October 26, 2011

"At the root of the reality distortion was Jobs’s belief that the rules didn’t apply to him."

"He had some evidence for this; in his childhood, he had often been able to bend reality to his desires. Rebelliousness and willfulness were ingrained in his character. He had the sense that he was special, a chosen one, an enlightened one. 'He thinks there are a few people who are special — people like Einstein and Gandhi and the gurus he met in India — and he’s one of them,' said [Andy] Hertzfeld. 'He told Chrisann this. Once he even hinted to me that he was enlightened. It’s almost like Nietzsche.' Jobs never studied Nietzsche, but the philosopher’s concept of the will to power and the special nature of the Überman came naturally to him. As Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 'The spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been lost to the world now conquers the world.' If reality did not comport with his will, he would ignore it, as he had done with the birth of his daughter and would do years later, when first diagnosed with cancer. Even in small everyday rebellions, such as not putting a license plate on his car and parking it in handicapped spaces, he acted as if he were not subject to the strictures around him."

A paragraph from Walter Isaacson's fabulous biography "Steve Jobs." I'm reading it and loving it. I'll share some more stuff as I go along.

I'd give you a page cite, but I'm reading it in the Kindle (the app, on iPad) so I can only give you "Kindle location 2242-2251." Is that how we will do cites in the future?

97 comments:

Dan in Philly said...

Hubris is the sin of the great.

Shouting Thomas said...

Don't mean to be off topic, but when I read the headline, my first thought was that you were balking about the Biblical Job and his trials.

That's the other end of the spectrum. The Biblical Job tried his damnedest to follow God's rules...

And what did it get him?

Sometimes, you get screwed either way.

Jason said...

And then there was that time he killed that pawnbroker woman.

Methadras said...

Dan in Philly said...

Hubris is the sin of the great.


And arrogance is the fall of the great as well. Too bad he couldn't will that pancreatic cancer away. Reality can fuck you like that.

YoungHegelian said...

I've heard that companies should eat their own dog food, but I've never heard that a CEO should drink his own Kool-Aid.

traditionalguy said...

Will to Power met the power of digital communications.

To bad the cells in human bodies are not digital, yet.

Robots, arise and take control!

damikesc said...

So...Jobs was an asshole. Good to know.

Dan in Philly said...

Methadras, there was a time when your statement would have been inferred from mine, but alas in this age there seems to be no awareness that when the words "hubris" and "sin" are used, a tragedy is implied.

Bob Ellison said...

Jobs was God. Jobs is dead. Therefore we can stop being religious.

Patrick said...

Really, Jobs' hubris caused the ironic death: That which makes him stronger, also killed him.

cubanbob said...

So he had a very big ego and a more than a bit of quirkiness. Ever heard of a really successful entrepreneur that didn't? There is no such thing as an unmixed blessing, so of the characteristics that made him so successful in business were not so optimal for his health. He wasn't the first and won't be the last who gambles and loses with alternative medical ideas, just a lot more famous than most.

Ann Althouse said...

"I've heard that companies should eat their own dog food, but I've never heard that a CEO should drink his own Kool-Aid."

Funny you put it that way. the chapter I quoted from is called "The Reality Distortion Field: Playing by His Own Set of Rules" and it includes:

"“Amazingly, the reality distortion field seemed to be effective even if you were acutely aware of it. We would often discuss potential techniques for grounding it, but after a while most of us gave up, accepting it as a force of nature.” After Jobs decreed that the sodas in the office refrigerator be replaced by Odwalla organic orange and carrot juices, someone on the team had T-shirts made. “Reality Distortion Field,” they said on the front, and on the back, “It’s in the juice!”"

Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (Kindle Locations 2225-2229). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Tim said...

"If reality did not comport with his will, he would ignore it, as he had done with the birth of his daughter and would do years later, when first diagnosed with cancer. Even in small everyday rebellions, such as not putting a license plate on his car and parking it in handicapped spaces, he acted as if he were not subject to the strictures around him."

Yet he was utterly wrong. His daughter outlives him, and cancer killed him.

Ironic, eh?

wv: lumiescu - the aura seen only in the mirror by those with Ceausescuian narcissism.

Ann Althouse said...

Odwalla juice is so much more expensive than soda. Imagine pushing that stuff on everyone in the office (including the folks who want low-calorie drinks). Not only are they put out, but you're paying a huge money to impose that control.

