It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.
To be expected, my parent’s television set died about a month ago. It was 36″ big-box Magnavox set from the 90’s and it was simply it’s time to go. So after being hauled out of the living room by the three people required to haul it out, my dad decided that, instead of going however long he was going to have to go without football, he’d move their littler TV from the kitchen into the living room.
So there it sat: A 13″ television where a 36″ once sat. Awkward. Like something out of a National Lampoon movie with Chevy Chase.
Then, yesterday, the congregation at my dad’s church surprised him with a 50″ flat-screen for pastor appreciation month, and he was giddy as a school boy. Of course, after church, he had to teach a class, but when he got home around five, football was on without hesitation.
To celebrate this new technological advancement at the Ryan home, Amanda and I went over to their place for dinner and watch a movie. Preferably something Halloween-ish. Maybe something scary. So, obviously, we picked It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! because it’s both of those.
As we were watching Linus slip in the leaves, I noticed something. My mom’s face, lit by nothing other than the TV, was glowing. She was laughing at Linus, and she looked so pretty. My dad was laughing too. So was my little sister Lyndsey. And so was Amanda. I couldn’t see anything other than their reaction to something on a screen, but it, almost entirely, summed up what makes them beautiful.
I’ve been trying, since Steve Jobs died, to figure out why he meant so much to the world. Of course his products are amazing, and I’ll, likely, be an Apple fanboy until the end. But his products are merely products. Things. Steve Jobs meant so much to the world because he realized that tech for tech’s sake is pointless. He understood that technology’s job is to illuminate humanity; that it is merely a mirror for how humanity is feeling (i.e. Twitter), or a conduit for content (i.e. football).
Apple products achieve those ends effortlessly because Steve seemed to understand the value that technology could add to humanity. And unlike many companies in the tech industry, he knew that the only true innovation was the kind that gently took people to places they didn’t realize they wanted to go.
Thank you, Steve.