The Passing of Steve Jobs


NOM has had its issues with Apple and Steve Jobs. But the passing of what, by any standards, is a great man, is not the time for hashing out issues.

When I was young, Steve Jobs was also young. Now he is gone.

Others are better qualified to eulogize his achievements. I was struck in the publicity surrounding his death by the attention paid to Steve's complicated family background.

He was born to two political science graduate students in 1955 who gave him up for adoption. They did not abort him, and they gave him a family that Steve Jobs insisted was his real parents.

His father, a high school dropout, seems to have been an enormous influence on him.

He reconnected as an adult with his biological family members through his sister Mona Simpson, who is a nationally acclaimed novelist.

He is by his own account (and he was very chary of sharing personal information) close to his sister. Their similarities caused him to re-evaluate the importance of biology.

His connection to his father--not his biofather--may have also lead to his determined failure to reconnect with his biological father.

Many ways to intersect with this complicated story. His living biological father spoke to the press in August in what is clearly a desperate (and failed) attempt to get Steve Jobs to communicate.

A lot of pathos. No clear conclusions. But somehow biology does matter:

“This might sound strange, though, but I am not prepared, even if either of us was on our deathbed, to pick up the phone to call him,” Jandali told the newspaper. “Steve will have to do that as the Syrian pride in me does not want him ever to think I am after his fortune. I am not. I have my own money. What I don’t have is my son ... and that saddens me.”

We cannot explain to ourselves why, but it does.