Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Four Noble Truths of Apple

The big story in the high tech media this week pertaining to Apple Computer was about Steve Jobs.

I am wondering if the story that matters, where people matter, lies submerged. When I read what passes for news in the American press, I have learned to ignore the headlines and look for the real story. The real story is usually staring, glaringly, back at us. One opens the eyes allowing the outside words to refract freely within.

Wandering too late amidst the cold, mountainous wasteland of paper words, the red maples interrupt the reluctant sun.

Fortune Magazine could be expected, almost by definition, to be ignorant about the value of people. The Trouble with Steve Jobs, relates facts about Jobs' pancreatic cancer and the many months passing without having notified Apple stockholders. Okay. Fair enough. It's a story. The stockholders, presumably, would have been angry with Jobs' had he suffered a demise without declaring beforehand his "demisable" condition. Fortunately for Apple, and the stockholders, and Apple people like me who not just use Apple products but live by them, he is still among the quick. Fortunate for himself and his family, foremost.

Another story lies somewhere on the surface of any corporate media reporting, found floundering, just itching to be read. Where people matter. Corporate feudalism among the cubicle tenant farmers pounding out programs at Apple lies beneath a transparent veneer of power, and the abuse of power.

The assertion in the Fortune Mag article that Jobs is a Buddhist poses a conundrum.


In one sentence? Isn't that rather like combining the words "Bush" and "humanitarian" in one sentence? Makes you scratch your head.

Do words have any on-the-ground meaning anymore? Did they ever? The most powerful, and insidious, propaganda isn't what we think it is. It's not posters proclaiming "War is Peace" but rather the unconscious, or deliberate, use of language in a context where that expression has no meaning. The accidental oxymoron is a direct path to discovering the foundations of cultural power relations. Human consciousness is an instrumental, illusory veneer smeared over bubbling biology.

None, yet the words roll on as if we address the subtext as real, when it's not.


What does it mean to be a Buddhist?
What does it mean to assert that Steve Jobs is a Buddhist?
Do the two landscapes of language intersect? and if so, how?

Not knowing Steve Jobs. Never having met the man, I must resort to hearsay and "reports." That caveat plopped down here and now, yet no one would characterize Jobs' middle name as compassion. What has been said about this very public figure strays far from what one associates with Buddhism. He has been described as a tyrant in the workplace, as a man ready and willing to dish out in generous portions, verbal abuse directed at employees. When software programing at Apple doesn't follow the Diamond Sutra path of perfection, Jobs' cosmic job seems to more closely approximate Shiva, than a Bodhisattva.

The Four Noble Truths of Apple
  1. Life is suffering—and if you work at Apple Inc, you can count on it.
  2. The origin of suffering is attachment—to Steve Jobs.
  3. The cessation of suffering is attainable—the Infinite Loop is an illusion!
  4. The end of suffering is along the Eight-Fold Path—down the hall, make a left; exit.

Where in Apple Inc, or in the larger context of our culture, do we publicly acknowledge that people matter? Never take the corporate media seriously, says the plastic Laughing Buddha!

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