I went to the hospital this morning with mum and saw the doctor as we normally do and then left mum to have her chemo and returned home to hear that Steve Jobs had died. I was shocked. It wasn’t a surprise, we knew he was sick with cancer and that at some point the inevitable end would come. Still, when it did come it was a shock. A moral shock; a shock to the system. I found myself unusually affected by it.
Steve Jobs of course has been much revered. It’s old hat these days to call him a visionary, but it’s a very apt description. He was a man of unusual imagination, belief, and clarity of vision. That he was a huge influence on western society is beyond dispute. He created his own world, his own perception of what was possible and then let us all in on the deal – for a cost. His ineffable belief in his own right and the innate charisma with which he sold that to the world meant that when the fork in the road came he carried us with down the road less commonly travelled. It led to a place of elegance and intelligence of design, of imagination, innovation, and determination to lead rather than follow. That’s his legacy, for ultimately all his rivals were obliged to follow where he led rather than be left behind. It changed the world, and Jobs himself was a one in a generation figure.
There is much to regret in his passing for those reasons alone. The rest of it is more human. I have read today tributes pour in from all quarters, from everyone on facebook and twitter and online. The loss of someone like Jobs makes us re-evaluate much we have previously accepted. His death is like a psychic shock to us all because his name and his legacy has permeated society so completely. Adding to it all is the frequentry idolatry he inspired, and zealotry of so many of his followers. If Apple was not quite a religion in many quarters it is near enough to being a cult – with Jobs at the heart of it with a Yoda like wisdom.
It’s all very easy for me and the likes of me to selfishly despair at what we lose with the death of Steve Jobs. Public and much revered figure that he is, the much greater loss is to his friends and family. Sad to see such a man leave: he made such a difference.