Perspectives: Is ample TV streaming services and unlimited music making us happy?

GONE SOFT: Getting off the lounge is difficult these days.

GONE SOFT: Getting off the lounge is difficult these days.

THIS week I was interviewing Caleb Karvountzis from indie-rock band Tiny Little Houses when the conversation took a deeper twist.

Usually these interviews are littered with cliche chat about influences and this album "being my best ever."

But instead Karvountzis was explaining his belief that as a society we've become too comfortable. Everywhere we go there's a cheap and fast hit of our preferred fix, he said, whether be it sugar, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, sex or entertainment.

For him, suffering is the path to salvation. It's a belief system based on Karvountzis' Christian faith, but it's also practiced by other religions such as Buddhism.

So in response he took up a regiment of cold showers, fasting during the day and excluding all TV and social media.

Personally, I don't agree with the dogmatic view of suffering leading to salvation.

When we run out of hot water in my house, the only person needing salvation is the guilty party who had a 15-minute shower.

And ever since COVID forced me to work from home I'm lucky to fast for two hours during the day before the fully-stocked fridge and pantry beckons.

But Karvountzis' perspective got me thinking. Is an over abundance of creature comforts and choices negatively impacting my life?

Take TV streaming, for example. At the moment I subscribe to Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Optus Sport and Paramount+, but I still find myself endlessly scrolling through the various apps and debating with family members about what to watch.

Streaming has made accessing an infinite amount of content available at the click of our remotes, but has it destroyed the romanticism of the search? The thrill of the chase?


Do you remember video shops? On a quiet night you'd head to your local Video Ezy or Blockbuster and peruse the shelves.

There would be the disappointment when you'd look behind a new release cover only to find the cassette was already taken. But how sweet it was when you finally snared that last copy of Jurassic Park.

Music is the same. Streaming services like Spotify mean your music collection is literally endless. As Roy Orbison sang, anything you want, you've got it.

But again, the romance is gone. I remember fondly as a teenager in the '90s mowing lawns and washing cars to earn pocket money to spend $30 on Pearl Jam's Yield.

You'd flog that CD over and over again and memorise every detail in the booklet. It meant something because it had value. Unfortunately for artists streaming makes music disposable. It's harder to become emotionally invested when millions of songs are a click away.

So what's the solution? I could restrict myself to just playing DVDs and CDs.

However, that would mean getting out of my recliner and actually inserting the disc into the machine. Maybe I'll just see what's happening on Netflix first.

This story Are modern choices making life too comfortable? first appeared on Newcastle Herald.