PLEDGE NOW
Pico Iyer On Unplugging

Originally aired January 17, 2012. Listen to the original broadcast.

Enough with the “always on” digital world. Pico Iyer is unplugging. He’s with us.

Author Pico Iyer. (AP)

Author Pico Iyer. (AP)

We text, we tweet, we carry cell phones like they’re life lines. We check our e-mails, our Facebook pages, our online status six different ways.  And then we start again.  We’ve known for a while now that the digital world – great as it is – could be addictive.  Overwhelming.  An obsession.  A leash.  A prison.

Some people are breaking out.  Letting go.  Staying off.  Travel writer Pico Iyer is one.  He moved cell-phone-free to the boondocks of Japan for a reason.  Better to go slow, go quietly, go off the digital grid.

This hour On Point:  Pico Iyer, and walking away from the “always on” digital world.

–Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Pico Iyer, essayist and novelist who wrote the New York Times op-ed “The Joy Of Quiet.” His most recent book is “The Man Within My Head.”

Mizuko Ito, research director for the Digital Media and Learning Hub and professor of anthropology and informatics at the University of California Humanities Research Institute. (@mizuko)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: The Joy Of Quiet — “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. ”

Los Angeles Times: The Writing Life: The Point Of The Long And Winding Sentence — “‘Your sentences are so long,’ said a friend who teaches English at a local college, and I could tell she didn’t quite mean it as a compliment. The copy editor who painstakingly went through my most recent book often put yellow dashes on-screen around my multiplying clauses, to ask if I didn’t want to break up my sentences or put less material in every one.”

Salon: No More Vacation: How Technology Is Stealing Our Lives — “Friday before the 4th of July, my friend Sara and I walked to the local pool, talking about work stress, anxiety, difficulty relaxing. We were both struck by how lately, after 15 years of full-time work, we were so unreasonably tired. Why now, we wondered, when we have more experience and self-assurance, when we are amply compensated for our labor at comparatively cushy white-collar jobs, do we feel more spent than when we were strapped entry-level drones, running our tails off to please insatiable bosses?”

Playlist

  • “Follow Me (Twitter Song)” by Sean Kingston featuring Sean Paul
  • “Mountain Valley (San’ya)” by Takeo Izumi
Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 3, 2015
Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote for the upcoming referendum in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Greece's European creditors were assessing a last-minute proposal Athens made for a new two-year rescue deal, submitted just hours before the country's international bailout program expires and it loses access to billions of euros in funds. (AP)

Overtime pay. Diplomatic ties with Cuba. Greece defaults. Iran deadline missed. Chris Christie jumps in. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Jul 3, 2015
Harmonica master Howard Levy, in a photo dated February 2012. (Courtesy the Artist)

Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy tears it up with us. From Bach to the blues.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 2, 2015
In this file photo, Judy Blume attends LA Times Festival of Books, Saturday, April. 21, 2012, at the USC Campus in Los Angeles.  (AP)

Beloved children’s author Judy Blume is writing for adults again – on disaster. Judy Blume joins us.

 
Jul 2, 2015
This file image taken from a militant website associated with Islamic State extremists, posted Saturday, May 23, 2015, purports to show a suicide bomber, with the Arabic bar below reading: "Urgent: The heroic martyr Abu Amer al-Najdi, the attacker of the (Shiite) temple in Qatif", which the Islamic State group's radio station claimed responsibility for.  (AP)

A big, provocative look at the sophisticated online efforts of ISIS to recruit and lure Westerners to their cause.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Election 2016: Who Exactly Is Running For President?
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Who is running for President, anyway? We attempt to help you figure it out.

More »
8 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: June 19, 2015
Friday, Jun 19, 2015

Why our broadcast changed in different markets this week, and a closer look at a puppet theatre vandalism in rural Norway. (Really).

More »
Comment
 
Quick Note On Rebroadcasting Today
Thursday, Jun 18, 2015

A quick note regarding today’s shifting schedule of broadcasts.

More »
2 Comments