv, rather than being productive, or atleast social in some way. I just don’t get how people can enjoy it!

Aren’t there TVs’ in gyms now? So, your roommate can watch AND train. he he he.

A while back I read that some people have to have constant noise, something about being afraid to have silence because they might hear their soul speak to them and they won’t/don’t like what it is saying. I have an ex that was addicted and have friend’s that get so engrossed in the tube, they don’t hear me talking to them, even during commercials!! So sad.

Something I should have pointed out is that he does train. He doesn’t have a clue what he is doing i.e. wants to get low bodyfat by taking an ECA stack, but then eats McDonalds, thinks you can get huge without eating much. So he is not in front of the t.v. for a few hours each day. Just a little while ago when I was home working on some chores, he came into the house, turned on the t.v. went over to the computer checks his email then goes over and sits in front of the t.v. once again. I have interesting books laying around so it’s not as if he doesn’t have access to these. Something else is going on.

I found myself watching too much T.V. at one point and I just got rid of the cable. Now the only time I watch T.V. Is when Im jerking off to a porno. Seriously!

When I move out (soon) I won’t have a computer so the only time I’ll be able to use one is when I’m at school where there are other people around ;-}

Unfortunately TVs at the gym do not make noises although I do like to watch them while I do mindless cardio. Makes it less boring.

My old college roommate used to watch TV all the time and it drove me nuts cuz I only watch two things on TV: a few sporting events and Star Trek re-runs if I feel like watching TV.

I do not like absolute silence in my room when I’m doing anything other than playing violin or piano or sleeping. So I always have soft classical music on (orchestra or piano solos). It seems to help me think better.

Yes, Television is addictive.
A number of year ago two books were published outlining this trend. “The Glass Teat” and "“The Other Glass Teat”. Parent have used the TV as a method of controlling their childern for years.
Karl Marx once said, “Religionis the opide of the masses.” Now it is TV. Every year the quality and information provide gets worse and worse. You have one life…live it, do not waste it in front of the tube!

In subtle and not so subtle ways, we all find ways of comforting and distracting ourselves. Some ways are more socially acceptable than others–even virtuous–but they are all ways of escaping our pain. Your roommate apparently uses television rather than, say, alcohol, pot, meth, porn, shopping, or even charity work. (Yes, some addictions are virtuous!) Even lifting weights can be an escape.

When is something an addiction/escape rather than merely recreational or otherwise legitimate? Hard to say, exactly, but it sounds like your friend is socially (and intellectually) stunted by this activity.

We usually only begin to see our escapes as such when they interfere with other things we want. It take some enlightened introspection to recognize the distinction. Frankly, I wonder if I ever truly stop doing this sort of thing. I have several legitimate activities that I enjoy but recognize I cross the line into escape/addiction with them occasionally. If I find I dropped the ball in something important because of the activity, that is usually the red flag that I’ve crossed into an escape. For example, if I mess up at work because I’m sleep deprived from reading T-mag until 3am, that is usually a clue I’m procrastinating on something important, like talking to my wife about a mutual problem, or tackling income taxes or some other unpleasant duties. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what pain I’m trying to dull, but any imbalance in the use of my time usually reflects some underlying emotional problem I’m refusing to deal with.

Blaise Pascal once said something like, “The hardest thing for a man to do is be alone with himself for an hour.” Basically, we are all tormented deep down and must keep that sense of torment at bay by distracting ourselves. I think he is right.

When I lived in Oregon all watched to much t.v. since it rained for 8 months out of the year. Now that I am back home where it is 75 to 85 year round, I watch alot less. This would also include playstation and DVD time as well. Now it is partying with hippies on the beach with mushroom tea. I mean I live life again.