RUSH: How many times have you heard me say, ‘If you want to really be happy and content, turn off the television’? Try it, I’ve said, turn it off for a week and see how your life changes. Cutting edge of societal evolution. See, I Told You So. Wall Street Journal, today, page D1, Jonathan Clements. ‘Despite the sharp rise in our standard of living in recent decades, Americans today are little or no happier than earlier generations. Why not?’ Yeah, why not? We have such a wonderful government, you know. ‘A new study suggests one possibility: Maybe we need to be smarter about how we spend our time. And, no, that doesn’t mean watching more TV. Feeling unpleasant. You can think of your happiness as having three components.
First, there’s your basic disposition — whether you are, by nature, a happy person or not. Second, there’s your life circumstances, your age, health, marital status, income. Third factor, which is how you spend your time, something you have a fair amount of control over.’ The other things you might not. ‘This is the subject of a major new study by academics Daniel Kahneman, Alan Krueger, David Schkade,’ a whole bunch of idiots — ‘For the study, the five professors surveyed some 4,000 Americans, asking what they did the previous day and then quizzing them in detail about three randomly selected events from the day.’ The bottom line is, the less TV people watch, the happier they were. I gotta take a break. I’ll give you details as we come back. But I knew it. Now, I told you to try this years ago. The Wall Street Journal is just getting around to it as are these professors, cutting edge of societal evolution, right here.
RUSH: All right. Here’s the bottom line on the professors and their study of happiness, contentment, and so forth. ‘The standout cluster was what the authors label ‘engaging leisure and spiritual activities,’ things like visiting friends, exercising, attending church, listening to music, fishing, reading a book, sitting in a cafe or going to a party. When we spend time on our favorite of these activities, we’re typically happy, engrossed and not especially stressed.’ Time goes by, we’re not bored. We have more leisure time than ever before in our society, and yet we’re not doing those things. We’re zoning out. We’re sitting in front of the television. ‘[T]here’s been a significant increase in the hours devoted to what the authors call ‘neutral downtime,’ which is mostly watching television. Women now spend 15% of their waking hours staring at the [television], while men devote 17%. Watching TV may be low-stress and moderately enjoyable. But people aren’t mentally engaged the way they are when they’re, say, exercising or socializing’ with other people.
These guys don’t comment on what you see when you watch TV. You’re just sitting there zoning out. If you add what you see on TV and what it does to affect you, how it affects you… Try it, folks. You really should. Just listen to this program and don’t watch any television, especially news. Don’t! Don’t, and spend the time doing things with your family, your spouse (if you can handle that), or going out with friends or what have you, just for a week, maybe. If you can’t do that, try three days (TV is addicting to some people), and you just see if you’re not better off. See if you’re not more content, if you’re not less worried all the time.