Ann Althouse said...

Jump ahead a couple paragraphs and there is actual "Kool-Aid":

"When members of the Mac team got ensnared in his reality distortion field, they were almost hypnotized. “He reminded me of Rasputin,” said Debi Coleman. “He laser-beamed in on you and didn’t blink. It didn’t matter if he was serving purple Kool-Aid. You drank it.” But like Wozniak, she believed that the reality distortion field was empowering: It enabled Jobs to inspire his team to change the course of computer history with a fraction of the resources of Xerox or IBM. “It was a self-fulfilling distortion,” she claimed. “You did the impossible, because you didn’t realize it was impossible.”"

Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (Kindle Locations 2237-2241). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yet he was utterly wrong. His daughter outlives him, and cancer killed him."

This is the part of the book that begins the discussion of the cancer screw up. It's the tragic flaw that killed him: reality distortion.

It also made him great.

MisterBuddwing said...

High self-esteem and healthy ego are all fine and good. I just find myself thinking of a fellow who, while he was growing up, was repeatedly told by his mother that he could aspire to be anything he wanted to be, and when this person grew up and realized he was nothing special, and never would be, took out his wrath on the very person he'd idolized and hoped to emulate one day.

I'm talking about Mark David Chapman, the killer of John Lennon.

WV: gratsa

YoungHegelian said...

Jeez, I rang the bell this time!

Totally by accident, let me assure you.

Maybe 25 years in IT allows me to sense the vibe....

Henry said...

My eldest son has rebelliousness and willfulness ingrained in his character, but it is my youngest that is the inventor. He calls himself "Otto Da Vinci." If I'm lucky I'll have Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the same family. If not, I'll have the Piranha brothers.

DADvocate said...

Once he even hinted to me that he was enlightened.

One of the teachings of Zen Buddhism, that I've read, is that a person who says they are enlightened is surely not. Funny how reality has a way of catching up with you and smacking you in the face.

And, don't call me Shirley.

pm317 said...

I am planning to buy the book too.

On a more mundane note, why are people writing -- Jobs's -- when it should be Jobs'?

Njall said...

Jason said...

and then there was that time he killed that pawnbroker woman.

I was thinking the same thing, reading this post; he was, after all, destined for great things, and she was a necessary casualty along the way.

pm317 said...

Oh, keep the book away from Obama lest he start believing some of these things about himself.

PatCA said...

Well, it's not false pride if you actually accomplish something, and Jobs did that. He exceeded his own expectations.

Can't wait to read the book. Maybe for our book club.

BTW what's the situation with the birth of his daughter?

Lucius said...

No.

Richard Dolan said...

Isaacson was on Charlie Rose last night discussing his bio of Jobs. He made the point repeatedly that, in dealing with his illness, Jobs balanced his designer/manager's mania for high tech, scientific solutions that work, with his aesthetic/poetic sense of the newest and latest that appeal for other reasons. Isaacson referred (in passing) to various treatments based on the genetics of the cancerous cell types, which Jobs apparently pursued along with various diets and the like.

I haven't read the bio yet, but it would be odd if Isaacson's book doesn't support his own thesis about Jobs' balancing two very different approaches to life/death that he plainly personified in this work at Apple and Pixar. Isaacson also made the point that, until shortly before he passed away, Jobs was convinced that he would be able to stay ahead of the progression of his disease by using the latest medical advances, often in novel ways.

In short, Jobs sounds like a much more complicated and sophisticated guy, even in seeking to deal with his cancer, than some of the commentary is now trying to portray him.

edutcher said...

A little like the CEO where I last worked.

He was also a wunderkind, of sorts, and he also liked to bend reality - and then reality bent him.

One of those nasty rules of life.

prairie wind said...

He ignored his daughter when she was born? What was he expecting? A puppy?

ricpic said...

Did Jobs believe a fiction? I am chosen. If that's a fiction then without it we wouldn't have Beethoven's 7th or Brunel's Great Western Railway. Do away with the conceit of genius and you do away with greatness. You get a world full of people too worldly to take the leap, our world.

Jim Gust said...

Yes, your Kindle citation does represent the future of legal citations, once all court decisions are available as e-memoranda.

MarkW said...

