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Steve Jobs, philosopher

Long-expected bad news still shock when they arrive. Thus with the death of Steve Jobs, star of our times. We knew he was dying, we watched him dwindle before our eyes, and yet last night it was but one long gasp echoing in the world. Jobs is dead? Dead?

Today is a day of tribute to the vision of the man, his amazing inventiveness, the adventurousness of his spirit.   Reading about him—and isn’t it a fact that no matter how well you think you know all there is to know about a public figure, there is still plenty to discover after they die?—two things came to mind. One was an interview a while back by French philosopher Lucien Jerphagnon who, as it happens, also died a couple of weeks ago, at a much more advanced age than Jobs. Talking about philosophers, he said, if memory serves, that these are people who want to understand. So they scroll through what are called philosophical systems.Not finding answers to the questions they pose, they have to invent a different system. Another Frenchman, Chateaubriand, once wrote “Others look at the same things I look at but no one sees what I see,” (“tout le monde regarde ce que je regarde, mais personne ne voit ce que je vois.”) It may seem funny to quote two Frenchmen to encapsulate Jobs, the quintessential American inventor (though born of a Syrian father, one of the facts I learned), but the two views quoted above apply more than anything I read today.

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  1. MB
    October 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Mr. Chateaubriand’s comment is insightful, seemingly logical and evident, and yet so profound. Thank you for the French translation. Yes, we all saw Steve Jobs and now we can see a bit of how others, around the whole world, saw him. The tributes are moving and show how Steve Jobs and his genius brought us together, in this world where there are so many divisions.

  2. Maryam yekta Steininger
    October 8, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I truly believe in what the French philosopher Jacques Ellul said about the technology, and Henri Laborit another French scholar who said:

    Trapped within himself, or more precisely, trapped within the retroactive corps of his nervous system, man had perceived himself as separated from the universe, disregarding the modeling of his own being by same universe he has defined human nature as autonomous from the world without realizing that in watching the world, it was still, indeed, himself that he was observing.

    I believe that

    Man is part the universe and technology as much as it is successful and somehow useful, it is man that is superior to technology . Technology also can be harmful. It takes a man like Steve Jobs and his great intelligence to invent all these inventions and not technology itself.

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