TV and choices
From: Robert P. Arjet (rarjetLearnLink.Emory.Edu)
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 11:33:02 -0700 (MST)
cohousing-l [at] writes:
>TV and cars don't cause a drop in social interaction.
>People's choices do.  If people were really committed to
>community involvement, TV wouldn't draw them away, nor would
>any of the activities that cars could take them to.
>As long as we look outside ourselves for culprits, we miss the
>point.  People who really want to be in community act that way
>no matter what distractions are available.

Hmmm.  I've stayed out of this thread because I really don't want to
encourage a debate about TV, but I think this post does set it explicitly
in a cohousing context.  While I'm certainly not a proponent of
predestination or pre-determination of any other sort, I think it is
important to recognize the effects that non-personal influences have on
people's choices, their ability to make choices, even the field of
possible choices that they believe to be open to them. 

If we could simply rely on people who wanted to be in community to behave
in pro-community ways, then there'd be no need for cohousing as we know
it.  Clustered parking, pedestrian walkways, semi-public space, all the
structural and design components of cohousing are built in the belief that
people's best intentions notwithstanding, the choices that people make are
profoundly influenced by their surroundings.  

Cohousers, architects, sociologists, psychologists etc.  generally agree
that our physical surroundings can have a profound influence on our
choices.  I see no reason why TV wouldn't be potentially as influential as
porches, playscapes, or any of the other things that we deliberately build
into cohousing because of the effect that we believe they will have on our

This is NOT an entry in the "is TV good or evil" debate, but merely a
suggestion that TV's are not a trivial concern. 

Robert Arjet
Central Austin Cohousing 

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