Friday, October 7, 2011

"Death is very likely the single best invention of Life" - Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Woke up this morning to news of Steve Jobs' death. Everybody is alternately saying 'OH EMM GEE STEVE WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU' or going 'SHUT UP ABOUT STEVE, IT'S NOT LIKE YOU PEOPLE EVEN CARED MUCH ABOUT HIM WHEN HE WAS ALIVE', but I'd still like to chuck in my 2 sen worth and say that, while I may not have really bothered with him while he was alive, I still think that we've lost someone truly visionary. I mean, when everybody else thought that the computer was something purely utilitarian and corporate, Steve Jobs made it elegant and personal. He found that middle road between function and aesthetics and made magic; he took technology and made it art. If I were to describe the design of his products, the word shibumi comes to mind - the Japanese word for the concept of simple, unobtrusive beauty (rediscovered an old classic by the same name but that's a tale for another day). His presentation of said technology, however, was always pure American showmanship (who can forget his manila-envelope-Macbook Air-stunt?).

Steve the philosopher made people seriously reassess their lives, especially when he gave that famous commencement address at Stanford's 2005 graduation ceremony. Telling them (and us!) "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." made a lot of people sit up and look inward. I bet it made you, too. How many times do we do what we're expected to? That job you took because everybody said it's good, the girlfriend you married because your mother approved of her, the children you produced because corporate culture in your workplace dictated that having children equals better chances at a promotion... the list goes on. We could all sit down and discuss what made Steve Jobs STEVE JOBS; it could be the psychedelic drugs, or the ashrams he lived in after he dropped out of college; it could be the calligraphy classes he took that opened his eyes to the clean lines of beauty that would feature in his Apple products; it could be the soaring heights and deep lows that he traversed throughout his short life that made him the person he was. We could discuss the hows and whys, but isn't it much better to learn from him and take his words to heart?

So, Mr. Jobs? Thank you. For everything.

Oh, and one more thing?

We'll miss you.