Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine a world without ITunes, IPhones, IPods, IPads, IPots, IPans, IPigs – somebody, stop me! Whew. Anyway, if you were one of the two people who in imagining such a world sighed deeply and thought it would be IPfree Paradise, you would have had your world had I been Steve Jobs’ mother, teacher, employee, friend or guru.
Had I been his mother, I would have grabbed him the minute he came within reach, and locked him in the bathroom until he came out smelling like a garden after a spring rain, so that he would have learned that cleanliness is as much about being cognizant of the sensibilities of others as it is about hygiene.
Had I been his teacher, I would have taught him that winning the race, or demonstrating a superior intellect is but momentary glory, as true fulfillment comes not by engendering envy and awe, but by earning respect.
Had I been his employee, I would have documented, notarized and tucked in a vault everything I ever produced for him or suggested to him, if necessary to be used in a court of law, to make him aware of the rights of others to their own ideas.
Had I been his friend, I would have asked him to step outside his ego, and use his keen powers of perception to see the world from another’s point of view, to tread lightly on the feelings of others, as vulnerability is our common bond.
Had I been his guru, I would have had him meditate on the thought that cruelty is the path to torment; peace comes only through an unconstricted heart, and that we are all chosen, each with our own part to play in the advancement of the human spirit.
The implication is that had Steve Jobs not been allowed to exercise his narcissism, he could not have created an empire that helped take communication a quantum leap forward.
And where would that have left us?
I don’t know, for me, with more questions than answers.
Could Steve Jobs have accomplished what he did without his narcissism? Were cruelty and remorselessness and irresponsibility and his distortion of reality vital to his success?
Was Steve Jobs the only person who could have taken technology to the point of providing trillions of megabytes of both helpful and inane information first to our homes, and then through our phones?
Does the fact that we have to play by his rules, use his Genius Bar, rely on Apple in order to find out what’s wrong with our I Anything, even as simple as needing a new battery in an IPod, mean that Steve Job’s is still exercising narcissistic control of us from his grave?
Was Steve Jobs a technological Messiah or a mere mortal?
Did that apple from which he ate fall from the same tree as Adam’s?