Big Picture Science – As You Were: Pico Iyer

by Gary Niederhoff on October 29, 2012


Part 5 of As You Were, featuring Pico Iyer, writer, author of The Man Within My Head and the New York Times article, “The Joy of Quiet”, on the prospect of reverting to life without constant connection to the internet.
(TRT 7:14)

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avatar Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) October 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Now perhaps I am just an overly sensitive gadget freak, but whenever I have met people of a like mind with Pico Iyer, it eventually comes out that they think those who like technology and would not want to go to an electronics-free monastery for a week are some how broken, pathetic creatures to either be patronizingly pitied or viewed with contempt.

There’s almost a religious sense to how they say you need to “get away from it all” in order to “make sense out of everything” – as if there is only one right way to view the world and orient yourself in it.

That family sitting down to dinner with their mobile phones? How much do you want to bet that 50 years ago they would have sat down and would have either finished in 20 minutes without talking or would have had their noses in a newspaper, book, magazine or comic book for the entire meal? Those mobile phones are the symptom, not the problem.

When I’m on the bus to work, does it really make me less sociable if the reason I am ignoring everybody is because I’m listening to a podcast or reading my social media feeds on my mobile phone than when I used to have book with me?

When I used the book as a tool to politely ignore the talkative stranger who sat next to me at the café or on the bus, they would just eventually just shut up and sulk. Nowadays when what I am readinging is my Google Reader feed on my phone and I use that as my tool to politely ignore the stranger trying to tell me his life story, somehow it becomes leave for them to rant how “technology is controlling my life” and how I’d “be much happier without it” or how I’m “the reason society is falling apart” and maybe I should try meditation to “clear my head” and see how “important true human contact” is.

They, at least, can choose to eliminate technology from intruding into their lives if that’s what makes feel better, but it seems that I’m not allowed to prevent them from intruding into my life.

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