Essayist, novelist, and world adventurer Pico Iyer has made a point of living quite blissfully without a smart phone or tablet, though he does use email on his late-model laptop.
Iyer will address his doubts about technology at an upcoming presentation titled, “Weapons of Mass Distraction: Keeping our Sanity and Balance in a High-Speed, Displacing World,” set for Thursday, May 15, at UC San Diego.
Free and open to the public, the presentation starts at 7 pm, in the UC San Diego Price Center East Ballroom. Iyer’s talk is presented by UC San Diego Extension, as part of the Helen Edison Lecture Series.
Peter Gourevitch, founding dean of the UC San Diego School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and distinguished professor emeritus of political science, will serve as moderator.
“It’s not that I have anything against technology,” Iyer said in a recent interview. “It’s more that I don’t trust myself with it. I find that being free of all that is kind of a luxury. My life, and my head, seem much less cluttered.”
Iyer likes to refer to himself as “a global village on two legs,” having lived a peripatetic whirl since his childhood.
Born in England to Indian parents, Iyer, 57, spent his formative years in Berkeley, where his father was a professor at UC Berkeley. Educated at Oxford and Harvard, he became an accomplished journalist and has long been a frequent contributor to TIME, Harper’s, The New York Times and many of the world’s leading publications.
“By the time I was 9 years ago, I was going back and forth over the North Pole six times a year by myself,” he said. “So in some ways, I’ve never stopped traveling. Travel became my second home, the place where I feel really comfortable.”
More than 40 years of travel across five continents has forged his prolific writing, which includes ten books that detail his experiences in places as diverse as Cuba, North Korea, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Nepal, Argentina and Easter Island, to name just a handful.
Iyer divides his time between Santa Barbara (“that’s home, where I pay my taxes”) and rural Japan, admitting he’s “ever grateful” for the convenience of jet travel.
“What I’ve learned in my travels is how little we know,” he added. “Yet I’ve always found that travel is the best way to be reminded of that.”
Pico Iyer: “Weapons of Mass Distraction: Keeping our Sanity and Balance in a High-Speed, Displacing World”
Thursday, May 15, 7 pm
UC San Diego, Price Center East Ballroom
Presented by UC San Diego Extension, as part of the Helen Edison Lecture Series.