So much can and is being said about Steve Jobs. Creator, businessman, salesman, innovator, capitalist. He turned computing, music, telecommunications, publishing and media all on their heads.
The likes of him does not come from the death worshipping stone age cult infested cultures that rule Iran, Afghanistan (still), Iraq (now), Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. They don’t come from the conformist, respect authority for the sake of it, what is yours is everyone’s and what is everyone’s is yours, culture that rules China. They don’t come from the “it’s my right to have what you have”, “equality above everything”, “demonise success and wealth” culture of the trade union movements. They don’t come from the technology scaremongering, armageddon chasing, state violence worshipping, new age fascists and forked tongue demagogues of the environmental movement. They don’t come from the envy dripping, reality evasive, faux “pride” and control obsessed culture embodied by the European Union and its acolytes. They don’t come from the lawless, “might is right”, “the ends justify the means”, lying, hedonistic, crass culture of nihilism seen in Russia. They don’t come from the superstition laden, misogynistic, tribal, faux nationalistic culture of willful blindness to atrocity that infests sub-Saharan African politics.
When the news is dominated by politicians who blithely borrow, tax, spend and print money that they never earned, from wealth that has nothing to do with them, with bureaucrats and commentators, keen to tell others how to live, what to do, and to control the judgments, the passions and thoughts of others. When culture is flooded with mediocrities preaching nihilistic hedonism, and generating mass market pablum that resembles other mass market pablum. When business and marketing is so utterly full of those who worship surveys, cliches, short termism, image over substance and platitudes over invention. Steve Jobs was a breath of fresh air. When he would launch something new, people would watch, because it WAS new - it WAS innovative, and it wasn't because he was looking after the "greater good", it was because he wanted Apple to sell something people would want because it was great. It so happened that millions agreed. Firms worldwide would love a Steve Jobs. A manager, who understands the detail of the products, but also design and what people would want. However, such people wont come from production line education systems or cultures of conformity or aversion to risk.
They come from a culture where individuals can be themselves, where diverse pursuits that many may seem odd, most don’t understand, can provide fertile grounds for minds, imagination, creativity and risk taking. Where those who do take risks to produce, create and sell can keep (most) of the fruits of their endeavours, and bear the consequences when they get it wrong. Where success is lauded and admired, because people see in those who climb to the top, a piece of them, of what it is to be great, to live life pursuing your dreams, your ambitions, your ideas and your passions. They aren’t there to grab their share, to chop down the tall poppy, or to demand that people exist and work for a “greater good”, for the greater good is in all individuals pursuing their dreams, and in free people interacting, sharing, relating and standing on the shoulders of the giants who make their lives that much better.
In a world where so many are obsessed with intricacies of trivia of nobodies, where so many are obsessed with what others think of them, where so many are out to force others to give them what they haven’t earned or created, and demand rights to the fruits of the minds and labour of others, Steve Jobs was none of that.
He wasn’t the nihilist who saw humanity as a problem, he wasn’t the second-hander who claimed what others had done for his own, he wasn’t living for the sake of other people, was not seeking to control the lives of others, to tell them what to do, or to tell people how to be. He was himself, he led companies that created what he thought were good products, and let them speak for themselves.
He was a man who lived his life for his own purposes, for his own dreams, and was a stunning success. The pecuniary reward he got was a tiny fraction of what he generated for Apple shareholders, Apple employees, sub-contractors and Apple customers, and indeed its competitors who have aped him, and now generate further wealth and happiness for millions.
The legacy of what he did for Apple, what he created for millions, pales in comparison to the example he created for the most fundamental thing of all – he lived.