Theory : Omnipresent entertainment and "info-tainment"
is increasing the rate of mental illness.
It seems to me that people all over North America are becoming
increasingly neurotic. And I think it boils down to a couple
of key things.
people are getting less sleep
When you sleep, your dreams unfold to help you go over events
in your life. They may have happened the previous day, the
previous week, decades ago. The longer you sleep, the more
time you have to dream. Thus, the more time you have to analyze,
evaluate, and create closure to these events and issues that
are nagging on your mind.
the increased demands on our time, we are getting less and
less sleep. So we have less time to re-balance ourselves and
prepare for the daily workings of life.
much of the time we spend awake, we occupy ourselves with
entertainment such as books, television, movies, websites
and other forms of distraction. Which brings me to…
entertainment is overloading our capacity to analyze the state
of our lives
involve ourselves with the situations and affairs of the characters
in these pieces of entertainment. While watching, reading
or listening, we are forecasting the plot and evaluating how
we would react to and resolve the conflicts faced by the characters.
we have more items on our minds, churning in the background,
evaluating what other fictional or not-so-fictional characters
should be doing with their lives. And this churning spills
over into our dreams.
when it’s three a.m. and we’re fast asleep, we
may find ourselves asking our father why he wouldn't let us
have a party on our 7th birthday, only to discover an episode
of Three's Company invading our space, with the explanation
that Jack Tripper was too busy at the Bistro making pies for
Chrissie to eat.
find their ability to resolve their past becomes crippled.
How do they try to resolve the neuroses that are surfacing
at an increasingly rapid pace? They turn to outsiders for
advice. Many reach out to ones that are accessible, that they
have seen the work of, and that they deem “good advice
call in a radio show to find out what we should do about our
overbearing mother-in-law, and the listeners call in to give
their own advice. Other listeners sit at home and mull over
their own solution to the situation. More of their brain power
is dedicated to the caller’s problem, sapping their
power to address their own issues.
sharing our problems, we are sharing the burden, but achieving
no resolution. By avoiding our neuroses with entertainment,
we are handicapping ourselves to deal with them.
vicious little circle it is.
Abby, Dan Savage, Carolyn Hax, Dr. Phil... They're all people
with few pointed answers, but many questions that weigh on
our minds. We are provided with insufficient data to arrive
at a solution to the issue. We're filling ourselves with neuroses
and drawing away from our ability to void them from our systems.
of the hope in immersing ourselves in these outlets of angst
is finding the one situation, the one example that makes it
oh, so clear what exactly we should do to solve our current
situation, be it a fear of spiders or an obsession with the
no two individuals or situations are exactly alike. So the
advice doled out doesn't fit our problem, and we are left
with less help than before.
individuals go to counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists.
They listen to our problems, and dole out analysis, advice,
and sympathy in some cases. But visits with same can cause
an anxiety all their own, and be counter productive.
may all be better off by just stepping away from the computer,
turning off the TV, and taking a nap.