"I'd give you a page cite, but I'm reading it in the Kindle (the app, on iPad) so I can only give you "Kindle location 2242-2251." Is that how we will do cites in the future?"

In the future, we won't need page cites, since the books are searchable. If you want to find the quoted text, you search for it. You could probably get the printed page number, though, with Amazon's 'search inside this book' feature.

The Crack Emcee said...

Jobs was a NewAger, no different Oprah, Shirley MacLaine, or Suzanne Somers, and what's being called the "reality distortion field" is just tech talk for magical thinking.

Jobs was lucky because he lived in an area where people A) had money and B) actually made things, so his dreams were coupled with productivity. But the truth is reality applied to him as much as anyone else.

MayBee said...

It's funny.
When Althouse first quoted Job's statement about the importance of his acid hit, it seemed so odd considering what I thought I knew of Jobs. It didn't make sense.
Now I realize I knew nothing of Jobs, that he was a very odd man, and the acid weirdness was just one of many.

How much we've learned about him!

redcybra said...

On May 17, 1978, when Jobs was 23, his­­ high school girlfriend Brennan gave birth to a daughter, Lisa. Like his biological father Jandali, Jobs too struggled with his responsibilities and denied he was her father for two years. He even swore in court documents that he could not be Lisa's father because he was "sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child."

Somewhat interestingly, Jobs gave Lisa's name to an Apple computer at the same time. The Apple Lisa computer was invented the year she was born. But Jobs and Apple claimed that the name was an acronym for "Local Integrated Software Architecture."

But eventually, Jobs acknowledged paternity of Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Lisa was raised by her mother on welfare when Jobs denied paternity. But growing up was not easy for her as her mother was moving constantly.

It was in 1986 that Lisa finally met her father.

rest at:
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/226853/20111007/steve-jobs-daughter-lisa-brennan-jobs-story-of-the-girl-who-was-denied-paternity-apple-steve-jobs-fa.htm

Sixty Grit said...
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Paddy O said...

I think most everyone thinks this is true --that the rules don't apply -- but reality has a way of asserting the truth.

The difference with Jobs was, one, he was very wealthy and powerful. Two, like a cult leader he projected his ego as the identity within which other supposed individuals could orient themselves, taking on his expressions of freedom as their expressions of freedom.

A forceful "world-historical individual" conveys an impression of expressing in full the spirit of an age, pushing humanity forward, but because they are not actually quite as self-contained as they think, they are really just masters of the conformity of the age.

They're, in Kandinsky's terms, the great popularizers at the bottom of the creative pyramid, but think themselves paragons of creativity because of the widespread acclaim and wealth. Which provides a very deceptive sense of ultimate identity, for his followers and especially for his own self.

Like all cult leaders, he saw the followers' freedom only as possible through giving away of their first-fruits to Jobs. They gave him lots of cash. In return he gave them baubles and trinkets.

And while there certainly was a cult of Jobs, for most followers, Jobs wasn't the source of creativity, he just encouraged the making of tools. He was the owner of the local blacksmithy.

He gave space for people to create cool tools, but mostly cool as ways to entertain or distract. He was a marketer, a guy who set up a particularly fancy booth to sell his wares, wares which others used to pursue their own fields of interest.

Which means that Jobs was ultimately a middle man, not a Übermensch.

In that role, Jobs helped facilitate a small number of creative producers to share their creations with other creators, all through enforcing a safe conformity of form and function, though a conformity distinct within its own sphere, so everyone thought they were special and rule-breakers and among the cool kids.

Meanwhile, the world continues after Jobs -- even Apple continues -- without really changing. The latter much more changed by Jobs than the world in general. He was just a man among many others, reflecting an all too common conformity to the spirit of the age. That he reflected this spirit brightly gave him his success and also his death. The spirit of the age is a very fickle friend.

I'll end my sermon with a passage from Acts 12:
Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.

21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

gerry said...

As Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 'The spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been lost to the world now conquers the world.'

And now, both Jobs and Nietzsche are dead.

Ron said...

Poor Fred...always having to deal with annoying blowhards who read Zarathustra....

