In his fantastic story “The Man in the High Castle” Philip K. Dick presented a kind of alternative world in which the Japanese and the Third Reich won the Second World War. In Dick’s fantasy world, the Japanese occupation authorities legalize marijuana as one of their first steps to curb the people of California. But everything is no less strange in our world, which conventional wisdom simply calls “reality”. In “this world,” the winners also inject some kind of all-pervading, super-powerful drug-forming society. This drug was the first of a growing group of high-order technical drugs that transfer the consumer to some alternative reality, acting directly on his senses without introducing chemicals into the nervous system. It’s about television. No epidemic, no fashion addiction,no religious hysteria has ever spread faster and has not created so many supporters for itself in such a short period.
The closest analogy to the power of addiction to television and the transformation of values that occurs in the life of a heavily addicted consumer is probably heroin. Heroin makes the image flat, as if “aligns” it; heroin is neither cold nor hot; the junkie addict looks out at the world, confident that whatever happens is all that irrelevant. The illusion of knowledge and control, which gives heroin, is similar to the unconscious assumption of the television consumer, as if what he sees, somewhere in the world is “real”. In fact, the visible is a cosmetically improved type of product. Television, although not a chemical invasion, nevertheless contributes to the same extent addiction and is physiologically just as harmful as any other drug.
Not differing from drugs or alcohol at all, tele-experience allows its participant to cross out the real world and enter a pleasant and passive state. Anxieties and worries with the help of preoccupation with a TV program, suddenly disappear somewhere, just like when you go on a “journey” caused by drugs or alcohol. And just as alcoholics are only vaguely aware of their addiction, they feel as if they control their state more than they actually do … the viewer likewise overestimates his control, his control of the situation while watching a TV show. Ultimately, it is this harmful influence of television on the life of a huge number of people that determines it as a factor of serious addiction. The habit of TV disrupts the sense of time. It makes other perceptions vague and strangely unreal,taking some more “significant reality” as reality. This habit weakens relationships, reducing and sometimes eliminating normal opportunities to talk and talk.