Steve Jobs: In the Aftermath of Grief
I liken the dynamic, in many ways, to how the nation reacted following Sept. 11. In the immediate aftermath, under George W. Bush (a pretty polarizing figure), we came together. The nation truly united.
As time passed, however, we stopped hearing the references to "life in a post-9/11 world." Before you knew it, as a country, we became more divided than ever. In fact, it's probably never been worse than it has been in the last three-to-five years from a polarization standpoint.
I was not in Manhattan for 9/11. I was not even on the East Coast. But that event rocked my world and changed my life. I quit a six-figure job and completely transformed my life in the fourth quarter of 2001. A day does not go by when I do not think of how 9/11 changed me. The same can be said with regard to my mother-in-law's passing. The halls of my house feel different today than they did on Sept. 10, 2001 and Feb. 22, 2012.
I cannot imagine how people in New York and others directly touched by 9/11 feel. I can empathize deeply with those dealing with loss.
Granted, the events I bring up to make my point operate on a much more important scale than what happens at Apple today, tomorrow and five years from now. But, as a writer, this is what I do. I look at the things that move me and I link them to seemingly insignificant topics we debate day after day.
As a nation, we do a great disservice to ourselves by devolving into a divisive and divided state after we bonded over a national tragedy or, more aptly, a shared experience. I guess this process is normal and natural. It's human nature. My wife, a psychologist, tries to tell me this every time we have this discussion. I cannot accept her "professional opinion."
At the same time, I cannot accept how a chorus of praise for Steve Jobs upon his death has turned, at least in some circles, to diluting, discounting and forgetting the objective facts we can glean from his existence.
Steve Jobs is Apple.
I do not have to excerpt from the many stories that heaped deserved praise on Jobs when he passed. You remember them. If they have become distant memories, I suggest you Google them at your leisure. Read or re-read Walter Isaacson's excellent Steve Jobs' biography and Adam Lashinsky's fantastic book, Inside Apple.
Both drive home the points I have been trying to make in recent months.