Wisdom Books: Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander

A total departure from previous writing about television, this book is the first ever to advocate that the medium is not reformable. Its problems are inherent in the technology itself and are so dangerous — to personal health and sanity, to the environment, and to democratic processes — that TV ought to be eliminated forever.

Weaving personal experiences through meticulous research, the author ranges widely over aspects of television that have rarely been examined and never before joined together, allowing an entirely new, frightening image to emerge. The idea that all technologies are “neutral,” benign instruments that can be used well or badly, is thrown open to profound doubt. Speaking of TV reform is, in the words of the author, “as absurd as speaking of the reform of a technology such as guns.”

Make This Excellent Book Become Available For Free Download – God Damn it! Or If Not Skint just Buy it

Although, unfortunately, I cannot offer a PDF download of this most thought provoking and imperative book, I can instead provide you with an excellent synopsis written by William H. Gross (you can read it yourself by clicking on the “Download E-Book” link further down the page).

Gross does a fine job of summarising and commenting on Mander’s four arguments for eliminating Television from our lives.  The four arguments Mander gives are:

  • Argument 1 – TV conditions us to accept someone else’s authority
  • Argument 2 – TV facilitates consolidated power through the colonization of experience
  • Argument 3 – TV physically conditions us for authoritative rule
  • Argument 4 – The inherent biases of TV

Jerry Mander, whose book comes highly recommended (I will be buying it myself in the near future) for the apparently brainwashed masses, makes us think about the unknown but negative effects of watching this mesmerising box of tricks in the corner of our living rooms.

After reading the synopsis, I found Mander’s arguments (provable or not) to be rather persuasive, as they provide a sobering wake up call to all TV addicts, and especially parents who let their young, and somewhat vulnerable, children watch hours of TV daily.

It seems that most parents are not aware of the damaging long-term effects TV can have on developing brains in early childhood.

There’s No Place Like Home…Especially One Without A TV

In my family’s case, we haven’t had a TV for the past year and have noticed a huge difference in our relationships and general well-being.  For one thing: because of a lack of a TV being in the room (which would cause nothing but distraction) we have found that we are now communicating and interacting with one another more frequently, which helps us to share any worries we may have as well as getting to know what others think and feel.

As for me personally: instead of just slumping in front of the box as soon as I get in from work, I now have time and energy to do more constructive activities, such as in contemplating about life, reading and exercising – which are all doing  my mind and body the world of good.

In conclusion: So maybe there is a real case for us all to turn off the Television for good, or at least moderate how much of it we watch – that’s if we, according to Mander, really want to reclaim our minds, sanity and, most importantly, lives back from those who now presently possess and control them.

But somehow I don’t think those in power, and who hold a total monopoly over the information disseminated, would really want that to happen anytime soon – would they?

Here is an excerpt of William H. Gross’ synopsis on Mander’s book:

Technology is not neutral.

Technology can be used to equip an army, but armies require generals; and generals are aggressive fighters. Armies, therefore, are not neutral – their very presence may lead to conflict. Technology builds cars, but cars require roads, fuel, speed, traffic laws, etc. Cars are not neutral – their very existence leads to complexity, sprawl, and congestion. Technology is required to build nuclear plants – they generate power, but they also generate nuclear waste. Nuclear plants are not neutral. Technology enables mass production. People who work in the assembly lines work long hours for low pay; their lives are consumed by boring and repetitive tasks. Mass production, therefore, is not neutral in its outcome and side-effects. Technology facilitates advertising, which has the sole purpose of influencing consumers. Advertising is not neutral. It is designed to dominate the mind by changing thinking patterns. Television is the primary medium for advertising.

Television, which is itself a pervasive and powerful technology, not only carries advertising, news, and cultural images, but it also pre-determines who will use it, how they’ll use it, and what effects it has on individual lives. It determines what forms political activity will take. TV is not and cannot be a neutral technology, nor does it convey a neutral message. It has the power to influence large portions of the population using surreptitious psychology and inherent technology to achieve its owners’ purposes and to promote their agenda. The medium by its very nature consolidates power and influence into the hands of a rich few. There is no democratic process by which voters and consumers may directly affect its content, or control its impact.

The problems and the dangers of television are inherent in the technology itself. That means it cannot be reformed in its nature as a medium. And because the medium of television cannot be reformed, it needs to be eliminated. What follows are four fundamental arguments offered in support of eliminating television.



  1. blobby says:

    Thanks for sharing :o)

    Until recently, Youtube (thanks to millions of folks sharing their experiences) was a wonderful alternative to centralized media! Now, it has become yet another outpost for the corporate media :o(

  2. J Cooper says:

    Hi Blobby,

    Unfortunately, like most things (including Conspiracy Theories), YouTube and the like have become nothing more than another form of entertainment (euphemism for “distraction”).

    YouTube for example, being a vehicle for freedom of speech, should be used to reveal the truth on serious issues that effect the planet. Instead, other than a few genuinely enlightening videos, it has become a vehicle for celebrity worship, or for this current vain and egocentric generation to act out their fantasy of becoming a celebrity themselves.