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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Narcissism Gets Shit Done

Steve Jobs smelled.

Early on, he didn't shower. He would sometimes hike his funky feet up during meetings or interviews. He shit on ideas he didn't like and, sometimes, claimed the ones he did as his own. He's been described as difficult, insufferable, overbearing, pretentious and narcissistic.

But he got shit done.

According to Walter Isaacson's biography, Jobs studied Zen at an early age that most likely contributed to his laser-beam focus and famed reality distortion field. If he wanted something, he made it happen. He also stomped a lot of mudholes in a lot of assholes. He was an end-justifies-the-means sort of guy.

He seemed completely indifferent to others' opinions. When every person in the universe complained of his horrific body odor, he simply declared that he did not stink and forged ahead. When an engineer said something couldn't be done, he berated him and belittled him until it happened. He valued beauty and simplicity but also didn't seem to give a shit about anything that got in the way of that.

A focus-only Zen practice that eschews understanding can get messy. That sort of power can supercharge a self-centered life. People get hurt. Some Zen practices emphasize a "bottom-up" practice, one that seeks understanding of one's life and joriki, or Zen power, is not as important as the way in which one lives.

Who knows, maybe all the people in Jobs's life did have shitty ideas and maybe they did deserve to what they got. Maybe his take-no-prisoners approach pushed them to greater personal growth and lifted human spirit to loftier heights and brought the world closer to spiritual Oneness.

Or maybe he just made a cool phone.

Either way, he wouldn't give a shit what I think.


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