Thursday, October 06, 2011
That was one reason why we had an informal rule in my family that when I went into the Apple Store to "browse," it had to be without my wallet or with adult supervision. The very long arm of the Apple founder's influence on society can be seen in everything from me typing this post on a MacBook to the fact that iPods, iPhones, and iPads have achieved a kind of ubiquity that's fundamentally altered our collective conception of technology's role in our lives, and what it's capable of achieving.
With all the testimonials that have hit the media since Jobs' passing last night, with more sure to come in the days and weeks ahead, there's not much for me to say beyond the sadness that, at 56, he still had many years of creativity ahead of him, and the sobering realization that even with all the ingenuity and money at his disposal, cancer was an obstacle even he couldn't overcome. I'm also reminded of an essay I wrote for Geek Wisdom in reference to a quote by late author Isaac Asimov, which seemed applicable enough to post in its entirety below:
“If my doctor told me I had only six months to live, I would't brood. I'd type a little faster." — Isaac Asimov
That Asimov meant what he said is plain to see in the immense library of knowledge and wisdom he imparted to us during his extraordinary lifetime – a library we’ll likely continue to benefit from for time immemorial. But you don’t have to be Isaac Asimov to see the broader point he was making. From the moment we’re born, the clock begins to tick down, daring us to accomplish all that we need to accomplish before that last grain of sand drops through the hourglass. Whether, per Asimov’s hypothetical, we know how much time we have left or not, the knowledge that we’re engaged in a race we’ve been engineered to lose can become reason for despair or a clarion call to action. For anyone who’s ever been driven by the creative impulse – by the all-encompassing need to take what’s inside and put it out there – Asimov’s words don’t merely ring true, they carry the weight of gospel.I think the above just as easily applies if we sub out "Jobs" for "Asimov." His life -- and death -- serve as a stark reminder for all of just how fleeting a thing life is, and how important it is to make what moments we have matter.