Radical Musings: Waging War Against Simple Thinking - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Rev. Drs. Thomas D. and Cynthia E. Lynch

Religious symbols

Radical Musings: Waging War Against Simple Thinking

Are you tired of mindless TV programming, empty of anything meaningful?  We are! Any television show can be said to be “good” or “bad” in terms of an almost unlimited set of criteria including values, acting skills, or script substance. For example, perhaps the costumes did not correctly reflect the time and place of a show. Or the acting was not realistic. Or the program was bereft of any discernable purpose or meaning. We are looking only at how to judge a TV program in terms of spirituality. However, that is a challenge because the term spirituality has a great variety of meanings including the spirit proof of liquor, to the high that some say ayahuasca brings them closer to the divine, to an increase in higher consciousness. We have chosen the latter as it is the meaning used in almost all of the world’s religions.

"The Soul Man" on TVLAND

            So what few factors best capture whether a program develops an increased higher consciousness in its audience? This may surprise many religious people, but it is not a demonstration of faith or submission to God. Rather, it is first having a healthy dose of doubt and secondly having a perspective that is best described as universal. Certainly, both doubt and faith are important to exist in this world. Without faith, we would never get into an airplane or walk across a bridge. It is an essential mode of thinking for many occasions, but doubt is critical to spirituality because without it one cannot be a learning person who questions and without questions one cannot increase ones higher consciousness. Therefore, any TV program that does not have one or more of the primary actors in doubt does not have spirituality in its script. To have spiritual content, one or more primary actors must open him or herself to addressing the larger questions of human existence.

"Joan of Arcadia"

            Beyond doubt, the program must also demonstrate one or more key actors having either having a universal perspective or the exact opposite—that is clearly not having a universal perspective. With a universal perspective one or more persons see themselves as part of the universe. Without that perspective, they see themselves or their group as separate individuals without a universal whole of which they are a part.

            For spirituality to exist in a script, a universal perspective must be present or be absent thus bringing us alarm with its absence. The program’s script must somehow address that one or more actors having or not having a universal perspective makes an observable significant positive or negative difference in the development of the plot line. The classic soap opera is filled with key players that are devoid of a non-universal perspective—that is the characters who only think about what is best for them or some group of which they are a part. Heroes think about saving the larger whole such as the earth, humanity, or even the universe because they have a universal perspective and the bad guys often think only about being masters of everyone else economically, politically, sexually, or religiously.

"The Bible" on History Channel

            Are there other factors that are important? Sure, but they tend to be an elaboration of those two factors. For example, a spiritual person worries about getting their own behavior toward others in order prior to critiquing the moral behavior of others. Thus, a key performer in a show will question their behavior and as the plot develops the audience sees the character development of the performer. Eventually, the performer offers remarkable insightful advice to those who clearly need that advice, but only after the performer has matured spiritually.

"Touched by an Angel" -classic TV

            So if you are looking for more insightful TV programs, rate the ones you watch on their level of spirituality. On a one-to-ten scale, does the program use doubt as a means to grow the higher consciousness in its primary characters? Also on a one-to-ten scale, does the TV program address the importance of a universal perspective in having a higher level of consciousness?  If you wax on in this topic to others, you maybe accused of engaging in dry musings but your musing will be about something that is radically important for the betterment of us all. It is looking past the illusion of the TV program’s performance to understanding what truly is spirituality.

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Page updated 8/8/14

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