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We become the monsters we fight October 10, 2011

Posted by ethlite in Uncategorized.

… and that’s a good thing!

No, really. Hear me out.

Like many people, I consider Steve Jobs to be a life long inspiration. His life philosophy has inspired and informed many of my own attitudes and decisions, and the main reason why I chose to spent 11 years at Apple under him.

However, I did feel conflicted about one aspect of his incredible life story – his evolution from being the guy who made boxes that hacked phone companies for free calls, who proclaimed “1984 wont be like 1984”, to the man responsible for creating the most authoritarian, locked down ecosystem in the history of the world. It’s as if he got tired of fighting The Man and decided to instead show them how it’s done.

But I had an epiphany after reflecting on his life after his death. I realized that being the very thing you started off fighting against is, in fact, the proof that you have lived your life to the fullest and fulfilled your life mission…

Bear with me for a bit more…

If you step back a bit from the good/evil, black/white, order/chaos dichotomy, you will see that they are simply two sides of the same coin. There is no absolute good or evil, just a giant pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other. The sixties counterculture flower children became the “greed is good” yuppies in the eighties. Most people, myself included, would say that the Boomers have sold out, but now I realize it’s not that simple. It’s irrelevant whether or not the Boomers have sold out, it was their destiny to rebel against the stifling social order, and they pushed the pendulum from one end to the other, and back again. The seed of its destruction is planted at the apex of any movement, that is how pendulums work.

Our lives are not solely our own, we are all part of something larger. We exist to push the evolution of the human civilization forward, and the way we do that is to swing that pendulum as hard as we can in the direction that was assigned to us. You can picture it as a grand theatre, in which you don’t get to pick your part, but you can choose how well you play your assigned role. It is not our place to question why, but it is our individual choice to embrace our destiny or turn away from it.

The lesson of Steve Jobs is not to be like Steve – it is to be yourself, and never settle for anything less.

May you live well and long enough to become the very thing you loath in your youth, and be at peace knowing that is as it should be.

Oh, and cheers, Boomers, I don’t hate you anymore. 🙂