Sunday, October 9, 2011

09/10 VOX POPULI: Steve Jobs will continue to inspire young people

Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a daily column that runs on Page 1 of the vernacular Asahi Shimbun.


A pithy poem by Michio Mado, titled "Chigai Kurabe" (Comparing the difference), goes: "Haka (graves) are for the dead/ Baka (foolishness) is for the living."

"Baka" is a versatile word. Calling someone "baka" is an insult, but the word can also be used to express one's warm affection for the person. I believe Mado used it in the latter sense in his poem, as a tribute to humanity.

The same positive feeling is there in Steve Jobs' exhortation to young people to "stay foolish" in his famous Stanford University commencement address in 2005. The charismatic co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. died on Oct. 5.

His life was testimony to his innovative genius and defiance of convention, going far beyond mere "cleverness."

I could easily fill this column with his impressive achievements, including the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and other revolutionary products. Every time Jobs created something new, only to destroy it later, people around the world eagerly looked forward to the next round of creativity with great curiosity.

Many people learned of his passing on their smartphones, a type of product that was essentially his creation. Cyberspace was filled with tweeted messages of mourning and remembrance. At 56, death came too early, but perhaps he left this world satisfied with his achievements as a standard bearer of revolutionary information technology.

Jobs also said in his Stanford commencement speech: "Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

He has left us for his final resting place, but I have no doubt that he will continue to inspire and bring encouragement to young people.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 8

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.

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