Category Archives: Wisdom

Steve Jobs and our need to control

I read the quote in the post on the Daily Dish at least twice:

Stephen Budiansky reflects on the "depressing facts about Jobs’s meanness, vanity, and narcissism now coming out":

With that same petty and narcissistic fixation that we can control everything in our own personal destiny—and for no other ends than our own betterment—Jobs, we read, first attempted to treat his cancer with mumbo-jumbo fruit juice diets and psychic spiritualism, then by ultrascientifically trying to become his own medical authority, spending $100,000 to have his DNA sequenced, acting altogether as if no one had ever had cancer, or at least such an important cancer, before.

I found myself remembering the story of Einstein’s final days on this earth. Hospitalized with a ruptured aneurysm, he refused surgery, explaining, "I want to go when I want. It is in bad taste to prolong life artificially; I have done my share, it is time to go." But then our heroes today are no Einsteins.

The Dark Side Of Steve Jobs
Andrew Sullivan
Fri, 28 Oct 2011 20:42:00 GMT

So what do you make of that dear readers?

First, I find myself thinking I’m not sure Einstein wasn’t as much desiring to be in control as Jobs.  He say so, doesn’t he?  That he wants to go when he wants.  I guess the key was he accepted he was going.  He accepted that life is given to us without our asking or deserving.  He didn’t presume he could stay if he wanted.  Job in contrast sounds like the control freak’s control freak.

I think most of us want to think we have more control over our lives than we really do.  A dozen things could kill any of us, or all of us (the planet) today, but we plan and prepare on the assumption that we’ll be around doing largely what we do now for well into the future.

We likely will be around too judging from the past, and we do need to prepare for that.  On the other hand, it really isn’t up to us.  God gave us a planet that will sustain life, if we don’t muck it up trying to impress ourselves with our own powers.  If you don’t believe in God at least grant that you didn’t choose for the planet to exist.  Our parents chose to raise well or not so well, and we take our “place” in the world.  None of us really choose that either.

My point is we ought to be humble and recognize that we are given life by grace.  The Christian gospel suggests we are saved from our sin and folly by grace as well.  Christians given their belief in grace would also do well to chill about raging every time someone gets an undeserved “bailout”, especially those who had modest boats to be bailed out in the first place. 

Frankly, I think one reason people get some bent out of shape about bailouts is they don’t want to acknowledge the randomness of existence, and our living by grace.  To a tea parties:  If someone needs a bailout, its their fault they fell on bad times; and more important that would never happen to me!  Thinking otherwise is acknowledging that there but for the grace of God go I.  It’s acknowledging how little control we have of our lives.

That lack of control is what this piece made me think or.  Your thoughts?



I think life acquires most of its meaning from having connections with something larger than yourself, whether that is family, friends, your God, your country or other, and trying to add something good to something beyond yourself.  I’ve touched on this before.

In other words showing love and hopefully being loved.  Love those close to you, and treasure your time together.  It doesn’t last forever.  We have had a death in my sister’s family to remind us of that. 

God bless you all.

This is one of my favorite songs, and passages from the Bible as well.

Here’s Joni Mitchell on the song: