I find this quote interesting:
Theatre is life. Cinema is art. Television is furniture. —Anonymous
I can only say that I fully agree with the first part. Once the stage bug enters your bloodstream, it’s fatal. I’d been introduced to theatre and Shakespeare at a young age; my earliest memory of understanding an adult play was Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at age 10. (What that says about me, I’ll leave that debate for another time.) If I could only see one art form for the rest of my life, the choice is obvious.
The second part about cinema is sometimes true, but when it is, look out. The final part about television is contentious in my mind, especially after having lived through the second golden age of the medium.
However, not all television is created equal, and it has become a reflex of many of us—myself included—to turn on the set when we get home and veg. What I like about streaming services such as Netflix is that I have to be deliberate about what I watch, rather than settle for whatever happens to be on. Now I want to take that deliberateness one step further.
What if, as the quote suggests, we consider television as furniture, that we don’t pay it more attention than any other piece in the house? I’ve been trying this out and reading more, even reading about different topics, and as a result, cultivating new thoughts at a pace I haven’t experienced since the intellectual rigors of college.
I’ve always liked the adage: If you don’t set your priorities, someone else will. But how can you set your priorities until you give yourself the space and permission to think about what those are?
I’d start with the television. Even if you watch one fewer hour per night, imagine what you could do with that time. If you try that this week, let me know how it goes.
Author & Curator
One of the best decisions I’ve ever made is to major in philosophy in college. This has paid off for me personally as well as professionally since most jobs “require people who can think on their feet, improvise, work through ambiguity, write clearly, speak persuasively, and connect with other people.”
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