I was rather gentle in discussing my curiosity about the adulation of Steven Jobs. A friend Val Lewis added to my post with a truer picture of his dark side. Here is what she said.

 “Jobs was a genius and certainly advanced our knowledge, but don’t forget that he was part of a team and was not the sole brain- the other Steve, Wozniak was the engineer. And also lets not forget that these new technological toys are all made in third world or Chinese sweat shops.The factory that Apple uses has been particularly awful and there were 10 suicides in 2010, there was child labor, and industrial poisons…Steve Jobs knew about it all, but it has taken years for Apple to do anything to improve this, and only after consider media scrutiny. One might wonder at the amount of outpouring of grief there has been for a billionaire who made his fortune via the labour in sweatshops.”

Many people seen as saints or heroes have a dark side, Mother Theresa had hers, Gandhi was somewhat of a racist.  Many of those we see as political greats when examined too closely are shown to be just people after all. Many of our founding fathers owned slaves as did most of the wealthy in the world throughout most of time. I suspect my father’s people were slave holders for he was a Southerner and his family farmers.  Our country grew great by exterminating the First Nation people.  All people have a dark side and not all people contain it. When the surrounding cultural promotes anti-social beliefs.

Witch hunting does not advance the world, sadly neither does unquestioned hero worship.   We the people apparently crave extreme models, people with the focus and drive to do more than the average person does.  I am glad for the good people do and as Val points out, Jobs helped advanced the spread of information and the connectedness of the world.  I am, however, less forgiving of his exploitation of others than I am of Mother Theresa and Gandhi’s  more human side and flaws.

I also keep in mind that people are the mirrors of their culture.  I also believe there are anti-social cultures, just as there are anti-social people.  Focus on culture helps me be less condemning of any one person.  The veneration of Jobs says a great deal to me about the current problems haunting the world–consumerism without compassion; focusing on one’s own goals without thought about the consequences to others.  Sadly such focus is often necessary to become a star in any field.  American culture venerates stars.

The Arabian Spring and the Wall Street protests point to a growing awareness of the need for greater financial justice.  I fervently hope they are about more than disgruntled youth wanting a share of the pie, but about really wanting a world without slavery–either to certain beliefs or to the corporate world.   I am hopeful, but not blind.

The Jewish Holidays draw to a close tomorrow. We  Jews will be fasting in part to remind ourselves of those forced to fast every day.  How privileged we are to volunteer to fast and to do so, knowing our fast will quickly end?  We will also confess our sins;  and we will confess to all sins.  I have not raped anyone, but I will confess to rape. I have not murdered anyone, but I will confess to murder.  I do steal for I have more than I need and that robs others of what they need.  I will confess to stealing.  I have not committed adultery, but I will confess to adultery.

Why confess to sins I have not committed?  Because I am a member of a community that has not been able to keep others from sin.  We are becoming a world community, my most heartfelt prayer on this day of atonement will be that there will be peace on earth not through the coming of a savior, but from the growing compassion rooted in the knowledge that we are one family.   Pray with me or if not given to prayer, hold to that thought.  More important than all the prayers or thoughts, however, is the need to act for world good.  Faith is a hope and I am a person of faith, but faith is not enough, caring action here in this world is what matters now.  Whether atheist, agnostic, or a person of faith, we are here now and it is up to us to bring peace to our world.

Share, care and stay strong.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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