The amount of suggestibility and hypnosis we have seen among those in our society could be
attributed directly to the invention of the television. We are not
going to talk about propaganda and mass media as direct causes, but
rather the scientific and underlying effects that television, as a
technology, has on the human brain. It is this subtle and dangerous
effect that makes modern propaganda more effective.
The work of
controversial Australian scientist, W. Ross Adey, has shined light on
the biological and neurological effects of television on the human
brain. His studies have revealed higher rates of epileptic episodes
among those diagnosed with the condition and whose television habits
exceed those of an average person. It has been long thought that a
television's flicker rate is so fast and small that it cannot be
perceived and, therefore, cannot affect the human brain. However,
Adey has proven through his work with epilepsy that a television's
flicker does, in fact, cause a higher frequency of epileptic seizures
in those with epilepsy.
This means that a
television's flicker rate is indeed perceived and experienced by the
human brain, albeit on a subconscious level.
For children of the
1990s, a television's scan and flicker was well observed on an old
fashioned camcorder. When video-taping a television, many have
noticed a darkened black bar that scans downwards, or sideways, on a
television screen. This effect is created by the conflict of frame
rates between the television and the camcorder. A television's image
is “scanned” across the screen at a rate that we cannot
consciously notice, but that puts one single and consistent series of image
into our minds. Through a camcorder, that scan is partially captured.
For your subconscious
brain, a series of repetitious flickers are being observed and
constructed. Those rapid scans and repetitious patterns put your
brain into an Alpha state, a state of relaxation and suppressed
thinking. In the Alpha state, the brain turns off the processes that
are normally at work during high concentration and daily problem
Think of yourself
sitting in a dimly lit living room, everything is quiet, your body is
relaxed and you are watching a series of rapid, pulsating scans
flicker across a television screen. Some may argue that we are in
fact entering a soft state of hypnosis when this happens. We
are purposefully putting ourselves into a relaxed state and allowing
ourselves to be influenced by a third party. To some, watching
television is a form of remote hypnosis being conducted by artists,
corporations and higher powers with specific intentions.
In essence, television and film induce a soft, hypnotic trance.
When we watch
television, we become enthralled and focuses on the images that are
flickering on the screen. The sounds that come out of the speakers
become important and they drown out the other sounds, noises and
perceptions of the surrounding environment. We become fixated and
highly suggestible. When watching fictional programs, in particular,
we are being steered and influenced to follow characters through
artificial environments, all while we become emotionally invested in
their actions, personas and destinies. We feel what they feel and we
acquire their personalities, their hopes, their intentions and their
behaviours. Even if it is for a short while, this process causes
complete disassociation and a near total disconnection from reality.
Over time, as a habit, it begins to influence our behaviours and
permanently affect our brains.
Perhaps this is why so
many children imitate and adopt the behaviours of their favourite
Even if television is
not inducing a state of hypnosis, it has been proven that many of the
brain's critical functions are turned off during our time in front of
a screen. Now imagine a young child, whose brain is still in the
phase of critical development, being plopped down in front of a
television for countless hours at a time. The longer a child spends
in a suppressed Alpha state, the less able their brain becomes to
independently solve common problems. Through the process of habit,
their brains fail to develop and habituate common problem-solving
skills, critical thoughts and uninfluenced analysis.
By spending more time
in Alpha and Theta states, the conscious and high functioning Beta
state becomes progressively more foreign to the human brain, making
concentration and critical analysis more difficult to sustain.
studies have shown lower volumes of “gray matter” in the brains
of middle-aged adults who spend too much time watching television.
According to studies
from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health, those who
watch an above-average amount of television have reduced volumes in
their frontal cortex and entorhinal cortex. Similar studies
have found that adults who watch abnormal amounts of television are
more likely to develop severe cognitive decline in their senior
For now, we can only
imagine the long term effects of television on the brains of
The importance of keeping children active and away from television should have been emphasized by scientists and by teachers throughout our childhoods, but it has seldom turned up in the important conversations between teachers, pupils and parents. Nowadays, it is hardly discussed by doctors and media. Aside from telling us to be more active, doctors and teachers have failed at educating us about the psychological hazards involved with watching too much television. Many will continue to brush it off as unproven, or as more conspiracy theorist malarkey, but by educating themselves and transferring their knowledge into action, parents will be able to make more informed decisions and raise a wiser generation.
It would also be wise to consider the motives of scientists, doctors and politicians who could find value and power in having entire generations stuck in front of these little brainwashing boxes.
Hear it from doctors by starting with this link about the harmful effects of television on children.