[Master Prover Carol Jones]
Television Emanation Proving: Altering Perception
“Technological innovations are extensions of human abilities and senses that alter this sensory balance--an alteration that, in turn, inexorably reshapes the society that created the technology.“
“The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan,”Playboy Magazine, March 1969
Marshall McLuhan’s theories revolutionized how society views the impact of media on human perception. He contended that all media (especially Television-TV), regardless of the messages they communicate,
exert a compelling and transforming influence on people and society. McLuhan considered TV as an intimate extension of an individual’s central nervous system.
…” The content of the medium is never the message.” Any medium at all creates a new pattern, a new atmosphere, a new environment of human perception which works upon the whole man, it works upon the whole society, that is the message.”
Marshall McLuhan, CBC radio Interview “Other Voices,” June 22, 1965
Television is a force with wide-ranging impact. TV has strongly influenced people around the world, and as a cultural institution it has been debated and analyzed since its inception. In the sixty years since television has become commonplace across the globe, this technology has revolutionized the way people see themselves and the world around them. It has revolutionized the pace of life and connectedness of the world.
As Douglas Coupland in his biography of Marshall McLuhan states, “ the global village" is a way of paraphrasing the fact that electronic technologies are an extension of the human central nervous system, and that our planet’s collective neural wiring would create a single 24-7 blobby, fuzzy, quasi-sentient metacommunity.”
The Developement of Television
Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries. He is known for coining the expressions "the medium is the message “and the global village" and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. (Wikipedia). A podcast interview with McLuhan is available at:
The development of electronic television systems was based on the development of the cathode ray tube (CRT). A cathode ray tube (= a picture tube) was found in all electronic television sets up until the invention of the less bulky LCD screens. A cathode ray tube is a vacuum tube (from which air has been withdrawn) that produces images when its phosphorescent surface is struck by electron beams.
Television emanation travels through the cathode ray tube and projects directly onto the retina of the viewer. In 1927, Philo Farnsworth was the first inventor to transmit a television image comprised of 60 horizontal lines. (Interesting that the image transmitted was a dollar sign!) In 1934, the US Federal Communications Commission approved advertising as the
economic basis of the country's fledgling radio broadcasting system; this would set the stage for TV advertising a couple of decades later. Television was widely available commercially by the 1950s.
A Wider Vision and Experience
“Television’s future is as expansive as the human mind can comprehend…. [it] holds the key to enlightenment which may unlock the door to world understanding...”
Jack R. Poppele, president of Television Broadcasters Association, 1948
Television is about vision and perception. When you look at the above diagram of the cathode ray, you can see a similarity to the shape of the human eye. Television has changed human perception, enhancing our field of vision and our ability to perceive.
In television, the stories are told through images, and the images are transmitted by a force, which can make powerful connections, or alienate. It enables us to see what is far away, in other time periods and places.
It can literally take us there and immerse us into other lives and situations that we would never experience, things beyond our reach, transporting us through all of our senses.
McLuhan wrote about TV creating an interdependence in the world, a superimposed co-existence. He stated in 1962 that “since TV has pulled our senses outside us, Big Brother (= the TV electronic brain) goes inside.
If we are unaware of this supplanting, we will be one big family, a place where humans retribalize through their freedom to bypass time and space.”
Television as a Force
Television involves the transmission and receiving of energy. The transmission – or force – occurs both on the level of light energy and also comes through in the content transmitted. Receiving operates on the same two levels. The literature is replete with scientific and cultural studies about television’s physical, mental, behavioral, economic, and sociological impacts. According to the 2009 Neilson Three Screen Report, the average American watches about five hours of television a day.
Physiological and Behavioural Impact
“Because all media…are extensions ..Such an extension is intensification, an amplification of an organ, sense or function and whenever it takes place, the central nervous system appears to institute a self-protective numbing of the affected area, insulating and anesthetizing it from conscious awareness of what’s happening to it “
“The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan,” Playboy Magazine, March 1969
McLuhan believed that electronic media were extensions of the human nervous system, with TV being the most significant because it invokes multiple senses.
