Television: The Drug of the Nation?


Strange how a disparate thoughts suddenly meld into something new.

I was mulling over what was on TV. Not now, or then, but generally. It all seems to be houses and food. And also mulling on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which has popped up around the Bloge now and again.

He identifies a pyramid of needs, which need satisfying in order:

Body (Physiological) Needs.

Air, warmth, food, sleep.

Security (Safety) Needs

Living in safety, away from threats.

Social (Love and Belonging) Needs

Ego (Self esteem) Needs

Mutual respect.

Self Actualization (Fulfillment) Needs

Purpose, personal growth, realization of potentials.

What suddenly struck me is that so much TV – about homes and food – are targeting our Body and Security needs in the hierarchy. Which is extraordinary really. For the vast majority of us have these needs more than met. Wouldn’t those in the world who are hungry or without shelter find it strange that we spend so much time fantasizing about dream homes and refined recipes? Why not programming aimed at helping us to fulfill our potentials?

Franti – and many others – have talked about TV being the ‘drug of the nation’, a ‘cathode ray nipple’. That’s a metaphor I love. St Paul knew we couldn’t survive on milk forever if we were to ‘self actualize’. But with a TV milk-diet of homes and food, we are never going to. Cynics might say that’s the way ‘the system’ wants it. I’m less convinced by conspiracy theories than by that of mass-market media, pumping to the lowest common denominator. And the infantile, the easily digested, toothless pap that plays on our root psychological needs is certainly aiming that low.


4 responses to “Television: The Drug of the Nation?”

  1. Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation.
    Sounds like church to me.

  2. 😉 Sure does.
    How’s things? Christmas silly-season hit school yet? Got them on the Cathode Ray Nipples of video-lessons yet?!

  3. Always;)
    Actually, had the Police waiting outside my lesson the other day to arrest a pupil on charges of assalt… nice of them to wait untill I had finished teaching him and let him out the room!!!!
    Hows your lot then?
    Oh, and baby Solo has a cold! But the 3 princesses are all as nutty as ever… glued to Internet, rather than TV though! Is that better do u think?
    Internet = interactive TV?

  4. Now I’ve seen the homes and food they show on television. These aren’t exactly appealing to the starving and homeless among us who need a bite and a roof.
    Such things tend to be all about showing off, and thus would fit nicely into Ego Needs, which makes a bit more sense. Our society, having not even a lick of worry about elements or security, is entirely obsessed with promoting the Ego. Television occasionally forays into self-actualization by television gurus that also seem to be more about Ego than substantive personal growth.