He understands the problem even before he passed away:


We, the generous and rich in spirit, who stand at the sides of the streets like open fountains and would hinder no one from drinking from us: we do not know, alas! how to defend ourselves when we should like to do so; we have no means of preventing ourselves being made turbid and dark, we have no means of preventing the age in which we live casting its "up-to-date rubbish" into us, or of hindering filthy birds throwing their excrement, the boys their trash, and fatigued resting travellers their misery, great and small, into us. But we do as we have always done: we take whatever is cast into us down into our depths for we are deep, we do not forget and once more grow clear.

-- "and become bright again", Gay Science, bk 5, epigram 378

Sixty Grit said...
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BarryD said...

All the "Übermensch" BS and religious grandstanding notwithstanding, I think there's an interesting lesson in this.

A lot of the "rules" we learn are wrong. I don't think much of the OWS crowd, but I do hear a recurring theme: people followed what they apparently thought the "rules" of life were, and they found themselves jobless and deep in debt. Sure, many of them sound like they're really stupid, but there's something to this -- nothing that absolves them of their own responsibility to grow up, suck it up, and deal with real life. But there's something to this for all of us to think about.

Our brains have ideas about how things are, about limitations, about "reality", and these ideas can be wrong. They can hold us back.

Jobs' belief freed him of a lot of counterproductive "rules". This allowed him to be very successful. He also missed a few productive rules, like, if you have cancer, go and avail yourself of modern treatment.

So, Jobs' belief ultimately did him in. But it also allowed him to succeed where many of us wouldn't have tried.

In this, I see a need to examine what I think "reality" is, because Jobs did demonstrate that SOME of the "rules" are indeed false.

Paddy O said...

Sixty, even worse was where the worms are thought to have been!

Oligonicella said...

So..... He was a dick, not a god. Right?

deborah said...

Sooo...borderline sociopath? Narcissism?

I imagine his attitude sprang in part from being adopted. He was able to imagine he wasn't a commoner.

Sixty Grit said...
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Lucius said...

@ricpic: Another Beethoven's Seventh man?

The Seventh should almost certainly be given canonical priority over the (you guessed it) overrated Fifth.

Though that does leave Nos. 3, 6 and 9 as hurdles.

Actually, I adore the Eighth too.

The Crack Emcee said...

BarryD,

In this, I see a need to examine what I think "reality" is, because Jobs did demonstrate that SOME of the "rules" are indeed false.

What you're describing is conventional thinking, but magical thinking is no release from it - Jobs' "alternative" medicine foray was, today, conventional to the extreme, as were the trips to India and other hippie "spiritual" pretensions.

Reality is. In Jobs' case, his best friend was fascinated with computers in an area where many were employed by computer companies. Jobs was lucky in that.

What I find more fascinating is how other people reacted to Jobs - how they gave in to whatever he demanded. We see it in a lot of people who, even after they do wrong, can do no wrong. Look at how long it's taken many to not only catch on to Obama but actually dislike him. Many cult leaders escape that last part.

As I study NewAge, glancing at the pretty facade it presents and the oblivious regard it receives, I'm also wandering in a sea of child molestation, corruption, manipulation, fraud, hypocrisy, blatant dishonesty, etc., all of which is totally ignored by the larger public because whoever the leader is has a following. It's simply amazing to me. Where in the past any of these people would've been jailed or, at the very least, harassed out of existence, they are celebrated and handed money.

THAT's the new look of reality to me.

27183 said...

Back in February, Amazon said page numbers were coming.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2011/0208/Amazon-Kindle-gets-real-page-numbers

Are they still not there yet?

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edwardroyce said...

I'm sorry but this whole Steve Jobs is a transformative idol is frankly more than a bit ridiculous and measurably idiotic.

Tim Berners-Lee did more to change the course of the world and the entirety of humanity in one single day than Steve Jobs did in his entire life.

And frankly without the excessive hubris attached.

...

The reality is that Apple had some good engineers and lousy management. Jobs was effective because it supplanted the crappy management and got the engineers to do their work. Otherwise he wasn't any more effective or inspirational than any other CEO that doesn't have his head up his ass.

If you want a recent example of a CEO with his head up his ass: the guy who runs Netflix is a good one.

The list of successful products by Steve Jobs is a pretty long one. The list of complete and utter disasters by Steve Jobs is a pretty long one. The lesson from this is that if you bullshit often enough and deep enough people will either believe it or they'll forget that it's really just bullshit.

J said...

