Economic Immunity And Freedom 1: Trash Your Television

August 22nd, 2011 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Grasses, Clouds Reflected, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, copyright 2009 by David Leland Hyde. Nikon D90. This photograph and a select group of others will be available soon as limited edition archival fine art digital prints. A friend, who already acquired a 16X20 print of this photograph, said it helps remind her clients of tranquility.

Something fascinating happened to me over the last few months. I have not listened to the Radio or watched TV. This has created a strange, yet significantly measurable positive effect. I know, I know, it is best to stay informed, to be aware of what is going on. Or is it? Is the news a good representative cross-section of events in the world, or does it have a sensationalized negative slant? Could you miss something critical by Trashing Your Television? Probably not. I have discovered that the most significant events seem to get relayed to me by people I run across during the day anyway.

I tuned into NPR for the first time in many months around the beginning of August, just in time to hear about a week-long plummet of European stock markets. Just as I did in October 2008, I sat down in shock and fear. Then I gathered myself out of a knee-jerk response and opened my heart as big as I could and first said yes to the fear, then let it gradually leave and dissipate.

Ever since I have been keeping Radio Silence and Trashing Television. I find that I have a much more positive outlook than many others I talk to, and guess what? Remaining News Media Free isn’t just a Pollyanna perspective either. It produces a measurable difference in the world. Staying positive has produced positive results. I have sold six prints this week including one of Dad’s vintage black and white prints. I also developed a pending situation that will bring as many as 20 more print sales in the near future.

Remember that what began all of this was the bank policy of giving loans to under qualified people. Where does bank policy come from? There is no conspiracy, just follow the money. Look to who is making policy. The Great Depression in the 1920s was the largest transfer of wealth in history away from the middle and lower classes to the richest corporate shareholders. A whole new brand of transfer is on again now.

There is another reason the economy has to take a dive this century. And I do mean a whole century long “managed collapse.” Get used to it. The maximum number of clean energy sources available can provide only about 30 percent of the energy on which the current oil based economy runs. To make the transition to a clean energy society, we have to operate the world economy on 30 percent of the energy we do now. That means we have to trim 70 percent of the fat.

Through it all, Photography will survive.

Will you survive in photography?

Will your photography survive?

Some photographers will thrive and some will fail.

Will you thrive?



  1. Sharon says:

    That is a lovely photograph, David. And good advice. Stress and worry don’t solve a thing.


  2. Hi Sharon, thank you. How we respond determines whether the stress and worry increase or decrease too.

  3. pj says:

    Interesting post David. Glad to hear you’re seeing some positive results from your efforts.

    I agree about TV. I haven’t watched in several years, and even now when I see a TV I realize I sure haven’t been missing anything. Same goes for radio.

    You ask interesting questions. Yes, photography will survive. Art will, because expression is a fundamental human function and need. Will mine? Who knows — but the more I keep it honest and free from the influences of marketability the better chance it has.

    That’s why I’m reluctant to sell my stuff… when money is attached it’s too easy to fall into the trap, consciously or not, of photographing what you think others may like and pay for, to be influenced by popular opinion. You see that in many artists who have achieved some success with sales of their work — they have adopted a formula to keep the dollars coming and have done little that’s new or original since they “made it”. I know that’s not true across the board, but it’s true nonetheless. Popularity can easily, though not necessarily, breed mediocrity.

    I want to avoid that potential trap while still making a living at photography and activism, maybe through writing and whatever else I can spin off of my blogs. Then maybe I’ll be one of the survivors. It’s a tough path to walk, but I can live with that.

  4. pj says:

    Got so busy rambling that I forgot to mention that I really like that photograph. Excellent piece of work David.

  5. Hi PJ, I appreciate your perspective. Marketability is an influence that is hard to escape. I believe there is a way to make marketable art good too. Marketability is not a sin within itself. Finding a certain niche that you know will be predictably marketable can be debilitating.

  6. Nancy E. Presser says:

    I love your bold viewpoint David. As you know I am radio & TV free as well and believe similarly; staying positive does result in positive results. Congratulations on your successful print sales and future sales. I know they will contunue as you remain on your quest.

  7. Nancy E. Presser says:

    Oh and I forgot to say. . . I love your image! It is very tranquil, peaceful and easy to breathe with as well as etheric and mysterious. Thanks for posting it.

  8. Thank you for your blessings and well wishes, Nancy. I appreciate your support.

  9. Greg Russell says:

    This is a really interesting and humble post, David. A good friend of mine has recently tried to get her entire life down to 100 possessions or less, which of course caused her to get rid of her TV. She’s seen a similarly positive outcome as you.

    Could I do it? Could I stop watching/reading/listening to the news? I’m not entirely sure I could. We hardly watch TV at our house. Almost all media is either NPR or Public Television, but I would have a hard time shutting it off completely.

    I guess until I can, I will remain a curmudgeon. 🙂

    Joking aside, thanks for the inspiration…

  10. Hi Greg, appreciate the comment. That’s OK, you are not as far out as I am in some ways, but just don’t let the negativity, a.k.a. news, go mainline into your subconscious at 11 pm just before you go to sleep, thus giving it all night to rattle around inside.

