Television seems to be addictive. Because of the way the visual signal is processed in the mind, it inhibits cognitive processes. Television qualifies more as an instrument of brainwashing, sleep induction and/or hypnosis than anything that stimulates our conscious learning processes.
Television is a form of sense deprivation, causing disorientation and confusion. It leaves viewers less able to tell the real from the not real, the internal from the external, the personally experienced from the externally implanted. It disorients a sense of time, place, history and nature.
Television suppresses and replaces creative human imagery, it encourages mass passivity, and it trains people to accept authority. It is an instrument of transmutation, turning people into their TV images.
By stimulating action while simultaneously suppressing it, television contributes to hyperactivity.
Television limits and confines human knowledge. It changes the way humans receive information from the world. In place of natural multidimensional information reception, it offers a very narrow-gauged sense experience, diminishing the amount and kind of information people receive. Television keeps awareness contained within its own rigid channels, a tiny fraction of the natural information field. Because of television we believe we know more, but we actually know less.
By unifying everyone within its framework and by centralizing experience within itself, television virtually replaces environment. It accelerates our alienation from nature and therefore accelerates the destruction of nature. It moves us farther inside an already pervasive artificial reality. It furthers the loss of personal knowledge and the gathering of all information in the hands of a techno-scientific-industrial elite.
Television technology is inherently antidemocratic. Because of its cost, the limited kind of information it can disseminate, the way it transforms the people who use it, and the fact that a few speak while millions absorb, television is suitable for use only by the most powerful corporate interests in the country. They inevitably use it to redesign human minds into a channeled, artificial, commercial form, that nicely fits the artificial environment. Television freewayizes, suburbanizes and commoditizes human beings, who are then easier to control. Meanwhile, those who control television consolidate their power.
Television aids the creation of societal conditions which produce autocracy; it also creates the appropriate mental patterns for it and simultaneously dulls all awareness that this is happening.
Jerry Mander. 1978. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. New York: Quill.