The child's entire life is influenced by his ability to listen. Good listening habits make it possible for him to broaden his knowledge, enjoy music, conversation, storytelling, drama; discriminating listening makes it possible for him to select radio and television programs for enjoyment. Critical listening helps him function intelligently in selection of governmental leaders. It is quite possible that the ability to listen effectively may be one of the most valuable tools he can use in his efforts to bring understanding and peace to the world.
Thoughts are indestructible, as real as radio and television waves, as powerful as life, and they are never lost. While it is true that thoughts may come unbidden, you can cast out thoughts that are harmful and substitute good thoughts instead.
There is one type of feeling which is above all important to foster in childhood. Children have naturally an abundant faculty for wonder and reverence. There are so many books, so many radio and television hours, so many encyclopedias and, alas, so many teachers whose aim is to import knowledge quickly and easily without any element of that faculty which the Greeks said was the beginning of philosophy – Wonder. It is strange that an age which has discovered so many marvels in the universe should be so conspicuously lacking in the sense of wonder.
Modern man seems to be afraid of silence. We are conditioned by radio and television on which every minute must be filled with talking, or some kind of sound. We are stimulated by the American philosophy of keeping on the move all the time - busy, busy, busy. This tends to make us shallow. A person's life can be deepened tremendously by periods of silence, used in the constructive ways of meditation and prayer. Great personalities have spent much time in the silence of life.
Ours has been called the jet age, the atomic age, the space age. It is also, I submit, the television age. And just as history will decide whether the leaders of today’s world employed the atom to destroy the world or rebuild it for mankind’s benefit, so will history decide whether today’s broadcasters employed their powerful voice to enrich the people or debase them.
There’s something missing in the sanitized life we lead. Something that our leaders in Washington can never supply by simple edict, something that the commercials on television never advertise because nobody’s yet found a way to bottle it or box it or can it. What’s missing is the touch, the warmth, the meaning of life.
I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to se beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television - of that I am quite sure.
I believe that, for the rest of the world, contemporary America is an almost symbolic concentration of all the best and the worst of our civilization. On the one hand, there are its profound commitment to enhancing civil liberty and to maintaining the strength of its democratic institutions, and the fantastic developments in science and technology which have contributed so much to our well-being; on the other, there is the blind worship of perpetual economic growth and consumption, regardless of their destructive impact on the environment, or how subject they are to the dictates of materialism and consumerism, or how they, through the omnipresence of television and advertising, promote uniformity, and banality instead of a respect for human uniqueness.
The dependence upon corporate advertising of the mass media – newspapers, magazines, radio and television – makes them editorially subservient, without in any way being prompted, to points of view known or thought to be favored by the big property owners… The willing subservience shows itself most generally, apart from specific acts of omission or commission, in an easy blandness on the part of the mass media toward serious social problems.
One hundred years after its invention, film art still occupies a marginal place in academic circles. The very activity of watching television is routinely dismissed as inherently inferior to the activity of reading, regardless of content. But narrative beauty is independent of medium. Oral tales, pictorial stories, plays, novels, movies, and television shows can all range from the lame and sensationalist to the heartbreaking and illuminating. We need every available form of expression and all the new ones we can muster to help us understand who we are and what we are doing.
We are on the brink of a historic convergence as novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers move toward multiform stories and digital formats; computer scientists move toward the creation of fictional worlds; and the audience moves toward the virtual stage. How can we tell what is coming next? Judging from the current landscape, we can expect a continued loosening of the traditional boundaries between games and stories, between films and rides, between broadcast media (like television and radio) and archival media (like books or videotape, between narrative forms (like books) and dramatic forms (like theater or film), and even between the audience and the author. To understand the new genres and the narrative pleasures that will arise from this heady mixture, we must look beyond the formats imposed upon the computer by the older media it is so rapidly assimilating and identify those properties native to the machine itself.
Freedom is not an ideal it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than freedom to stagnate, to live without dreams, to have no greater aim than a second car and another television set - and this in a world where half our fellow man have less than enough to eat.
We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.
The young watch television twenty-four hours a day, they don't read and they rarely listen. This incessant bombardment of images has developed a hypertrophied eye condition that's turning them into a race of mutants. They should pass a law for a total reeducation of the young, making children visit the Galleria Borgese on a daily basis.