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Friday, 7 October 2011

Reflection on Steve Jobs

I have written this article for my parish magazine. Its intended audience is a very traditional one - a village community, with some interest in their parish church. Some of them will have heard of Steve Jobs and have Apple products in their homes. Many of them won't be interested in the slightest. That, I hope, explains the slant I have taken.
There is no offence meant, and I hope none will be taken.

Dear friends,
You may have seen something very odd on the television or the newspapers a little while ago. People using cutting edge technology (an iPad) to project the image of a flickering candle flame in a vigil to the man who invented these modern objects of desire – Steve Jobs.
The ultimate symbol of newness and ingenuity, being used to simulate one of the oldest things humanity knows – a flame, and done to create a strangely religious thing: a shrine.
Steve Jobs and Apple, the company he co-founded, have become modern icons. Everybody, it seems, has or wants an Apple computer, an iPod, an iPhone or an iPad. Before Apple came along, computers were dull grey boxes operated by dull grey men in suits. Now, they are things to drool over.
For this subset of humanity, the geeks, Steve Jobs was their messiah. He offered the promise of endless opportunity, of the chance to be different and to be creative. The legend of Apple was founded on the premise of standing out from the crowd, of being funky and stylish in a world of grey drones. The fact that Jobs rigidly kept his private life secret only added to the mystique, People could project on to him whatever they wanted.
Like the reaction to the death of Princess Diana, we can see in people’s response a burning desire to believe. To people who think that the religious urge in humanity is dying out, I would use this as evidence that they are wrong. Many people are more desperate to believe today than ever.
The question of course, is what do we believe in? A sparkling toy that sings in our pocket? The collection of our hopes and dreams whatever they may be?
My answer is simple.
Believe in better.

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