Late to the Wake . . .
My friend Bill Vallicella has already posted this passage from the 2005 Stanford commencement address by Steve Jobs, but I recall being impressed when I first read it back in 2005, so I'm posting it anyway:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.That photo above can serve as an ironic memento mori, an iconic image of a young, healthy Jobs proffering an apple, the logo of his brand before the bite has been taken, before we realize that we are mortal, naked . . . except that from where we stand, we now know for certain the radical contingency of life. I'm late to the wake, but here I stand, knowing that I'll be on time for my own.
I would say, "Requiescat in Pace, Steve," but that somehow doesn't seem to fit a relentlessly restless man like Mr. Jobs, so I'll instead echo his own words and say, "Wherever you are, man, 'Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.'"
Oh, just one more thing: "So long, and thanks for all the Apples . . ."