Why did the Amazing Cracki ever read Nietzsche?
Ayn Rand perhaps, or the sections he liked. Or are you just a strict Darwinian materialist, genius.


Don't care much for Jobs but he was into zen--not exactly the same as "magical thinking" Doc Cracki.

Petunia said...

You can be creative and change the world for the better without being a narcissistic a-hole who ignores your own offspring and parks in handicapped spaces.

What an amazing example of karma. Jobs thinks the rules don't apply to him, he knows better than everyone else, and he can do whatever he wants. So he ignores his doctors' advice, tries to treat his cancer his own way, and dies of a disease that could have been cured.

The Crack Emcee said...

J,

Why did the Amazing Cracki ever read Nietzsche?

I read everything. The backs of cereal boxes - everything.

Ayn Rand perhaps, or the sections he liked.

The way you make shit up is funny. Rand was a cult leader. What makes you think I'd be into her?

Or are you just a strict Darwinian materialist, genius.

I won't run from that. I accept what is as the truth, and don't let distractions interfere.

Don't care much for Jobs but he was into zen--not exactly the same as "magical thinking" Doc Cracki.

It is to me. It's not based in reality, and is the basis for more harm than it's given credit for.

J said...

Jobs never studied Nietzsche, but the philosopher’s concept of the will to power and the special nature of the Überman came naturally to him.

Merely by intuiting it! Many corporate execs fancy themselves Nietzscheans. The Kochs or Fatman Limbaugh probably have a collection of Nietzsche. Ayn Rand herself worshipped Nietzsche for a time (until she felt..he wasn't "reasonable" enough--and returned to her cliffsnotes Aristotle). Nazis read the Moustached One's books as well--at least the sections that helped them out--ie, Der Wille zur Macht-- (overlooking ones that didnt--such as FNs criticism of anti-semites). The greatest male nurse ever (Bertrand Russell thought FN a pompous and nihilistic aesthete, mostly. His one-time pal DH Lawrence thought otherwise).

J said...
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William said...

Very few deaths are so flagrantly ironic as that of Jobs. I suppose there's a moral to it, but Steve Jobs would be the last person on earth to comprehend it. Hubris: that's the flaw of the Olbermanns not the Ubermans of this world.

J said...

Some zen people (tho not traditional) might agree with materialism and Darwin. Sam Harris suggests something like that.So...no soul says Cracki and Sammy Harris (and Ayn Rand)--when yr dead you're dead.. Ergo,meditation might just be...a hedonistic experience, man--not a connection with a spiritual dimension. Tune into your bliss, Cracki! I suspect Jobs might have been closer to Harris than like...Deeprok.

(Hubris?? why that fits you to a TV, Byro-Billy, the autistic Macbeth of Casa Grande)

BarryD said...

Crack Emcee, I agree with you about New Age and magical thinking. These things are smiley-faced evils.

Jobs did get lucky in some ways, too.

Maybe that's the lesson of Jobs: free yourself from the constraints of conventional thinking, BUT don't fall into the trap of New Age "The Secret" crap. This trap is probably easy for people to fall into. Free thinking does not mean eliminating critical thinking.

J said...

Maybe because you're a sunday schooler, Barry-Byro, just lying away. You don't know fuck about logic, aka "critical thinking" to flunkies, little Hamlet of Casa Grande. In fact to infer that.."critical thinking" => atheism shows how little you know.

Frege....the greatest logician since Aristotle....actually believed, little peasant-Byro

The Crack Emcee said...

J,

Some zen people (tho not traditional) might agree with materialism and Darwin. Sam Harris suggests something like that.So...no soul says Cracki and Sammy Harris (and Ayn Rand)

Like I said, J, your own magical thinking regarding me is hilarious.

You should try a bit of reality yourself,...

Shanna said...

Like all cult leaders

Do you think Jobs mindset on this is why apple has by far the most cultish business I’ve ever seen in its affect on users? It's just weird.

You can be creative and change the world for the better without being a narcissistic a-hole who ignores your own offspring and parks in handicapped spaces.

This.

J said...

You should try like reading some actual books, Cracki, or learning say what a syllogism is for starters. I doubt you've ever read an essay by Harris in your life, or real skeptics (say Hume's "Enquiry" genius. Even Dawkins read a bit of that). Im not defending mysticism anyway (or what you call "new age"), but you are unaware of the ..philosophical issues involved with..Mind. You sound about like a biblethumper yrself. (Or is it..koranthumper).

