Saturday, June 16, 2007

Alternative Reality

The rules of psychology say that whenever we are faced with a situation that seems impossible we seek an escape.

This escape could be in the form of a joke, becoming a prankster, alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, or any other form of retreating from reality and escaping into a private world.

In India, where divorce has not yet achieved the "normal" status from society and a divorced woman is often seen as dysfunctional and avoided by all men once her status becomes known, this creates a unique problem that profits the television industry.

Whether living alone or in a joint family, the married Indian woman, at least of the previous generation, had no choice but to continue doing that till death. Divorce was no better than sacrificing children (which incidentally most women with televisions do anyway).

There are no perfect couples and post-marriage friction is inevitable. For the married woman in India there is often no escape. Curiously enough, the more pliable the woman the better she copes.

The toughest situation is for women with egos or stiff attitudes that refuses to compromise with their in-laws. They might not like their husbands but must pretend they do. They might not like anyone in their in-laws but must pretend they do.

A human being cannot live an entire life with such pretense unless he/she is unethical at heart, in which case they are undeserving of a family anyway.

Enter the television
If you ever speak to Indian women that watch the soaps targeted at them you will discover that they speak of television's fictional characters just like they were real.

  • There is deep concern regarding the uncertainty in the lives of the characters.
  • There is a terrible foreboding if an episode is missed.
  • A tragedy in fiction becomes downright appalling in real life.
  • An affair between fictional characters becomes the seed for real life gossip.
  • The bad women (curiously there are hardly any good ones) are bad mouthed.
  • Unsavory characters are cursed.
  • There have been instances where people actually pray for the well being of their favorite fictional characters.
Women gather in flocks to discuss the various serials going on as if they were real life documentaries instead of a money generating tales of fiction.

The reason for this is simple.

These women, curiously enough you will be hard pressed to find a bachelorette, seek an escape in choosing alternative relatives to their real ones.

Their ego problem is clearly indicative here because the television gives them an illusion of absolute control over the lives of the characters they wish were their true relatives.

Their obsession is made clear through their viewing habits where they had rather watch a meaningless episode than tend to the needs of their children or husband.

The worst of it all
The reason why they talk as if those characters were real is because they sincerely believe them to be so.

Since the television creates a hypnotic-suggestive state where the mind accepts everything without question, the brain has no distinction between reality and fiction, everything is real.

The worst part is the behavior modification that follows from viewing such trash.

Even a decent woman with a mild interest in these serials runs the risk of eventually, and subconsciously, modeling her own behavior based on what she sees in these television programs.

That in itself is not so bad if the characters were all half as decent as a bunch of whores.

A family television serial without conflict would never be seen because these women are seeking conflicts that are not their own and which they can control with a remote. The result is a television program where every character is busy plotting, lying, cheating, defrauding, insulting, humiliating, and in general behaving in every outrageous and immoral manner against another set of characters.

You would not want anyone like that in your family because it means ruin.

Yet, these very characters are what keeps these serials going. The sense of control a woman feels eventually fades through familiarity and then the subconscious suggestion begins to take hold.

The women begin to believe that that is the right way to live. That plotting, scheming, lying, causing rift among family members, cutting off those you do not like, deliberately doing what others may not like, is the right and proper way to run a family.

It is not possible to fix this problem because the woman is not choosing this consciously. It is not her fault really. The suggestion is planted and replanted over the years through constant trash viewing on the television until the woman is unable to distinguish between good and bad.

Questioning her conduct will create instant hostility because no one questions what is seen on television and real life questioning is seen as a violation of some obscure law they apply to their real life behavior.

The entire process is summed up in the following steps.
  1. The woman rejects reality by refusing to work on getting on with her in laws.
  2. She instead recedes into the alternative reality of television and builds "real" relationships with fictional characters.
  3. Eventually the fictional characters gain equal prominence and then become more important than her real life relatives, even her own husband and children must take a back seat to her fictional relatives.
  4. The woman can no longer live without her fictional relatives though the absence of her husband and children does not bother her.
  5. The woman will fight to retain her right to access to her fictional relatives and no amount of persuasion or force can change her mind about it.
  6. The entire family suffers because the woman is making decisions that have no bearing on reality.
This is but another interesting psychological fallout of television addiction.

That television causes behavior modification is undeniable because the human brain is not smart enough to realize that the television content is fictional.

However, human society being what it is continues to stay blind to this menace and countless families are destroyed because of greedy producers that deliberately create bad family value engendering television content for its addicts.

No comments: