How To Produce Zombies
walked past a house today and saw what looked like two little angels,
about four and five years old, sitting quietly in the pyjamas in
a living room. The house was a Victorian residence with large bay
windows in a well-to-do English suburb of Nottingham and the glimpse
of the two children prompted me to turn my head to see with whom
they were engaged.
were certainly wide eyed but they were also very still, an unusual
event for children so young. Was a parent reading them a story,
or an older sibling showing them how to construct something? No,
they were watching television. Suddenly, their pose meant something
completely different. They were not transfixed on an amazing human
adventure or patiently learning about something new. They were zombified.
quickly took more of the scene in and compared it to my own children,
whose rambunctiousness disturbs most adults. They play freely, bounce
over chairs, run back and forth through the house on cold days;
they are fire engines, planes, dinosaurs; then they are cooks, builders,
astronauts ; each will freely flow into a different character and
the other will follow suit until a complex story waxes and then
collapses into something new. Then jigsaws come out Ė and both will
sit quietly engaged in putting together relatively complex puzzles;
and then onto Lego, then drawing, and then running around again,
plonking on instruments, and off again into the imaginary worlds
see, we have no television.
can you live without television?" most of my pupils ask. "Iíd
die without one," some add, touching on a subconscious realization
did we live for thousands of years before television?" I ask
and usually get a puzzled face.
does one start? I grew up with television but when I lived by myself
in my thirties I found it an increasingly annoying intrusion into
my thinking and hence personal development. What could be learned
from a news clip compared to the depth or analysis of a good history
book or work of fiction? I threw it away one day. Into a skip. The
release must be like when a smoker finally does have the mental
strength to throw away the last pack. That was in 2001. Since then,
I have watched about a half dozen movies on the laptop DVD, some
of the Olympics, a few news clips and probably a few murder mysteries
on holiday. Do I miss it? No. I enjoy films but literature provides
so much more for the brain and in turn enhances my abilities to
communicate and to critique the world around. I do not bury my head
in a cultural wasteland, I do watch informational and educational
videos on the internet but probably less than a hourís worth each
week. Driving, I am a fan of audible.com, I can listen to hours
of incredible books instead of having the banal pap of commercial
radio to fill the cabin.
1999, the American
Pediatrics Association recommend that
children under two should not watch any tv at all. A decade later
they softened their stance because of the reaction. Hmm. What is
the principle here? If the APA see the zombifying effects of allowing
children unlimited access to screens or the dulling mental effects
of visual electronics, why should an angry chorus from parents and
industry affect its judgment? I do not bat an eyelid when kids say
to me, "How can you live without a tv?" because the principle
is clear cut to me. My children can learn more through interaction,
exploration, and their own imagination than they can from the pathetic
superficial nonsense broadcast into their brains.
but it surely keeps the little darlings quiet for a while!"
Yep, so do drugs. Theyíre the same. Reduce the brain to mush, and,
yes, you can keep a clean house and do your chores or check your
email, but mush is mush. Sit with me, I tell such adults, through
forty-plus hours of one to one tuition and youíll see the
effects; you too will be able to discern those children who are
plugged in from those who are active and proactive in life.
not a necessary leap, but those plugged in tend to get into online
gaming or playing with apps. And the imagination plummets, vocabulary
evaporates or does not ascend with maturity, and the Will diminishes
to slug level. "Donít mind..." is a common refrain. The
Will to choose disappears. Sit with me while we try to encourage
a teenager to write more than one sentence for a creative writing
project. Itís painful, itís shameful. Itís embarrassing.
mind?" equals "donít care".
care" equals "no values."
values" equals hollow: empty of ambition, drive, and devoid
of any sense of freedom.
were probably so thrilled when tv came along and then proliferated.
Now the greatest part of the population could pursue a dreadful
utilitarian ethic of pursuing the lowest form of pleasure for the
greatest number or the greatest dumbing down for the greatest number.
you truly subscribe to a libertarian or anarchist philosophy, or
even if youíre a conservative keen to educate your children in the
importance of family values and the principles of good living, allowing
your little ones is akin to chaining them in gaol and saying how
wonderful choice and freedom are. The box dumbs us, period. Go without
it for a couple of months and youíll know what Iím talking about;
plug yourself in and youíll continue to acquiesce in other peopleís
views of life just like Platoís people in the cave who just could
not understand what the wise man was on about. (And if youíve not
read the analogy, please do Ė itís in The Republic lines
508 onward, and then consider how prescient Plato was!)
begins with a healthy mind and body. And that means weaning ourselves
and kids off the greatest Ďmind forgíd manaclesí (William Blake)
do not know the context of the two little children I saw Ė the tv
may have been a "treat." Hmm, just like a cigarette, I
observe to my cynical tv-addicted young pupils, which wonderfully
confuses them. But as Iím writing this I can observe the difference
in my household; walk past our window and youíll see two children
energetically expressing life. Later youíll see us tucked up with
books or Lego.
donít attend school and generally they eat paleo, but thatís another
story! Theyíve built a den in the living room Ė Iíd better go and
Moseley [send him mail]
is an educationalist and philosophy living in the English midlands;
he is the author of several philosophy works including An
A-Z of Philosophy and An
Introduction to Political Philosophy as well as biographies
Locke and Aristotle.
He recently co-wrote Business Ethics with Jim Fieser of the
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and is director with his wife
Moira of a private educational and tuition company Classical Foundations.
© 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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