Video from our Live Talks Los Angeles event with Pico Iyer in conversation with Lisa Napoli -- The Joy of Quiet: Desperate to Unplug (or coping with the age of always-on). Event was held May 17th at The Fowler Museum at UCLA.
A lively discussion about the impact of the modern era of connectedness on our ability to think, create, and participate in the world. TV-free resorts. Internet addiction camps. Yoga retreats that promise restoration from our busy lives. In this busy, always-on age, more of us are eager than ever to find ways to disconnect. This winter, Pico Iyer (who has yet to own a cell phone) extolled the virtues of peace and quiet. In the NY Times, he wrote:
“In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.”
Pico Iyer was born in Oxford, England, to parents from India, and educated at Eton, Oxford and Harvard, while officially growing up in Southern California. He is the author of eight works of non-fiction, including Video Night in Kathmandu (cited on many lists of the best travel books ever), The Lady and the Monk (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the category of Current Interest) and The Global Soul (subject of websites and theatrical productions around the world). He has also written the novels Cuba and the Night and Abandon.
For a quarter of a century, he has been an essayist for Time magazine, while also writing constantly on literature for The New York Review of Books, on globalism for Harper’s, and on many other topics for venues from The New York Times to National Geographic. His 2008 book, The Open Road, describing more than 30 years of talking and traveling with the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, came out in a dozen countries. His most recent book, on Graham Greene, hauntedness and fathers—The Man Within My Head—came out earlier this year.
Lisa Napoli is a journalist and author. She was as reporter and back-up host for public radio show Marketplace. She covered the Internet revolution and the cultural impact of technology as a columnist and staff reporter for the New York Times’ CyberTimes, and as a correspondent for MSNBC. In her 25 year career in media, she has also worked for CNN. She is author of RADIO SHANGRI-LA: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth. Presently, she is the local host of NPR’s All Things Considered on KCRW. Visit her website.