I guess I’ve missed the hype, but finally I finished this world-wide bestseller ‘Steve Jobs‘ by Walter Isaacson. Actually I had already added this book to the shopping list of my Amazon account, when the sad news spread all over the world on October 5, 2011. My slow reading took almost three months to finish this 600+ page biography. Since most of the readers of this blog should have already known his charismatic yet eccentric personality as well as the ‘dent’ he made in the universe, I won’t comment on his leadership or achievements. Rather, I will pick up the three cultural influences in his early life – Yogi, Ashram, and 1984.
Before the explosion of the offshore IT industry, the typical perception towards India was the place where you find your spiritual guidance. People came to India in search for a teacher, or Yogi, for the inner peace. 1974 was the year Jobs traveled to India and 1970’s was the peak of this subculture movement. Even today, people come to India not only to sign a partnership contract with a local company to expand their footprint in this growing economy but also to find his Yogi. A couple of weeks ago at an old temple of Mahaballiprum, I met a group of pilgrims flew from the US and Japan led by a New York-born Yogi.
When Jobs travelled to India, he stayed at an ashram, where the residents perform meditations while living together secluded from the outside material world. Such ashrams are ubiquitous in India. For example, Auroville, an “ideal township devoted to an experiment in human unity” near Chennai was built in 1968 by a French immigrant. On another occasion, I came across with a young French guy who had dropped out from a four-week meditation class at a local ashram, in which you are not supposed to speak any word at all. India is still a destination for those who seek for the truth of the universe and the meaning of the existence.
Jobs considered himself and Apple as a rebel. In the early years of Apple, a TV commercial was made to after George Orwell’s 1984, a rebellion against the Big Brothers, say IBM. The fictional world of 1984 was what Jobs fought against. Interestingly, on the very next day when his biography was published, another world-wide best-seller came out – Haruki Murakami‘s ‘1Q84.’ As the number 9 in Japanese is pronounced in the same sound with English ‘Q,’ ‘1Q84’ actually sounds ‘1984’ in Japanese. An important side story of the book is about another Yogi, who created a self-sustainable Ashram in 1970s. His Ashram, however, went to the extreme on the violent fundamentalism and became a true rebel against the real Big Brother – the government. As if caught in Jobs’ reality distortion field, the two main characters in the book went lost into a parallel world, where the universe is dented, not by iPhone, but by two moons in the night sky.
Come to India for spritual discovery. Your search of inner peace may bear great fruit, like Apple.