Steve Jobs & What Genius Inspires

I cannot let the passing of an American who blossomed in my lifetime with such drama and originality go unmentioned here.

I am no part of the computer savvy community, don’t own a thing he made and never knew the man personally but I loved everything about him. Steve Jobs was the essence of American dreamer and doer, expanding like some wondrous and ever-changing bright new planet in our solar system. He made his own rules and made it work. Not just for him but the thousands he brought along for the ride from whom he also demanded the best, because he knew they had it in them. Nice work, Mr Jobs. Thank you for being here, for setting such high standards. That this man worked up until his last breath is not a vision of desperation. It is the personification of the unquenchable thrill of hard work on something he loved with all his being. I don’t see how he could do otherwise.

When I first saw DaVinci’s work I was a youngster intrigued by art. I still remember the hit, the gasping jolt his ink drawings produced in my very soul. And then I looked and looked and looked some more, and the thrill never has ended. At some point, still a child, I made words for myself out of the feeling I got from Leonardo Da Vinci, along these lines: Here is what a human being can do. This is the kind of work humans are capable of. I can reach this, too. I had a similar reaction to Rembrandt, whose stunning ability to portray life with deep emotion made me love him. What stands our heroes apart is that they are doing the most, the best they have got it in them to do. Steve Jobs is in that class.

It is nothing unattainable. It demands a willingness to risk everything, to stand by your own vision, to deny compromise. And be ready to die for any of it.

From what I’ve read, Steve Jobs was not devoted to his illness, but did what he had to so he could keep going. It was his work that drove him, the illness must have been incredibly annoying.

I believe that we have, among the really big choices, the opportunity to spend ourselves literally on what we love despite any hardship. And that is the best. Otherwise, reach for the nauseating countless modern examples of indulgences that just leave you wondering what those people are thinking with a lust for showy lives based on minor talent.

For most of his 56 years Steve Jobs made possible his doing what he loved to do. Michael Jackson did that for his adulthood. Countless others. Not all the world. The limitations produced by choosing to sacrifice what boils inside the human spirit are enormous. To exchange that for ease, for the illusion of job protection, for physical comfort, is choosing death.

The greatest legacy from the greatest among us is not that they lined up breadcrumbs through the forest to guide us to safety. There is no formula to follow. These are the ones who strode into the dark unknown, hearts on fire with the incredible impossibility of all they imagined; that they won and lost, that they hurt and laughed and loved. And most of all that they met the challenge of living a life fully. The legacy of genius well spent is simply this:  we have it in us, one and all, to do exactly the same if we but dare. Do it today. Do the impossible.


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