I am entirely and personally “affected” and shaken by the death of Steven Jobs. I am unable to sleep and have been for several hours. Steve Jobs has enriched us all beyond the abilities of our imagination to even contemplate. He was a hero in truest sense. He tapped into the transcendent “other” and brought treasures from beyond to earth. He has birthed innumerable jobs and changed the landscape of society, even of the entire world. Almost an entire field of human endeavor owes its existence to him. And we are talking about no ordinary endeavor. Not merely ubiquitous in a neutral sense, personal computing affects us in a positive sense. It facilitates, enables, enhances, expedites, enriches and permeates almost everything mankind now does while continuing to open new doors such as the internet and social media. The decentralizing and politically empowering effects of which are yet to be seen. As Gary North puts it: “The gatekeepers are still in place but the walls are down.”
The passing on Steven Jobs is truly a momentous event. Though not entirely unexpected, the news came with sudden finality. The death of Steve Jobs leaves us all poorer because it ends his almost unparalleled contribution to mankind. He walked among us as a quirky bespectacled hipster geek but his legacy is in the Pantheon along with such history changing luminaries as Copernicus, Wittenberg, Newton, Alexander Graham Bell, Nikolai Tesla, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford.
Too me his death is right up there with the death of John Lennon for it personal impact. Lennon, for better or worse, was a visionary who spoke to a generation at a time of great upheaval. I will always remember watching the Miami Dolphins playing the New England Patriots http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n73GFvAyIjs
Both the death of Lennon and the death of Jobs involve more than just an “ordinary” great loss. Please indulge me for a brief moment in a bit of sacrilege. Do not get offended at me as if I seem to be winking at great human tragedy. I assure you I am not. I am laboring to draw a distinction as to the TYPE OF LOSS the passing of Steve Jobs represents opposed to the QUANTITY OF LOSS other events represent. OK? On with the blasphemy then, eh?
As bad as 911 was, as bad as the tsunamis of 2004 was, as bad as the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 was, these involve ORDINARY DEATH and destruction of property. Steve Jobs was an individual who simply and profoundly changed human history entirely for the good.
First he revolutionized personal computing and brought it to the masses. Then he changed the way we store/record/enjoy/share and relate to music. And then he recognized the embryonic germ of a useful tool in Blackberry type devices and took the idea beyond the stratosphere by aggregation (combining camera, video camera, music player, audio recorder, messaging, GPS device, PDA, timepiece, laptop, phone etc.), by refinement and by popularizing another innovative interface in the touch screen. He then took everything to the N’th degree and added the wonderful innovative idea of “apps” bringing to the everyday man a wonder device that exceeds anything that the wildest imagination the writers of James Bond or sci-fi writers ever dreamed of when he unleashed the first smartphone upon a world that has been shell-shocked ever since. Nothing James Bond ever had as recently as 2006 in “Casino Royale” even approached what the fertile vision and imagination had in mind when he unleashed the first iPhone months later. In the next James Bond film “Quantum of Solace”, the writers didn’t even try to muster up a Bond “wonder gadget” which has been a staple item for Bond films ever since their inception. For the first time the writers were forced to sheepishly nod a tip of the hat to the modern smartphone showing Agent 007 with nothing more than a mostly ordinary Erickson model which had much less power and capability than the off-the-shelf iPhone of that period.
I have been somewhat verbose and risked accusation of blasphemy or sacrilege in my efforts to communicate fully Steven Jobs’ contribution. Legacy alone is one thing being merely the record, the focus or amplification of fame upon succeeding generations but “visionary”, “momentous”, “impactful”, “revolutionary”, “extraordinary”, “innovative”… these words only approach describing the “aftermath” of the life of Steve jobs. I would have to exhaust the lexicon of all positive adjectives and adverbs to do that and even then, I would fail.
R.I.P. Steven Jobs….
Graham C. Dugas III
Hilton Head, S.C.
PS. It would be an unforgivable injustice if I wrote all this and omitted any mention the “Other Steve”… none other than Mister Wozniak. He too was a visionary and untethered [to conventional thinking] radical of almost equal degree in the development and marrying of personal computing with the previously unrecognized and unfulfilled potential of the “graphic user interface” (GUI). This was truly earth-shattering. Call it fate or providence, the “Two Steves” were brought together and “synergized” for a season of time than can only be described as “magical”. (Though certainly a visionary, Bill Gates is more “evolutionary” and of a secondary, dare I say lesser, order.)
PPS. There may still be another person living among us now who, I believe, is a visionary of the Jobs/Wozniak “pantheonistic” order. His name is Pranav Mistry. You can learn about his radical vision for the future here: http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsense_technology.html Where this could lead us is beyond imagination right now. It is almost telepathic. In fact, we could call it “virtual telepathy”.