The sender of the essay “Why we need to slow down our lives” is travel writer Pico Iyer. The writer was born in the UK but lived the first part of his life in the US. In the 1990s, he moved to Japan where he still lives. These aspects are also mentioned in the essay: “As I travel the world, one of the greatest surprises…” (ll. 60-61); “When I left New York City for the backstreets of Japan…” (ll. 278-279). These references make the essay more personal and show readers that Iyer has had experience with living in different cultures.
The author’s authority is also strengthened by references to his literary works, “the Dalai Lama book” (ll. 52-53) and “The Art of Stillness” (l. 22) which are about the topic he discusses in the essay. Furthermore, by mentioning that he was invited at Google to present his book, Iyer suggests that his work is valued by important people, making him more credible: “One day I visited Google’s headquarters to give a talk on the Dalai Lama book I’d completed…” (ll. 51-53). This is also suggested by the fact that he was invited to speak “on a radio program” (ll. 243-244).
Direct citations of famous authors, poets, and contemporary figures help suggest that Iyer is educated and has researched the topic he is discussing: “ ‘All the unhappiness of men,’ the seventeenth-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously noted, arises from one simple fact…” (ll. 4-8); “ ‘Some keep the Sabbath going to Church – ’ Emily Dickinson wrote. ‘I keep it, staying at Home.’ ” (ll. 309-312).
When the writer expresses his opinions directly, he comes across as a person who supports meditation as a private practice which should be focused on inner peace instead of increased overall productivity: “To me, the point of sitting still is that it helps you see through the very idea of pushing forward…” (ll. 179-181). Although he admits the other benefits of meditation, he is critical of people who only use it as a way to be more productive: “But there’s no questioning the need for clarity and focus, especially when the stakes are highest.” (ll. 193-195); “…the people who seem wisest about the necessity of placing limits on the newest technologies are, often, precisely the ones who helped develop those technologies…” (ll. 62-66).
The writer suggests t...