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Steve Jobs on Death Ending and Changing All

Stanford Commencement Address, text and video in Stanford Report  (June 12, 2005).

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s quite true. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

2 thoughts on “Steve Jobs on Death Ending and Changing All

  1. Monty says:

    Re: Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement address, 06/12/2005

    Immediately following the quote provided by, Steve Jobs said, “Everything else is secondary.”

    Nowhere in his address did he have any advice or mention any consideration for preparation for life’s final period. This is noticeable, given his state of health at the time and his other reflections on death.

    It appears that to Jobs, God was a non-issue and a non-entity. I am reminded of the passage from Ephesians 2:12, “without hope and without God in the world.” Such is the picture that we get of Steve Jobs. Yet his focus on self and “life is all there is” philosophy was so highly valued at this prestigious university event.

    Shouldn’t people “believe in themselves”? Sure. But if you’re leaving God out of the picture, you’re going to get to the end of the road, and what will you find there? You’re at God’s front door. And you’re out of time. Your dreams, your aspirations, everything you wanted, everything you ever wanted to become — those are the things that you will find to be, not just secondary, but totally worthless.

    Those advocating that the focus of life should be “Believe in yourself” might not believe in God, but that doesn’t mean that one day sooner or later they will not be faced with whether or not their beliefs amount to anything.

    God bless Steve Jobs. He said absolutely nothing of any eternal significance, even when he knew that eternity would be his next big event. I find that simply amazing. Unbelievable.

    Be alert to “Believe in yourself.” Be aware. Don’t be fooled. When they say “Believe in yourself,” they usually are really saying, “Believe in yourself instead of God.” That’s bad advice — very bad advice.

  2. nathanjacobson says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Monty. I am reminded of Peter Kreeft’s observation about the critical question: “Is death a door or a hole?” The inclusion of Jobs’ quote here at does not constitute an endorsement, but it strikes me that his observations about the role of death on this mortal coil are accurate enough. In any case, I think Basil Mitchell is right that, in view of an afterlife and judgment, our earthly existence is a “theatre of irrevocable choices”. The import of how we spend our days here and now is heightened, not diminished by an afterlife.

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