  11. I sure do wish I could turn off the television/radio for good. Just weak, I guess. Occasionally there is something worth watching…PBS’ Nature comes to mind, but the news, more like negative entertainment as it is doled out for profit and not for edification, definitely adds a dampening to the spirit.

    That is a very fine image, David. So much depth.

  12. Hi Steve, thank you for your comment and compliment on the image. Not only is the news dampening to the spirit, which is bad enough, but the news also brings us to believe that our fortunes are each directly tied to this idea called “the economy,” which is very complex and erratic and nobody agrees on what defines it. Furthermore, “the economy” is often driven in one direction or the other by nothing more than people’s optimism or lack thereof.

  13. Derrick says:

    Outstanding image, David! It has a rather impressionist feeling to it, which I like very much.

  14. I appreciate that, Derrick. Also, you can see it more in print form, but the grass has a life underwater. I believe this at least partly accounts for the depth Steve mentioned.

  15. Richard Wong says:

    You make some valid points, David. Reference today’s headline news about the 5.9 earthquake in rural Virginia. That is all CNN was talking about at the restaurant when I went to lunch this afternoon, showing people in mass hysteria and state of emergency despite no mention of any damage or deaths. Everything is so overblown in mass media.

    I think it’s good to know the news but change the channel or move on to something else once you get the story.

    I’d say that we need photography more because of how crazy the world is. Nature photography for example is an ideal escape for most who enjoy it.

  16. Thanks, Richard. Agreed, for nature photographers, nature photography is an ideal escape. For others, nature itself can be an ideal escape. Photography of nature reminds people of the feelings they have in nature.

  17. First, I also like your image! Well done.

    I have been without a TV and radio for the past several years. I even did away with a stereo. I also feel that I will find out about the important stuff from those around me. We have so many electronic gadgets pulling us away from living life, except through our handheld screens. Ever notice how people walk, and unfortunately drive, while focused on their phones. Almost makes my laugh and cry at the same time.

    Photography is a passion for me while making money with it does not matter. In fact it may hinder the passion for me. Finding one image that impacts one person will suffice for me. I agree with Richard about being in nature. And, isn’t this true for all art?

    Good post and good questions for all of us to ponder.

  18. Hi Monte, thank you for your participation. You must have wonderful peace and quiet with no stereo too. Probably the photography that will survive will be that done for the love of it. I imagine that photographing for the enjoyment of it, without pressure to generate income, could be quite freeing. Though, making a living from photography can be freeing in other ways.

  19. Greg Boyer says:

    Turned off the satellite service several months ago, selectively download NPR podcasts, scan the web for articles of science and good news and feel more in control of my life.
    Someday people will learn that “less is more”.

    Very good post.

  20. That really is it, isn’t it Greg? Less is more. We’ve been operating this society on more and more and more is more for way too long.

  21. Guy Tal says:

    Great post and wonderful image, David!
    As you know, I haven’t owned a TV in years. I do listen to NPR while driving and subscribe to breaking news via email (I think most news outlets have similar free services). I also live 60 miles from the nearest traffic light and have a star-filled sky with no light pollution over my head at night. All of it adds up to a much more peaceful existence and one more closely connected with the beauty around me.


  22. Hello Guy, thank you for your comment. I appreciate another glimpse of your night-filled sky, the view of which you give us, among other natural views, along with many other insights on your nature photo blog.

  23. Mark says:

    Nicely written post David. I have been intrigued by those who have ditched their televisions. I have not done that, and I know it is a time sucker. I just don’t think I have the ability to completely cut the cord. I am certainly watching less these days, so I suppose that is a start. I feel a need to stay connected to what is going on around the world outside my own neighborhood. I don’t even watch the local news, but still like to be filled in on what is going on in other countries, the ongoing energy situation you mention, and so many other things. I just like to be informed. I know there are other ways to do that, via the internet for example, which I also do, but then I am just trading one screen for another.

    That said, it is increasingly difficult to sort out what is factual and what is opinion in the news these days. So many stations seem to be drawn into making “thrill TV” vs. educational TV. Although watching these various media sources may satisfy a hunger for information, I do often question what ultimate benefit do they really provide? I look at others who simply have their minds set in a certain ideological path, and I know no matter what I know, or what someone tries to convince them of, they will always continue down that path.

    Human beings are on a self destruction path anyway, so I should probably get out and enjoy the trees more, enjoy the simpler principles of life while they last.

  24. Thank you, Mark for your contribution. “Trading one screen for the other,” is definitely a problem too. I seem to spend way more than half of my life in front of the computer screen. At least I can control the content and always find material I like and am interested in, rather than being programmed and manipulated 24/7. Unfortunately, your last sentence is true and may prove prophetic above all else.

  25. Great post and image David. My family and I ditched out cable service years ago and only use the “LCD” to watch programs we select ie. nature, educational, etc. It has been one of the best things I’ve done in terms of remaining more positive and using all the extra time to focus on my work, my health, and my family. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  26. Hi Robert, your point about time is a good one. I’m not sure exactly what the numbers are today, but I heard some years ago that the average American watches literally seven hours of TV a day. That seems incredible to me. How can anyone spare or waste that much time in a day?

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