Friday, October 7, 2011
Steve Jobs; An Iconic Mystery
One of the first entries on this blog was about Steve Jobs. I reflected on how little value we place on our health until it is compromised. I went on to comment on Jobs' material wealth and offered the proposition that Jobs would no doubt spend much of his fortune in trade for a healthy body.
The blog was inspired by the speculation back in January that Jobs was indeed in failing health. During one of his rare public appearances he appeared gaunt and terribly ill. Last month when Jobs resigned his position as Apple CEO, at least for me, the death watch began.
Yesterday we learned that Steve Jobs had passed away. Despite the speculative death watch our sadness at his passing is not lessened. We grieve for a man whose creative life force was struck down at such a relatively young age.
It is to Jobs' credit the media is awash in praise of a creative genius and remarkable businessman. Movie stars and business leaders and politicians have all offered their condolences and words of admiration for Steve Jobs, technology icon.
Since I cannot identify with Jobs' wealth and fame I find I am more interested in the final refinement of the soul of Steve Jobs, being that I have very little in common in any other way.
Without the tiniest hint of jealousy or envy or critical human judgement I look at some of the known personal accounts of Jobs' personal life and feel some degree of commonality with Jobs' personal failures. In doing so I can only contrast my assessments of Jobs' actions with my own sense of morality. For example, in his biography, Steven Wozniak, Apple's co-founder, recounts a time in their youth when Steve Jobs recruited Wozniak to help him smooth out some hardware and software bumps in an Atari gaming program, a program Jobs was hired to complete. Unknown to Atari, Wozniak apparently did the lion's share of the work, the results of which were so remarkable that Atari paid Jobs a five thousand dollar bonus. Jobs pocketed the bonus and said nothing about it to his best friend. I find that abhorrent and bizarre. I don't believe I could have done that to my best friend.
An even more heinous denial was that of his daughter Lisa, born out of wedlock with Jobs' college girl friend. Even after Jobs had become wealthy and famous through Apple, Jobs continued to deny that he was the father, going as far as swearing in court documents that he was sterile and could not have possibly fathered the child. This cold denial left mother and child at the mercy of the welfare system and in dire poverty. While Jobs eventually did recognize Lisa as his child, reconciled with her and paid for her Harvard education I am perplexed by Jobs' cruel denial of his own child.
Who am I, or is anyone to judge the actions of someone else? Not me, certainly. I have reached an age, and perhaps a level of wisdom, that precludes judging the actions of others. Having failed myself on so many occasions, the hypocrisy of condemning others is absurd. Rather, I approach the effort to look at the refinement of Jobs' soul in the context of "curious spectator". In this sense I am more forgiving and far less judgemental than those who more willingly castigate a man for a moral failing. I tend to think about the ravages on the mind of a child who was abandoned and adopted by strangers. Did Steve have self-worth issues as a child? Did these leave a desire to hone the mind and pay less attention to the heart?
Though Jobs was careful to shield the public from his personal life it does seem apparent that Steve worked more diligently to weave heart and head into a more fruitful and satisfying balance in his later years. That makes me happy for it is in the autumn of one's life when, if one has not realized that love and family are paramount, all other possibilities for happiness are lost.
Steve Jobs brought, through his technological innovations, joy and happiness to millions. He put the majesty of music in a little box and thrilled all of us. He made phones that sped the image and voice of loved ones across the distant miles and swept away the loneliness of the lost and forgotten. In doing so he showed us the beauty of elegant functionality. We must all be grateful to him for that.
For Jobs himself, I hope he died peacefully and within the circle of love of family, and with a soul refined from the wisdom gained from a life of reflection and salvation; a salvation not granted from God, but from within his own soul.
Rest In Peace.