Many education and personal development experts claim that people watch way too much television these days.
As a result of having our eyes glued to the television for hours each day, we waste our valuable time watching all the latest reality shows and sitcoms when we could be using that time to do something more constructive with our lives.
I would tend to agree that the average person should cut down on the number of hours, but I think some TV is actually okay if utilized well.
Since we all need breaks in the form of entertainment, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to watch a few regular shows each week. But of course, many people are watching much more than just a few shows on a weekly basis.
Where I think television can actually be beneficial for us is in programming that is educational and thought-provoking. Programs like the ones on the outdoors, on history — as well as the Discovery Channel, of course — educate us on nature, technology and culture. These can help broaden our horizons.
Cultural shows in particular can help us learn more about each other so that we, as people, can become more tolerant of each others’ differences. This will help to reduce the level of racism and conflicts we still have in the world.
Other programs (especially those highlighting nature and travel) help us build appreciation of our precious planet. I know that in my case that as a result of watching travel shows, I have been influenced to book trips to certain different destinations around the world…all because of the initial exposure on television.
It was programs about our planet’s marine life underwater showing colorful coral reefs with tropical fish that got me interested to go snorkeling and then eventually become a certified scuba diver. I saw on TV just how beautiful the underwater world was and I wanted to be in that environment so I could experience it for myself.
Rather than just watching the coral reef marine life on a television screen in my living room, I wanted to be there in the real actual environment. Even a giant IMAX theatre could not duplicate the real thing when you have gorgeous tropical fish swimming all around you in a 360-degree zone.
Television in the form of historical documentaries or even re-enactments of past events in time can also have quite an impact. I always knew about the Great Pyramids in Egypt but when I finally saw more in-depth footage of various ancient Egyptian ruins on TV, I knew that I just had to travel there to see them in real life.
I actually did go on a trip to Egypt one year — and there is really nothing quite like standing in front of colorful murals that are still vivid on the walls of ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings after thousands of years. These breathtaking experiences I had were a result of initially being exposed to these ancient antiquities on television.
The combination of the initial television exposure and real life visits have made me appreciate mankind’s history much more. I get a better sense of where we have been and perhaps what we still have to do to make our society better.
Although we can all still learn from great people through their writings, attending a live talk where they are speakers would definitely be even better. However, since many of these great people are no longer with us, watching their stories on TV with either actual footage of them or through movie portrayals are the next best thing.
I learned about people like Gandhi and Malcolm X through movie portrayals on television, which prompted me to do a bit more research on them. Their wisdom has made me a better person, again thanks to the initial exposure on TV.
So if you are already involved in activities that contribute to your personal growth, don’t write off television completely. Use it as one of the tools that you can use to get some exposure to events, people and places that can broaden your horizons further.
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