GUEST POST by Nelson Borelli, MD: Steve Jobs, the Unpious-In-Chief 02/22/2013Posted by ALT in Guest Post, Philosophy/Spirituality.
Tags: Apple, machine, mind-body, nature, Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs transferred the natural piety for his body to his idol, the computer.
(For the thinker: just the above; for the curious: my two bits, below.)
Piety is a disposition and behavior that is based on the recognition and respect of nature. Nature is what is outside of me (that is the metaphysical me, or “I”, — as in “I am”).
A person’s physical body is part of nature. My body is not me. “God gave me my body in stewardship, and God will take it away when God should so decide” is a helpful metaphor to understand that my body is not me, that it is part of nature. My body is outside me, separate from me.
The same metaphor suggests that I have to take good care of my body (maintenance and repairs) to best profit from its capabilities. Think of this: I own my body as I own my horse (or automobile); the care of either is very important to my living. Yet the care of my body is more important than the care of my horse, because if my body dies I cannot replace it.
My body is, by far, my most important possession. It is a most respectable tool because it allows me to live. There is no tool in the world that could serve me better than my body, not even the most sophisticated computer or robots could do it (they cannot tell the love in a woman’s eyes or the perfect doneness of a paella).
Steve Jobs, the super technocrat, ignored the scientifically based medical technology when his body started to have trouble. The scientific method (widely recognized as the best predictor of outcome) demands objective observation of nature, a pious posture, and many other things. Unpiously, Steve Jobs went into the world of mystical treatments for his illness until it was too late for formal medicine to help him.
Steve Jobs’ (pseudo) piety was to the machine. He venerated the machine as a religious fanatic would. At the cost of his life.
Yes, Steve Jobs was the Unpious-in-Chief of modern time.
His enormous, superb, technical skills and charisma greatly enhanced the contemporary idolatry of material things. Material objects — machines, computers — can be very useful in pursuit of human projects, provided we do not ignore nature, piously.
Steve Jobs’ tragic end may stand as a metaphor for the way we seem to be going on this planet. Let us think about that metaphor, for what it represents may be Steve’s best legacy to us.
(Mailed to Apple Corporate Headquarters 2/22/2013)