One thing I’ve learned personally is that people say the most incredible things about someone after they’re dead. Crash a typical funeral in America and you’re likely to hear a service for some average guy with compliments normally reserved for the likes of Gandhi or Mother Theresa. Steve Jobs is such a dead guy. Counter to the sycophantic drool being published in 30 languages globally, I say that he had some good ideas for someone coming from the 20th century, and that’s as far as I ‘d go. I’m not getting on my knees to service anyone’s memory. Sorry.
Why? Because back in the days of the 20th, it was the unlimited growth economic model that America sold the world that as a result, helped to put us in the disastrous position that we currently find ourselves. Growth based on consumption based on infinite resource. Buy it now and start saving for the upgrade in 8 months and we’ll worry about what to do with the waste when…when… Well, when exactly?
And that’s not a question the so-called saintly Mr. Jobs ever asked, or if he did, it was only going to be answered with as much sincerity as his profit-above-all-else interests would dictate. And it was profit above all else in the 20th, and Steve was a 20th century man.
So what of the man who made billions off the future he helped trash and bury in toxic waste? Oh yeah. Death. Well I can cry over anyone’s mortality as much as I can laugh at the sunlight’s warmth or scream at the moon for mocking the sun. We all die, but I say thank goodness not all of us are truly celebrated for leaving a legacy celebrated at one time, only to be realized for its part in a potentially irreversible environmental time-bomb the next.
Unless we were a 20th century genius.
And it’s the thinking, the ideas that are the problem. In the 21st century we find ourselves in a unique place where we are discovering that as a species we can no longer afford to use ancient measures of economic health and assume unlimited growth and resource. The natural world is not tolerating this synthetic reality anymore. The genius human dinosaurs of the past are the modern models of idiocy and examples of what we can no longer do if we are to plan seriously for human survival on this planet. Yes innovation is brilliant, but not if it is used to benefit a small fraction of one species at the vastly greater expense of the majority of living things on this earth.
In the 21st century, human innovation must be used to preserve the ecosystems on which a variety of life forms–including human beings–and interdependent systems rely on for survival, and we must partner this idea with every new creative endeavor we make. This thinking and these ideas were not considered valuable or even necessary to the geniuses of the past, so let us realize these human assets of yesterday as the liabilities they are today.
And let’s also hope that their short-sighted idiot genius hasn’t destroyed our chances to do the same thing in the 22nd century.