Ethics professor: The late but not great Steve Jobs; world would be poorer if we were all like Jobs

“The world mourned Jobs’ death a few weeks ago,” Arthur Dobrin, who teaches applied ethics at Hofstra University, writes for Psychology Today. “Why, then, don’t I join the chorus of hosannas? Whether Job’s contribution to our lives is all to the good is debatable. The impact of Apple’s works on our social life is ambiguous, making us more connected to the larger world and alienated from our immediate surroundings, both at the same time. Just think of the person across from you at a table who is texting a friend from across the world.”

“His heroic status is seriously undermined by his personal moral failures and it this which prevents me from holding him up as an icon for young people. Where there is no vision, a people perish, the New Testament says,” Dobrin writes. “But it isn’t any vision that people need for sustenance. It is a moral vision that is essential.”

Dobrin writes, “Jobs wasn’t the kind of person I want to emulate. The world would be poorer if we were all like him. Whether genius requires such narcissism is an open question. But if we are to venerate Steve Jobs, let’s not be fooled into thinking that he was a good person. And it the vision of goodness upon which a people’s futures rest.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If we all were like Steve Jobs, today we’d be able to ignore the holier-than-thou scribbles of a Hofstra egghead from our beautiful homes on a terraformed Mars.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

90 Comments

      1. Agree; Jobs’ personal failures were done quite long in the past. And not sure that these were exactly moral failures, since, for example, when he did not believe that the daughter was his, he honestly did not believe that. It was not moral issue, it was issue of misjudgement.

  1. “Why, then, don’t I join the chorus of hosannas?”

    Because I wouldn’t land any contrarian clicks for the shitpile armchair psychology site I’m scribbling for. Besides, judging someone’s personal life is a lot easier than compiling the list of industries the person revolutionized or making note of the millions of lives he bettered.

    If we were all Arthur Dobrins, we’d be slinging condescending commentary about each other instead of doing the work that goes into changing the world.

    1. Also because that would have required him to get off his a** and actually write something in the few days after Steve Jobs’ death, instead of several weeks later when no one is interested in giving hosannas any more.

  2. I agree with him that technology changes the fabric of communities i just don’t agree that it is a bad thing and i dont blame steve jobs for any negative effects.

    1. Technology is just a tool, like fire or the automobile, and how it’s used determines whether it is beneficial.

      Just an example: We realized halfway through our sons’ middle school baseball season last year (first year of the school) that we didn’t have any photos of the boys. My wife and several others started taking photos and video clips of the action, and at the end of the year banquet (we won the championship) I put together a fantastic video set to music and showing all the boys in action. It was a great time had by all, and I gave DVDs to all the players. I can’t count the compliments we received on it, or how much the boys and their families appreciated being able to relive the season. It’s still a great conversation piece, and now we have parents taking photos and video from the beginning knowing that I want them later.

      That could not have been done easily without Apple and the technology pushed by Steve Jobs.

      1. I put together DVDs of my kids quarterly and mail them to their great grand parents. They do not have a computer but they do have a DVD player and they really enjoy getting a DVD in the mail with all the moments they were not there to see.

        I agree 100%. 🙂

  3. He didn’t even get the Biblical allusion right. That verse is from the Old Testament book of Proverbs, not the New Testament. Those dang Gideons confusing people with their New Testaments with Psalms and Proverbs at the back!

          1. I damn the atheists for their prejudicial behavior under the guise of “free thinking” when it serves as an excuse to put down other people for their belief. There are true atheists and then there are the anti-religious. Jobs certainly had his times when he did not believe in a higher power but other times he searched for spiritual meaning. I see no reason to insult him or other people with belief systems simply because you hate. Have a nice day 🙂

  4. Every society has at its core an ever present politically correct group of ‘do gooders’ and sanctimonious ‘whiners & whingers’ who quietly await any and every opportunity to pen there misguided thoughts in an attempt to gain a minutia of attention for themselves.
    Now please go away and play in traffic you jerk!

    1. This professor is living in his ivory tower. Talking about moral vision Dobrin needs to get his priorities right. Blinded by the many moral issues found in government and public institutions like banks, centers of higher learning, etc there is no need for Dobrin to manufacture one where there is none. If there is anyone that has failed society, it is the moral elitist such as Dobrin that deserves the Oscar for obfuscation.

      1. This has nothing to do with “ivory towers” or “do gooders” or “whiners”. This has to do with
        1. someone talking out their ass about a person with which they are not familiar.
        2. A poor view of the big picture

        These are not particular to academics – they are seen throughout society.

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