Some medical studies suggest that when a person watches TV, actual brain chemistry is affected and a hypnotic state is induced. “The basal ganglia portion of the brain becomes very active and dopamine is released.” Some scientists believe that the release of high amounts of dopamine “reduces the amount of the neurotransmitter available for other purposes …”.
[Chris M. Carmichael]
A 2001 study conducted by Dr. Herbert Krugman of Germany found that “while viewers are watching television the right side of the brain is twice as active as the left which causes a state of hypnosis.”
If you experience "mind fog" after watching television, you are not alone. Studies have shown that watching television induces low alpha waves in the human brain. Alpha waves are brainwaves between 8 to 12 HZ. and are commonly associated with relaxed meditative states as well as brain states associated with suggestibility.
While Alpha waves achieved through meditation are beneficial (they promote relaxation and insight), too much time spent in the low Alpha wave state caused by TV can cause unfocussed daydreaming and inability to concentrate. Researchers have said that watching television is similar to staring at a blank wall for several hours..
I enjoy watching television on occasion, and this article is not meant to suggest that people should never watch TV. However, it is only fair that people understand what happens to the brain each time it is exposed to television.
In an experiment in 1969, Herbert Krugman monitored a person through many trials and found that in less than one minute of television viewing, the person's brainwaves switched from Beta waves (= brainwaves associated with active, logical thought) to primarily Alpha waves. When the subject stopped watching television and began reading a magazine, the brainwaves reverted to Beta waves.
One thing this indicates is that most parts of the brain, parts responsible for logical thought, tune out during television viewing. The impact of television viewing on one person's brain state is obviously not enough to conclude that the same consequences apply to everyone; however, research involving many others, completed in the years following Krugman's experiment, has repeatedly shown that watching television produces brainwaves in the low Alpha range
Advertisers have known about this for a long time and they know how to take advantage of this passive, suggestible, brain state of the TV viewer. There is no need for an advertiser to use subliminal messages. The brain is already in a receptive state, ready to absorb suggestions, within just a few seconds of the television being turned on. All advertisers have to do is flash a brand across the screen, and then attempt to make the viewer associate the product with something positive.
Implications for those with ADD and ADHD:
Most people would benefit from cutting television time; in addition, research has shown that persons with ADD or ADHD tend to have too much Alpha, Theta, and Delta wave activity and, therefore, would benefit significantly from a reduction in TV. Television certainly contributes to a reduced ability to concentrate for anyone, but especially those who already have an overabundance of Alpha waves.
Reading (a real book or magazine, for instance-- not televised text. It is the radiant light from a television set that is believed to induce the slower brainwaves) and writing both require higher brain wave states. If you want to keep your brain focused and your attention strong, it is a good idea to cut your television time. Sitting quietly for a few minutes, painting, singing, reading, or going for a walk, are better for you in all ways.
Some researchers have attributed various autism spectrum disorders (ADHD, Asperger’s) as a result of exposure to Television. In particular Autism Spectrum features such as obsessive or repetitive routines and behavior patterns, preference for solitary activities, difficulties in social interaction and delayed or impaired language skills have been linked to childhood TV watching.
“Current research is discovering that individuals can employ television to create what is termed a parasocial or faux relationship with characters from their favorite television shows and movies as a way of deflecting feelings of loneliness and social deprivation.”
Sociologists and media critics have argued about the impact of watching violent imagery. People are used to viewing things, places and time periods that they would never experience in their lives. The experiential impact that TV provides has resulted in many TV viewers having a difficult time distinguishing between their own lives and those they experience through TV. Therefore TV can also act as an alienating force by inspiring a kind of vicarious life through the stories and characters on TV.
Also, a 1995 survey released by the National Health and Nutrition Examination indicated that the use of television is directly linked to the ever-increasing number of overweight children in the United States partially through eating food while watching and promoting the consumption of food through advertising. In addition, watching television is an extremely sedentary activity!
“We have allowed the most powerful communications tool ever invented to become the command center of a consumer society defining our lives and culture the way family, community and spiritual values once did."
