At a certain stage during the No Impact project, we got rid of the television, which kept making use feel that spending less and using fewer resources made us losers compared to the people we saw on the screen.
Duane Elgin, author of Voluntary Simplicity, said something that caught my eye (thanks for sending Rosa!) during a round-table discussion with Yes! Magazine:
Someone once observed that people live by stories, including nations, and that if you can control people’s stories, you don’t need to control their armies or legislatures, because you already control their minds and hearts.
In the US, television tells most of the people most of the stories about most of the world most of the time. It’s not just the thousands of ads for products; they are more fundamentally watching thousands of ads for a “work-and-spend lifestyle.”
It was for this reason that, during the No Impact project, I began to call the TV “the enemy in our living room.” I felt that there was constantly someone whispering that what we were doing was wrong. It’s part of why we still don’t have the TV in the house.
I mean–don’t get me wrong–I enjoy vegging in front of the TV as much as the next guy. But having it in the house is like having a gallon of ice cream and a bag of cookies in the kitchen. I can’t resist and the negative effects when I engorge ends up outweighing the pleasure.
What do you think?