Steve Jobs, 56, died, yesterday, after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Oddly, I first saw this news on facebook, and suffice it to say, that it was quite a surreal experience to be on my Mac reading posts of remembrance to the inventor of all things Apple.
There are many reasons why I think a dedication to the life of Steve Jobs belongs here, on a Dave Matthews Band website. First, it seems to me that Steve and Dave have many things in common. They are both visionary geniuses who changed their divergent fields, and they both have a passion for detail. Today, I found out that Mr. Jobs designed the sleep light indicator for all Mac computers to illuminate at the speed of 12 glows per minute to match the average breathing rate of an adult person! Who thinks of things like this? Steve Jobs. And, as anyone who has ever tried to play DMB music can attest, Dave Matthews.
Steve and Dave also share an undeniable ability to inspire others, drawing fans from all walks of life to Apple, and the Dave Matthews Band, respectively. And they have both encountered criticism from those who would call their brand of wisdom “hype,” without substance. But it is, I imagine, their wish to believe in something greater than themselves that sets both of these men apart from other media icons. In a moving address to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005, Steve Jobs said:
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something; your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
This sentiment is reminiscent of so many of Dave’s lyrics, where he has expressed a hope that “there is someone out there in the heaven’s looking back down on us,” even if he concedes that we will “never know.”
But perhaps the most striking synchronicity between the philosophies of these two leaders has to be their views on death. In that same Stanford commencement, Apple’s co-founder offered these profound words:
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
In other words, take these chances, don’t burn the day, and above all, just look for the love in it, because in the end, naked you will see that we are all the same.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self
Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs (1955-2011)