And again ,had you any real critical thinking skills, you'd realize that hinduism, for example is not "new-age"--actually ancient--the vedas start at 2000 BC or so. And..tho it bothers you, hindus too have First Amendment rights, even if their dance to Ganesh really bothers ya.

The Crack Emcee said...

BarryD,

Maybe that's the lesson of Jobs: free yourself from the constraints of conventional thinking, BUT don't fall into the trap of New Age "The Secret" crap. This trap is probably easy for people to fall into. Free thinking does not mean eliminating critical thinking.

Since NewAge IS conventional thinking, I think the lesson you're looking for is one that stresses how important it is to be able to identify conventional thinking. That's what critical thinking helps with, and why I always say we should teach it in schools.

I've gotten to the point where I see people moving in herds, and hear what they collectively say as waves, washing in and out. I pay neither much mind, except for self-protection. It is my experience people are extremely gullible and will kill you for it, giggling the entire time, as long as they can stay ignorant and get the gold fillings in your teeth. Think of it as the Maharishi Effect coupled with the Khmer Rouge. Not to be trusted.

I am in the process of burying a friend who became a fan of Zen Buddhism, yoga, veganism, and whatnot. He used to brag that he could touch his toes while his brother and I could not. He's dead now, at 51 years old, leaving a four-year old daughter.

As the old saying goes, "they know not what they do,..."

The Crack Emcee said...

Shanna,

Do you think Jobs mindset on this is why apple has by far the most cultish business I’ve ever seen in its affect on users? It's just weird.

Kind of like the fervor for Oprah/Obama during the 2008 election? Yeah, same shit, same affect.

What's wild, to me, is how the public is given no protection from it what-so-ever. The American public knows more about space travel, or Sarah Palin's uterus, than the mechanics of cultism. And that's the way the elites - who are wallowing in it for control (Bill Clinton with Ken Wilber and Tony Robbins, Hillary and jean Houston, Deepak Chopra and Michael Jackson, Madonna and Kabbalah, etc.) want it:

We are here to be manipulated.

And that's the way we like it, too. "Yes We Can!"

The Crack Emcee said...

J,

And again ,had you any real critical thinking skills, you'd realize that hinduism, for example is not "new-age"--actually ancient--the vedas start at 2000 BC or so. And..tho it bothers you, hindus too have First Amendment rights, even if their dance to Ganesh really bothers ya.

OK, you're starting to get on my nerves again. I've had to make this same point to Ann as well:

NewAge is a way of thinking - it has nothing to do with when that way of thinking flourished. It is you who are fooled, merely by the word "new," into buying what they're saying - it's why you make so many wrong assumptions. No critical thinker makes assumptions based on no evidence, but you've already attached me to two people - Rand and Harris - that I have specifically said I have nothing to do with. What do you do with that information? Change how you think? NO! You make up some new wrong shit.

You, J, are one of them.

But I knew that when you mentioned Harris,...

J said...

Another hasty generalization--lets see the demographics to back up your rather ludicrous claim that what you take to be "new age thinking" (again, eastern religions predate .. judeo-christianity) is conventional. BS. That's not to defend bizarre mysticism--but you just don't know what sound arguments are, Cracki.

Conventional US religions are protestants and catholics ,jews, mormons. That's the majority of the population. And you're forgetting the First Amendement again.

J said...

Dr Harris is new age? No--neither was Rand--you obviously haven't read either. I ve forwarded that to him. I don't exactly agree with Harris, but you just don't know fuck about the issues, Cracki. People's religious beliefs are none of yr business, little man.

Paddy O said...

Personally, I think Crack has a significant amount of insight about religious issues.

I think a lot of what he says is absolutely applicable to the church as well, which as uncritically adopted a significant amount of new age assumptions, and reflects very much at times the uncritical homage to the pastor that seems more cultish than Christian.

We land in a difference place on what we think about God, but I nod my head a lot when reading Crack's responses to the nefarious aspects of new age thinking that is pervasive in just about every part of our society.

J said...
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deborah said...

Crack, did your friend's death have something to do with New Age?

J said...

