27 thoughts on “Farewell and Well Done”

  1. Jobs on LSD:


    Saturday, Oct 8, 2011
    Steve Jobs and drug policy

    By Glenn Greenwald


    It’s fascinating to juxtapose America’s reverence for Steve Jobs’ accomplishments and its draconian drug policy with this, from the New York Times‘ obituary of Jobs:

    [Jobs] told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.

    Unlike many people who have enjoyed success, Jobs is not saying that he was able to succeed despite his illegal drug use; he’s saying his success is in part — in substantial part — because of those illegal drugs (he added that Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once”). These quotes (first published by a New York Times reporter) have been around for some time but have been only rarely discussed in the recent hagiographies of Jobs: a notable omission given that he himself praised those experiences as an integral part of his identity and one of the most important things he ever did. A surprisingly good Time Magazine article elaborates on this Jobs-LSD connection further:

    The paradoxes of love have perhaps never been clearer than in our relationships with Apple products — the warm, fleshy desire we feel for such cold, hard, glassy objects. But Jobs knew how to inspire material lust. He knew that consumers want something that not only sparkles and awes, but also feels accessible, easy to use, an object with which we want to merge and to feel one and the same. . . .

    Not coincidentally, that’s how people describe the experience of taking psychedelic drugs. It feels profoundly artificial yet deeply real, both high-tech and earthy-crunchy, human and mystically divine — in a word, transcendent. Jobs had this experience. . . . As attested by the nearly spiritual devotion so many consumers have to Jobs’ creations, the former Apple chief (and indeed many other top technology pioneers) appeared to have found enduring inspiration in LSD. Research shows that the psychedelic experience is, in fact, long lasting: a new study published last week found that people who took magic mushrooms (psilocybin) had long-term personality changes, becoming more open, more curious, more intellectually engaged and more creative. These personality shifts persisted more than a year after taking the drugs.

    America’s harsh prohibitionist drug policies are grounded in the premise that the prohibited substances have little or no redeeming value and cannot be used without life-destroying consequences. Yet the evidence of its falsity is undeniable. Here is one of the most admired men in America, its greatest contemporary industrialist, hailing one of the most scorned of these substances as integral to his success and intellectual and personal growth. The current President commendably acknowledged cocaine and marijuana use while there is evidence suggesting the prior President also used those substances. One of America’s most accomplished athletes was caught using marijuana at the peak of his athletic achievements. And millions upon millions of American adults have consumed some or many of those criminally prohibited substances, and themselves will say (like Jobs) that they had important and constructive experiences with those drugs or know someone who did.

    In short, the deceit at the heart of America’s barbaric drug policy — that these substances are such unadulterated evils that adults should be put in cages for voluntarily using them — is more glaring than ever. In light of his comments about LSD, it’s rather difficult to reconcile America’s adoration for Steve Jobs with its ongoing obsession with prosecuting and imprisoning millions of citizens (mostly poor and minorities) for doing what Jobs, Obama, George W. Bush, Michael Phelps and millions of others have done. Obviously, most of these banned substances — like alcohol, gambling, sex, junk food consumption, prescription drug use and a litany of other legal activities — can create harm to the individual and to others when abused (though America’s solution for drug users — prison — also creates rather substantial harm to the drug user and to others, including their spouses, parents and children: at least as much harm as, and usually substantially more than, the banned drugs themselves). But no rational person can doubt that these substances can also be used responsibly and constructively; just study Steve Jobs’ life if you doubt that.

    Jobs’ praise for his LSD use is what I kept returning to as I read about the Obama DOJ’s heinous new policy to use the full force of criminal prosecutions against medical marijuana dispensaries in California. (end of excerpt)

  2. puzzling,

    I should have said “successfully”. Microsoft won their appeal in that instance and got the biggest threat against them – threat of break up – removed. There is no comparison to the trade practices of the two companies either. Microsoft’s bad practices had to do with a software company using market dominance to force PC manufactures to use their software exclusively. Just one of Microsoft’s many anti-competitive and legally questionable actions. If they continue SOP under Ballmer’s regime though, it’s only a matter of time before they run afoul of the DOJ again (if the DOJ is actually doing their job, but that’s another story). Eventually they’ll do something they can’t avoid responsibility for is my bet. Ethically speaking? It is my firm opinion that Microsoft sucks.

    Apple is a very different kind of company. They manufacture equipment first and are a software company as a byproduct. They aren’t concerned with forcing other companies to use their software. They are concerned with keeping other companies from using their software on non-Apple manufactured machines (see Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corp., 673 F. Supp. 2d 943 – 2009). There a big difference between protecting your intellectual property and trying to force people to buy your product. Apple is more interested in competing the old fashioned way: building a better mousetrap. Apple has nothing to worry about from an antitrust standpoint at this point in time. How their management performs in a post-Jobs era remains to be seen. In the mean time? You are fear-mongering for no good reason.

  3. Ah- typos – make that last Mac No. 10!

    BTW, my son had an Apple II, whose serial no. was 000003. I don’t know where it is now, but I was told that if we opened it we would have found Jobs and the Woz had engraved their names.

  4. I worked for Apple’s patent attorneys as a paralegal for 17 years. I always bought Macs (at full price: the joke was that we didn’t discount our billables and they didn’t discount their Macs!). I’m retired and still have our 7th, 8th, 9th and 20th macs up and working.

    I always named our macs after robtos in sci-fi movies, like Huey, Dewie and Louie from Silent Running. We are about to buy a new MacBook Pro, and this one I will name “Steve”.

  5. “Apple’s biggest threat is an antitrust shakedown by the federal government.”

    Call me when the DOJ goes after Microsoft.

    Then and only then should Apple be concerned about an antitrust action.

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