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Bernardong: Day 2: Jan 2, 2012 - Donate Wisely I have never seen the Salvation Army walking doll before so was a bit surprised when I came across this. I am all for donating for a cause, but just always wanted to be knowledgeable about how actual funds and goods are used. I’ve always wondered why with all the money going to cancer research why there isn’t any more and measurable breakthroughs in this area for so many years, knowing fully well that some forms of the cure are already there around the corner. I hope that you continue to donate wisely to worthy causes. You never know how you’ll benefit from it someday yourself.
Date: 2012-01-02 23:42:00 GMT

Eatinglikea5yearold: Homemade English Muffin Pizzas w/ tomato sauce, shredded mozz & love @ The Apartment - Hoboken, NJ Thoughts: Avoiding a real breakfast today, I whipped up some of these pretty quickly.  Toast the muffin, a little sauce, some mozz, microwave for about 1 minute, throw them back in the toaster.  Great little snack to hold me over in the morning.
Date: 2012-01-03 00:51:00 GMT

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My Thoughts on Steve Jobs:

The moment I heard that Steve Jobs announced that he was going to step down as CEO of Apple, I can’t help but have this nagging feeling that the end was near for him. And in hindsight, I am sure he knew it too.

For a person who spent his life with passion and high intensity in both his relentless pursuit and creation of the optimal human experience, it came at a high cost to his life. For him to step down must have weighed on him tremendously, but the cancer has taken the upper hand in this instance and there is no amount of internal force that would physically allow him to continue on with his role.

I had reserved a copy of his biography written by Isaacson a few months back. I did this when I found out that the publishing date moved from a 2012 release date to Nov. It got moved once again to end of October. It could have been done for a multitude of reasons, but part of me thought that Steve Jobs probably had a lot to do with that move up in the schedule.

Isn’t he the consummate marketer and planner, probably attempting to perfectly time the release of his biography, ideally after he passes? It’s probably common knowledge by now that he worked very closely with Isaacson to give him free reign on his life’s content and context, access to his time and all his contacts, good and bad, not even wanting to see and influence what the author wrote. It would definitely be a book worth reading. And keeping. I think it will be a collectible, so it made sense to me to buy the hardcopy. I only hope that Steve was also able to allow the author to write the final chapter leading up to his passing.

So let’s rewind the clock back a few years… Steve in college, he took calligraphy classes which he always espoused as providing him a form of catharsis. The beauty of the form and lines have always fascinated him to no end. That which arouses the raw emotional attachment that drives the most human instincts to quench a higher thirst. This was not a surprise to me. To this very day, the Japanese and Chinese teach many of their young children in school (and even easy availability of adult classes) to learn how to do calligraphy. It’s not just the writing, it’s the practice of it. There is an obvious connection between this and the spirit of zen that goes along with the motion of forming elegant and fluid lines.

Steve somehow had a built-in switch with the inclination to move more towards things more on the spiritual plane. In Steve’s case, he was drawn to the modern incarnation and graduation from Asian characters, to that of digital art and science of Western typography.

So when Steve dropped out of college, I figured that any normal sane person would just bum around until they get to find out what their real purpose in life would be. But no, Steve had to take an extreme route and actually travel to India to find actual enlightenment.

Now think about that for a moment. He didn’t just go to some church or temple around his neighborhood, or experimented with various religions (though he did experiment with LSD). He actually sought what the real Buddha sought, enlightenment, and in the land where it originated. Steve might not know what he had to do yet, but he knew what he had to be. He knew he didn’t need religion, he needed a philosophical grounding. He dove in with two feet to commit his mind and soul to attempt to raise it to a higher plane. It’s the thinking and philosophical plane, where everything you achieve is really nothing, and nothing that exists is everything. He had to understand that, and have the capacity to let everything and every desire go.

So he came back a Buddhist, shaved his head and walked around barefoot. There’s this famous story about Peter Sculley going to his house and observing that his home only had a bed, a chair, and a standing Tiffany lamp. What he did for a while was live an ascetic life. I believe Steve was trying to apply what he learned and practiced from Buddhism and crossing the divide into the modern technological world. It remains a self discovery process for him as he grew. Buddhism teaches one to know oneself first before you can get to know and understand others. He became that calm stone lying deep in the ocean floor, beneath the raging stormy waves above him. And coupled with all the failures and setbacks he had experienced in his life and career, he already had the basic grounding to emerge from them even stronger and with more resolve than ever to remain true and fulfill his inner eye vision.

But ironically, Steve did not continue to be a practicing Buddhist. I think he took the basic core principles of Buddhism, and molded it to his life’s purpose and personal motivations. But it lacked the element of basic human kindness. Steve always lived with an extreme urgency, an offshoot perhaps of his queasy view of mortality, stating at one point in his life that he would not live past 40. He probably truly lived each day like it was his last. I don’t necessarily agree with this if it means living it so intensely and so urgently that you affect the balance of the world around you and disrupts the natural flow of life. He might have accomplished a lot but it came at a high cost of extreme stress and strain to his body and mind. Is it a surprise then that he died from cancer from such an early age?

I wished that it would have been a bit different in not what he did, but how he did it. I wished Steve continued to be a practicing Buddhist and realized the principles of which it holds is that you need to bring more relief and kindness to a world that’s destined for pain and suffering. He came close, he came very close. He did change the world to be more collaborative, social, engaging, transparent and exciting. He had loyal followers, but he also had people who despised and was deathly scared of him. However, in the overall scheme of things, his accomplishments carried the day. It alludes to his mastery in understanding the human-ness of this world, using technology as his weapon of choice in actualizing his vision of converging man and machine to a near state of nirvana. But why did he refuse to be more involved in philanthropy when Bill Gates talked to him about it? He didn’t want to give away his billions in the traditional manner. Did he have a bigger more appropriate plan that he thought more worthy of disposing of his worldly assets?

Steve Jobs went far beyond just being a visionary. He translated vision to reality in a way that boggles mere mortals. His presence, power and charsima is overwhelming and he wielded it gracefully. Steve will definitely go down in history with all the recognition befitting of such an amazing innovator, technologist and businessman.

But let’s leave with the thought that all his creations will eventually meet obsolescence. But what of the essence left behind the person then? Steve Jobs unequivocally is already in the books as one of the most memorable figures in history.

Buddhism brought him some level of enlightenment, but was it enough? Was it complete? He designed products that garnered rabid materialistic longing, but he also designed in the lifetime of that i-Material to only last three years. He came, he created, he took away. Was he breaking core principles of non-materialism by ensnaring you in the net of an eternal upgrade cycle?

Will there still be his last act of kindness? Will he remain true to his original roots as a practicing Buddhist and leave a truly lasting legacy to humankind? Only time will tell.


by Bernard Ong, 10/08/2011


Post on: 2011-10-08 16:55:00 GMT
Tags: apple, buddhism, death, innovator, life, living, mac, macintosh, steve jobs, thoughts, tribute, ipod, iphone, ipad, smartphone, bio,



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