Well, you're a fundamentalist Paddy ,right? So you probably agree with Crack's insults of hindus and anything other than mainstream churches. Take it from me, he's not saying anything profound--even from a skeptical/non-believer POV. Hes just got an axe to grind.

Now,Hume.....who denied the authority of all religious texts--bible, Koran, eastern or otherwise-- which contained miraculous/supernatural claims--that was a Skeptic with a capital S (even if one doesn't agree). Most of the Founders of US had read a bit of Hume, tho might not admit to it (Ben Franklin was Hume's friend)

Kirk Parker said...

Lucius,

"Actually, I adore the Eighth too."

Best Mozart symphony ever written!

But don't go dissing the Fifth; it's not overrated, just overplayed. And yes, for sure the Seventh is underplayed.

Kirk Parker said...

MarkW,

"Searchability" doesn't really answer the problem: what if the phrase in question occurs multiple places in the book? I'm not sure how large Kindle sections are/can be, but clearly some kind of canonical division of a work into small identifiable chunks, independent of page layout, is actually a good thing.

Paddy O said...

I'm not a fundamentalist. They wouldn't have anything to do with me.

I think he would agree that he's not saying anything profound, but he is saying something true. It's so true that he's in a constant state of shock he has to convince people to see what he sees.

And I agree with him.

Who invented for these men dialectics, the art of building up and pulling down; an art so evasive in its propositions, so far-fetched in its conjectures, so harsh, in its arguments, so productive of contentions— embarrassing even to itself, retracting everything, and really treating of nothing! Whence spring those "fables and endless genealogies," 1 Timothy 1:4 and "unprofitable questions," Titus 3:9 and "words which spread like a cancer?" 2 Timothy 2:17

From all these, when the apostle would restrain us, he expressly names philosophy as that which he would have us be on our guard against. Writing to the Colossians, he says, "See that no one beguile you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and contrary to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost."

He had been at Athens, and had in his interviews (with its philosophers) become acquainted with that human wisdom which pretends to know the truth, while it only corrupts it, and is itself divided into its own manifold heresies, by the variety of its mutually repugnant sects.

What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? What between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from "the porch of Solomon," who had himself taught that "the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart." Wisdom 1:1 Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief. For this is our palmary faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides.

Tim said...

Ann Althouse wrote…

"This is the part of the book that begins the discussion of the cancer screw up. It's the tragic flaw that killed him: reality distortion.

It also made him great."


I haven’t read Isaacson's book yet, but having come of age in what has become known as "Silicon Valley" in the '70's, I can attest many great things, done by great people who weren't willfully committed to ignoring reality, happened there. They had education, vision, discipline and, if lucky or persuasive, capital. Many of them proceeded Jobs and Apple, and without their work, he, his company and your wickedly neato iPhone wouldn’t have been possible. Lost in much of the hagiography of Jobs is that, in many ways, he was as much a product of his time and place as he was of his own effort. In that way, he was lucky. In attributing his successes to himself alone, he was unlucky. Someday, the Jobs story will be more balanced, especially as the distortion of reality fades to mere reality.

Alex said...

Jobs created the original Macintosh, NeXt, Pixar, iPod, iPhone, iPad. That's a pretty good list of achievement.

Alex said...

Tim - Jobs was a master at integrating technology into a user experience that nobody knew was possible before he did it. Before the iPhone, smartphones were clunky at best.

Tea Party at Perrysburg said...

I downloaded it on my iPad and the paging is totally screwed up. It jumps from 69 to 89 and back again. Plus when I first downloaded it you couldn't read it. Had to restart computer.

Tim said...

Alex,

Yes, I know. We all know, of course.

But he didn't get there all by himself, or only with people he led.

The iPhone is to the Handspring Treo what the Honda is the Model T. Without either the Treo or the Model T, neither the iPhone nor the Honda would have happened. One can make these comparisions to most Apple products (and I am not partisan in the Apple v. the world wars - I have Apple and other products).

Nor am I trying to discount the man's accomplishments - simply trying to scale them to reality. His own death seems to have created it's own distortion of his life.

Or so it seems.

Shanna said...

I'm not sure how large Kindle sections are/can be, but clearly some kind of canonical division of a work into small identifiable chunks, independent of page layout, is actually a good thing.

Well, don’t books still have chapters? Maybe hard to narrow but it should get you in searching distance.

