Saturday, August 15, 2009

Did I mention this before?

There is no time. Really, it's not even nearly enough. Every so often, there are drastic reminders of this fact. Here is one I thought I'd share. The newspaper La Nación had an article the other day which stated that, among other things, the average person watches 1500 hours of TV a year.

One thousand five hundred hours in front of the TV.

Think about it. The average work month has about 173 work hours. Therefore, 1500 hours of TV represent 8.63 work months watching television. That's nuts. I don't care how great those TV programs are. There is no way I am spending 8.63 work months watching stuff designed (for the most part) to mess with my emotions, to prevent me from thinking, and to desensitize me so that I only care about myself. Why would I want to subject myself to that kind of abuse?

Finally, suppose that you can write a book page every 4 hours. With practice, it's possible to go much faster than that. But, nevertheless, assume just one page every 4 hours. Where are the books? Or, where are the new ideas we should be able to figure out if, all of a sudden, we had 8.63 work months' worth of time at our disposal every year?

So, I challenge you: watch zero TV for 6 months. And I mean absolutely nothing, without cheating on the web. After that time, I further challenge you to watch the typical TV programs again without feeling disgusted and nauseated. You won't be able to tell what planet they are broadcasting from.

And then... do you have goals you haven't accomplished because you "don't have time"? Well, what are you going to do about those goals once you do have the time? I don't know about you, but I will not get to my death bed, think back and realize I had more than a part time job watching TV for decades when I could have, I should have, I ought to have...

Needless to say, I am beginning the second volume of the Fundamentals book right now. Also, where's that sax?...

Update: in fact, the first ever draft of the second Fundamentals volume is 20 pages. It's all empty sections and things right now. Soon, that will change...

6 comments:

Simon Michael said...

There's a lot to what you say. It's inspiring to see how you've delivered that book, one page at a time. Congrats!

Andrés said...

Thank you :).

Anonymous said...

I admire your tremendous discipline and work ethic, devoting yourself so fully to writing and developing software, rather than watching TV. What I've found though is that most people watch TV in order to avoid doing anything else. It takes very little energy to watch TV, much less than writing a book---or even reading a book.

One need not even do anything creative in order to get things done. For example, most people do not organize their papers, possessions, and memorabilia very well. They could live much more effective and freer lives if they simply put their belongings in better order , but they do not. THey would rather watch TV, and not think about making any further effort.

Andrés said...

Anonymous, thank you for the kind words. I totally agree with your comments about TV and possessions :).

Andres.

gulik said...

1500 hours per year? Somebody must be watching my 4.1 hours per day! I don't have a TV. I don't have time :-).

I have to agree with feeling nauseated and disgusted with television if you haven't rotted your brain into submission first. I recently tried watching an episode of Star Trek Enterprise. 10 minutes in, it abruptly stops and goes to advertisements! 10 minutes later, I get another 10 minutes of ads! WTF!!! It was unbearable. I'm accustomed to DVDs which, thankfully, don't have advertising, and I think I'll stick with them from now on.

Working on a project is much more rewarding than blobbing in front of the idiot box. After spending a few hours watching TV, I always feel bad; it was wasted time. After spending time working on SecureSqueak, I feel really good - I (usually) made progress and have added a bit more value to the world.

Be thankful I'm not world dictator yet. I'd shut down the TV stations and make people take up worthwhile hobbies.

Andrés said...

Gulik,

> 1500 hours per year? Somebody must be watching my 4.1 hours per day! I don't have a TV. I don't have time :-).

Exactly :).

> I have to agree with feeling nauseated and disgusted with television if you haven't rotted your brain into submission first. I recently tried watching an episode of Star Trek Enterprise. 10 minutes in, it abruptly stops and goes to advertisements! 10 minutes later, I get another 10 minutes of ads! WTF!!! It was unbearable. I'm accustomed to DVDs which, thankfully, don't have advertising, and I think I'll stick with them from now on.

Ahh, that too. The ads themselves are terrible. I was referring more to news shows and other "informative" programs. The claims they make, the statements they proclaim with straight face are just amazingly obscene --- as long as you're not used to hearing them in your head all the time.

> Working on a project is much more rewarding than blobbing in front of the idiot box. After spending a few hours watching TV, I always feel bad; it was wasted time. After spending time working on SecureSqueak, I feel really good - I (usually) made progress and have added a bit more value to the world.

I totally agree.

> Be thankful I'm not world dictator yet. I'd shut down the TV stations and make people take up worthwhile hobbies.

Oh yeah, that's exactly right!