Sunday, November 04, 2007

Television, the Internet and Bittul Zman!

When we got married, I told my wife that I didn't want to buy a T.V. It wasn't so much a religious decision but rather a practical one. You see, I have a very good track record of wasting vast amounts of time in front of televisions. I have years of experience at it, throughout my High School years and even during college. I can watch almost anything. Bad quality never used to be much of a deterrent. Something about the passive entertainment is just great for me. I love it. But it is such an awful waste of time. I didn't want to spend hours and hours just wasting time watching nothing particularly significant on the T.V.

A further T.V. anti-social habit is that I frequently spend time with the remote just switching back and forth between channels. It is as if one thinks that if I switch over there may just be something better. But in fact, one eventually turns off the T.V. with an empty feeling having spend far too much time watching absolutely nothing. (In the end, we did buy a T.V. which I barely watch, but that is another story.)

Why do I mention this? Because I do fear that the Internet has taken all those negative habits and now, I surf for hours , switching back and forth and it is wasting a great amount of my time. I flick back and forth between sites as if there might be something that I haven't seen yet. It is as if I am expecting the computer sites to thrill or entertain me. I could be learning pages of Gemara and instead I am reading the NY times or the weather or who knows what??

The problem of wasting time on the internet is compounded because I do use the computer to prepare classes, both typing notes and worksheets but also using the internet as a research tool. So I don't want to be offline. But then I just wander around my favourites list and other links, blogs and what have you. I just waste a phenomenal amount of time. The computer should be a tool that we control, not a machine that controls us.

What is to be done? Am I an internet addict? How does one cure oneself? Can I exhibit self-control? Should I move my computer out of my study? Are there any good rules out there to help a person restrain oneself from endlessly being attatched to being online? hmmm!

Something must be done!


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

can't help you there, sorry. i take notes on my computer during class, and failed miserably at keeping my plan of not checking email or anything else non-school related during school time.

Anonymous said...

hey rav alex,
good point. we're told constantly about how great our lives are today thanks to technology, and the ads tell us how happy we should be with our ipods and computers etc, but as you say, we end up slaves to the machine. maybe you should form a band called rage against the machine.
you're right, there is this vacuous feeling you get when you spend too much time in front of a screen of any sort. it's probably just a radiation thing.
stay well