Think Different

Yes, I am typing this on a Mac, and I recently got an iPhone. But the message of this ad (narrated by Jobs), is perhaps Jobs’ most important legacy.

Think different. Which is an echo of Lincoln’s great–and ever more pertinent–exhortation:

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Think Different
Image by secretagent007 via Flickr

Ironically, the next rebellion, the next paradigm shift in thinking we really need, is not about engineering cool, new stuff, that will make our lives easier or more amusing. It will instead take us away from a lifestyle built around acquiring exactly that sort of stuff.

But it is a testament to Jobs, and the fact that his engineering does so much more than divert and amuse, that if I had to make a list of 100 things to keep, his technology would definitely be on it.

PS: The quote above was from Lincoln’s Annual Message To Congress, Dec. 1, 1862, as he tried to lay the ground for the Emancipation Proclamation. He also said, and I add this because it resonates so powerfully in a time in which Congress knows what to do but won’t act, for partisan political reasons:

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it.

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