Challenging the World’s Conscience
The story of Steve Jobs touches the conscience of the world at various levels. First and foremost, it reminds us of the costs of racism, tribalism and apartheid. Many children of mixed race and their parents have been destroyed emotionally/psychologically by racism and apartheid; loved ones torn apart, hearts broken, families sunk into abject poverty in the land of plenty, and many more left in limbo in a world that classifies people by race, tribe and colour. Believe me, the biological father of Steve is mourning at two levels – the loss of a son through death on one level, and on the other, the loss of a son through an inhuman system, racism, that led to giving away Steve for adoption, thus destroying the bond and trust between father and son. Categorisation of humans into Black and White, superior and inferior race, and developed and developing nations has directly and indirectly contributed to the injustice, wars and terrorism that have bedeviled planet earth. So as world leaders and the people of the planet earth mourn the passing of this great man, they should examine themselves, their conscience and their policies towards other peoples and nations. Many Steve-like gifts to mother earth have been destroyed, dehumanised, or robbed opportunity to unleash the talents they brought to earth because of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.
Secondly, the story of Steve reminds us of the invisible costs of abortion. If abortion technology was openly available and legalised in the 1950s, am quite certain that Steve’s mother, under pressure by the social norms of the time, i.e. the stigma attached to pregnancy outside wedlock, coupled with racism, would have considered abortion. Had she done so, the genius of Apple would have eluded the world. Every child is a gift to the world, irrespective of place and family of birth.
Thirdly, Steve’s story illuminates the significance of university of life. No quality product ever made it to the shelf without passing through fire and a gruesome shaping process. As Steve’s experience shows, life will throw all manner of debris (failures, betrayals, financial battles, sickness, divorce, losses) at people during their life journeys. The debris are designed to knock individuals into shape for fulfilling their destiny. Steve admits that life challenges shaped his vision and success. Often, individuals raised in poor homes and neighborhoods, single parent families, orphanages, and adopted homes, lose self-confidence in the early stages of life when the university of life starts delivering its lessons. Same applies to individuals who lost prime bread winners through accident, terrorism, war, aid, natural disaster, or natural death. The story of Steve, though set in the land of opportunity – USA, can be replicated with determination and the following advise he gave:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Finally, the story of Steve reinforces the importance of good governance, educational opportunities, healthy economy, and leadership. An important variable in Steve’s life journey was the availability of different training / education opportunities in the United Sates, coupled with a healthy economic environment, progressive political system and a robust entrepreneurial culture. Creativity and ingenuity are not limited to the shores of America. In-fact they are coded in the genes of every race and every nation. However, to activate the gifts deposited in many Steves around the world, developing countries in particular, the right foundation must be present – effective leadership of a nation. It is the absence of this foundation that has chained many Steves to poverty and hopelessness in the developing countries of Africa. Only Africans can free themselves from this bondage, for God seldom uses foreigners to liberate nations. Thank you Steve Jobs for your gift to the world. Though departed, you remain alive in homes, cars, businesses, brief cases, pockets, hand bags, and classrooms throughout the world. That’s how much you have changed the world.