First, Darwin describes Jobs's (far mode) stance towards death:
As Aschwin points out Jobs is on record (his Stanford Commencement Speech) as saying that death is the best thing that ever happened to life - that it clears out the old, and makes way for the new.
But these are Jobs's actual (near mode) actions regarding his own death:
The really big story, so far largely unexploited by the media, is that Jobs got a liver transplant and got it here in the US. This just does not happen in patients with his Dx and prognosis - not since Mickey Mantle, anyway. And his outcome was exactly as was predicted. This infuriates those 'in the know' in the transplant community, because you have only to look to guys like Jim Neighbors, Larry Hagman, or even Larry Kramer who got livers many years or even a decade or two ago, and who continue not only to survive, but to do well. To put the liver of a 25-year old into a ~54 year old man with metastatic neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer violates the established protocols of just about every transplant center in the US.
I find it more than a little hypocritical that Jobs, who spoke so glowingly of the utility of death for others, used every bit of medical technology AND his considerable wealth and influence, to postpone it for it himself, including the expedient of taking a GIFT, given with the sole intention of its being used to provide genuinely life saving benefit (not a futile exercise in medical care) and squandering it on a doomed attempt to save his own life. If you have the temerity to stand before the entire population of this planet and proclaim the goodness of death, then you should have the balls to accept it - especially when your own warped, erroneous and IRRATIONAL decision making was the proximate cause of your own dying. Instead, Jobs chose to grasp at straws, take a gift from a dead man and his family, given in good faith, and squander it on his own lust for more of the very thing (life) that he has publicly proclaimed it is a second best to "Death (which) is very likely the single best invention of life."
Relevant. (Summary: Jobs' type of cancer is relatively treatable when caught early, which it was. Unfortunately, he delayed 'conventional' treatment for nine months in favor of an 'alternative' diet.)
Not sure what moral to take from this. Fear of mortality makes people do crazy things, perhaps?
When people ask, "What's the harm in believing in Astrology/Homeopathy/Alternative Medicine/etc" or "What good is rationality", remember this as an example. Steve Jobs died because he did not make rational choices and because he trusted in sham science.
It's easy for people to brush off numbers from some websites by saying they're inaccurate. But a single example can stick in their minds. I hope that his death can serve to ward others away from such dangerous practices. I hope that the next time someone thinks about abandoning rational decisionmaking, especially in the health field, they remember this lesson paid for in blood: One of the richest and most beloved CEOs in the world died because of alternative medicine. The same thing can easily happen to you if you do the same.
I hope his memory can still contribute to the world by sparing others of the same fate.
One thing that's much more trustworthy than average is the claim: "Early detected disease X? We can totally fix that!" It's a falsifiable claim.
Claims that are deeply tied to statistics, statistical significance, fuzzy definitions, subtle effects, or other things are more likely to be the wrong ones.
Intelligence in one area is evidence of intelligence in another, but not infinite evidence. Problem dissolved.
Liver stealer. Handicapped-space parker. Charity non-donor.
I like Bill Gates better.
So if Woz had been willing to do the contract for $200 but didn't tell this to Jobs, would this make Woz a bad person?
Would you stay friends with someone who did to you what I just said Jobs did to Woz? Would you not be angry about it at all?
Here's the correct story, from Wikipedia, with 5 citations:
Alcorn assigned Steve Jobs to design a prototype. Jobs was offered US$750, with an extra $100 each time a chip was eliminated from the prospected design. Jobs promised to complete a prototype within four days.
Jobs noticed his friend Steve Wozniak—employee of Hewlett-Packard—was capable of producing designs with a small number of chips, and invited him to work on the hardware design with the prospect of splitting the $750 wage. Wozniak had no sketches and instead interpreted the game from its description. To save parts, he had "tricky little designs" difficult to understand for most engineers. Near the end of development, Wozniak considered moving the high score to the screen's top, but Jobs claimed Bushnell wanted it at the bottom; Wozniak was unaware of any truth to his claims. The original deadline was met after Wozniak did not sleep for four days straight. In the end 50 chips were removed from Jobs' original design. This equated to a US$5,000 bonus, which Jobs kept secret from Wozniak, instead only paying him $375.
So, did he get himself frozen anyway? Apart from his professed attitude to death, he did also say in that commencement address that nobody wants to die, not even the ones who think they'll go to heaven. He would have been an ideal candidate: dying in his prime of a non-brain-threatening disease, plenty of advance warning that the day was coming, and enough money to pay for the best possible care.
If we're going to dissect Job's comments and measure how hyprocritical he is from a handful of sentences at a commencement, we should at least once see the full context:... (read more)
The common understanding is that death is a great thing, after a life well lived, not during. (with the unmentioned implication that dementia had set in years ago and no more production is being done.)
One might however argue that Steve created more utilons with the time he got from the transplant than any other receiver would have.
Jobs's statement came in the part of the speech where he talks about how knowledge of the possibility of death can motivate a life well lived. He does say about dying that "that is how it should be" but he never says that you should accept death, he says that knowing you're going to die someday is a great motivator. Presumably it motivated him to get a liver transplant. I don't really see any hypocrisy.
Just think how hypocritical it is to err on record, but then go on benefiting from correct ideas like nothing happened. Thank heavens we can rely on honest men to be wrong every time.
How long ago did Jobs receive the liver transplant?
I'll agree with Nornagest on the insult to injury part, but there's also a second part:
If you talk about someone's failings after they die, but not before, then you seem to have been waiting until they were no longer available to defend themselves.
IOW: it seems cowardly, and dishonest. Because if they were still around, they might be able to dismiss your allegations.
Unless, you know, as Jobs got older and became less of a youth-obsessed person, his "utility of death" view was abandoned.
Gosh, he must have grown up a lot in those 6 years since his 2005 commencement speech.
Did you know that the speech was only 6 years ago when you made your original comment?