Kalle Lasn, a co-founder of the Canadian media criticism and environmentalist magazine Adbusters.
The mass acceptance of television coincided with the period of the US' post-World War II economic and political dominance. The “transmitters” of TV information are relatively few in number relative to the numbers affected by TV’s impact. Television was one more way of homogenizing and marketing culture, typically U.S. culture.
Altered perception can result in the alteration of our needs and desires. Sociologists have discussed how television has amplified individuals desire for things and experiences typically not available to them.
The phenomenon of increasing isolation in our culture is another sociological impact that many feel is a result of the introduction of television. The pace of isolation has increased with the explosion of the internet and the 24/7 availability of electronic media- which technology has addressed through the introduction of social networking, e.g. Facebook, where relationships can be totally electronic.
With the emergency of TV advertising a whole new economic industry was created. It became an extremely powerful tool through which a new model of consumption based economic growth emerged. Kalle Lasn of Adbusters, deconstructs this phenomenon: "In the privacy of our living rooms we made a devil's bargain with the advertising industry: Give us an endless flow of free programs and we'll let you spend 12 minutes of every hour promoting consumption”.
Commentary on the Remedy
Television (TV) Emanation is in the category of “imponderables.” The most striking aspect of this imponderable remedy is the alteration of perception. In the proving we saw perception shift from small to very, very large fields-- a sense of expansion and contraction, like the shape of the cathode ray or an eye.
Imponderables also share a quality of being a “force,” which was very evident during the proving. One of the provers experienced this sense throughout the entire proving “whatever they were going to do [to me], they were going to do forcibly…”.
Extreme experiences ran throughout this remedy, those outside the normal parameters of the prover’s lives. This was especially seen in their dreams. A prover described a sense of something coming over her and preventing her from expressing herself. This limitation of expression was also an aspect of the “force”.
The force aspect was also felt strongly during the collation and write-up of this proving. It was extremely difficult to complete the process. There was a sense of the topic expanding- like an imponderable force. It was difficult to corral the information into a focused structure.
The idea of collective or group experience came through in the proving . Some provers and supervisors talked about group effort and camaraderie (or lack thereof) throughout the proving. They repeatedly mentioned the idea of a common experience, and a sense of responsibility to the group. There was the polarity between the concern for the group and one prover having her own very individual, non-interactive experience.
We saw different aspects of an Asperger’s- like response in the Proving. The lack of emotional attachment, the lack of social interaction, the flatness in communication and speech, the obsessiveness with fire and specific topics - e.g. jazz, space. One of the Provers sent an e-mail with NASA pictures of the Moon. The Prover collects NASA pictures of Space. We consider this remedy to potentially be a remedy for people who find it difficult to express themselves or connect emotionally. The person needing TV emanation might be focused inward, dull and bored, but with tremendous hope and desire to connect with others and have meaning.
As one of the provers said during the trituration: “I feel like this remedy will be good for someone who is a lump on a log or someone who is restless, wanting to move and can’t.”
We believe this remedy would be associated with Stage 4 (“all senses are wide-open”) of the Periodic Table, according to Jan Scholten’s presentation of his stages.
The Provers sat like four lumps on the couch, moving very little, looking bored and blank. They only rose to tend the fire or eat, obsessively rearranging the logs. The fireplace captured a lot of their focus and attention. They were largely uncommunicative and had to be prodded to share their experience. To the observers the scene appeared to be Mom and Dad and their two kids watching TV in their living room. All four sat staring, quietly, not engaging in conversation. When conversation occurred, it was limited and somewhat superficial. One prover was very captivated by her iPhone throughout.
Source of TV Emanation
Louis Klein suggested the proving of this substance in December of 2009 in response to a need he saw in his practice.
In December 2009 milk sugar was placed in a porcelain bowl two feet away from a television that was left on for 48 hours, on a stool at the level of the TV picture. The television was a Sony Trinitron manufactured in 1985.
The proving was conducted in Boston on November 6, 2010. There were four provers – one male, three female; one lesbian; three whites and one African American. There were three observer/supervisors. The full Great Lakes Protocol was followed.