It was an odd thing to find out Steve Jobs had died this morning. Only a day after Apple launch its new products and only a few months after he stepped down as chief executive of the company, I’m not sure anyone suspected he was quite so close to the end of his life. Hours after it had happened the world seems to have commented on this man’s life. His innovation and design concepts have changed the western world dramatically, without him there would be no Pixar, the future of CGI animation and a huge array of entertainment and design concepts. He created the ‘i’ moniker which, along with the already used Apple logo, is now a globally recognised brand, and intact a term of speak. More than that, he seemed to be so friendly when at the Apple presentation. Here, it felt, was a big business CEO who we could relate to. An actual person who thought of people’s actual lives and so suddenly Apple become a company that was somehow cool, and yet useful. Even the iPad which really isn’t useful, somehow seems useful and incredibly needed. Nothing less than genius.
Yet, and I mean this in no way as an inflection on someone who I admired, I find something interesting about how a man who is essentially the head of a business illicits such a world wide level of grief. Don’t get me wrong, Jobs was also an innovater, a designer and a visionary. But this doesn’t stop then main priority of his work being to run a business, a business who’s supplies were luxury. A lot of people still can’t afford Apple products, and if you can then chances are you have some money (except for me. I got burgled. Thanks insurance!), and so the world is revering a man who catered for the wealthy. I am being over the top, I do understand, but if you look at the people that get this level of remembrance in life now its either celebrities or people who have in some way made developments in a field that is affordable only by some. And its not necessarily a bad thing by any means it just shows how the world now works.
No longer are we as bothered by those who search for galaxies beyond our own, or those who search for cures for diseases. If Ralph Steinman hadn’t won the Nobel prize posthumously do you think anyone in the general public would know who he is? Does anyone know who he is now? As I said before, its not that Steve Jobs doesn’t deserve such accreditation, but more that its interesting where our importance of individuals lie. In the 20th century we’ve seen such oddities as the death of Diana being widespread across the world while Mother Theresa, who died at the same time, was largely ignored. Yet on the scale of things Mother Theresa had helped thousands more people than Diana did but she didn’t help sell papers with her love life scandals anywhere near as much so it didn’t matter. I’m not slandering the fact that Diana did help people, its just odd that again the priorities lie slightly askew.
I’m probably being a tad idealist but I’d very much like to see the world learn to revere those people that also change lives as much as those that do it in the public eye. Is saving lives on a par with putting people’s entire record collection onto a tiny machine? Is it even comparable? I am completely paying devil’s advocate here of course. If anything, I suppose Steve Jobs widened that public eye, and widened the ability to research and develop these other areas and provided better avenues for people to discover other ground breaking people’s lives and for that, amongst many other things, I applaud his life.
I think it just means now we really are humans 2.0, iHumans if you will and the field of discovery has been changed to that of the cyberworld rather than the real world. Technological improvements are based on the individual, rather than the masses. Its now about personal health improvements, personal entertainment, and additions to a single person’s life to make it better. We are becoming an enclosed society and Steve Jobs successfully made that a nicer and more convenient place to be. Whether its the right place or not, I don’t know. I’m just an idiot who didn’t know who Ralph Steinman was until he was in the news. I just think its amazing that the world is currently in a mess due to people in Steve Jobs position in businesses all over the world that are more about money than actually helping people, and no, I’m not accusing Steve Jobs of being like this. More that once again we are revering a businessman’s life. Let’s just hope Steve Jobs’ work will one day lead to someone using a Mac to discover Ralph Steinman’s works to prevent the cancer that killed both Ralph and Steve so so young. Condolences to the Jobs family and I know his legacy will outlive him for many many years.