I don’t think the page number thing is new, because there have always been multiple editions of books, and the page numbers change on those. That’s why you cite the edition.

J said...

Athens vs.. Jerusalem?

Viva Hellenes! (and that's not just about philosophy but say..Pythagoras, Euclid, et al). the New Testament was itself written in koine greek


(btwJobs didn't do much of anything except...choose designs,colors, work on user-friendliness", and help with marketing as many have pointed out ad nauseum).

Tim said...

But who knows about Jim Williams?

Erik said...

Just FYI, "Jobs's" is usually considered the preferred form when speaking of a single individual. "Steve Jobs's car": meaning the car owned by Steve Jobs. The usage "Jobs'" is considered to mean a plural possessive, ie. "The Jobs' car," the car owned by the Jobs family collectively.

Jose_K said...
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Jose_K said...

Book in kindle do have page number.
Press menu , beside the block , there are the first page showed number

Jose_K said...

Insanity is close to genius, Aristotle quoted by Nietzche

Kirk Parker said...

Shanna,

No, chapters are not nearly finely-grained enough. Numbered paragraphs would be better, but even that might be less than ideal in some situations.

And as far as different editions, that misses the point between dead-tree renditions and digital ones. When a new dead-tree edition comes out, those page numbers are set with the typesetting and do not change. There is no such fixed situation with the Kindle format, hence the need for a numbering scheme independent of pagination.

The Crack Emcee said...

deborah,

Crack, did your friend's death have something to do with New Age?

In a manner of speaking. Years ago, he started dating a woman who is now a San Francisco acupuncturist, and he was never the same after that. His brother and I used to be *tight* - a practical Three Muskateers - but, once she started filling his head with NewAge garbage, we could never make our friendship fit again.

The tragedy is he was a brilliant artist (much more technically professional than I've ever aspired to be) but, at the end, we were looking at his portfolio and, while the work was good, it didn't make any sense at all. Every one a head-scratcher, with brief left turns into him railing against cell phones. Simply madness.

I called the acupuncturist to tell her he was dead and what a despicable human being she is. His brother, and mother, both thanked me for that.

The Crack Emcee said...

J,

Dr Harris is new age? No--neither was Rand--you obviously haven't read either. I ve forwarded that to him. I don't exactly agree with Harris, but you just don't know fuck about the issues, Cracki. People's religious beliefs are none of yr business, little man.

J, you know I don't respect your opinion on much of anything, and I don't know why I engaged you here - I don't expect you to understand anything, including why so many of us regard you as a foul-mouthed fool - so I'm going back to ignoring you. Thanks.

It's been "fun."

Big Mike said...

@damikesc, about twenty years ago one of the big techie magazines -- Datamation, perhaps -- ran an article profiling the Silicon Valley movers and shakers.

According to the article, when they interviewed people who knew the various individuals being profiled, the same "seven letter word starting with 'a'" came up over and over when describing Steve Jobs.

It's one of those little things that sticks with you over the years.

edwardroyce said...

"No, chapters are not nearly finely-grained enough. Numbered paragraphs would be better, but even that might be less than ideal in some situations."

With differing page lengths and so the number of pages in a book being anything but absolute the only way to really reference a book, particularly an ebook, is by word count.

That way you can be certain, at least for a specific edition, that the reference will actually match.

Kirk Parker said...

edwardroyce,

That's an interesting suggestion, but I wonder: either you'd have to maintain some kind of index by word, else else do a linear search. In a short book the size and time expense is trivial, either way, but for something large I would expect it would be overwhelming.

Or, I suppose, a sparse index--e.g. every thousandth word is indexed, so to find word 10,477 you can go right to the byte offset of word 10,000 and then only have to scan ahead 477 words.

jamboree said...
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jamboree said...
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KL said...

My dear Ann, update your Kindle!! Then you can push the Menu button and see what page you are on!!

deborah said...

Thanks, Crack. From the other thread about the govt having a monopoly on education, one reason to keep the present structure is because with vouchers, everyone will be able to set up their own off-beat schools such as New age and Sharia and extreme Christian fundamentalism. We'll become a country of warring camps.

Kirk Parker said...

("We'll become a country of warring camps. ")

Shhhhhhh... nobody tell her!

deborah said...

;)