Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

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Steve Job died yesterday. With him died one of the greatest visionaries who changed the lifestyle of the modern world. Indeed, he was the harbinger of a revolution like no other. He touched the life of practically every one of Capitalism’s greatest creation – the middle class, which increasingly is becoming one huge global community of consumers. He changed the way the world listens to music, watches movies, uses the phone or the personal computer, among many others. The Apple co-founder is the architect behind the company’s phenomenal rebirth and phoenix-like rise from what everybody had once presumed was the atrophying skeleton of a very sick but fabulous company, Steve Job’s inspiring speech at the Stanford University Commencement Function 2005 ended with a quote from a magazine of his college days, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. This was, in essence the advice he had for the “freshers” who had joined the prestigious Ivy League University in California, USA in that year. The advice might as well have been extended to not just every scholar in the world but to everybody else who value creativity. Learning is a process and not any finite event. But much more than the mere statement of a well acknowledged truism, it is a clarion call to all to never settle at any destination in life, but to continue to strive to be better. The only way to ensure the energy for this outlook to life remains undiminished, is to always thirst for more knowledge in the belief that what is already known is nothing compared to what can still be learned. There can be nobody more fit to have preached this than the Steve Job, whose creative energy continued to remain at its peak even as entered the late 50s of life, having designed extremely successful “cool” products that did not end with just personal computers and laptops, but also went ahead to redefine the way the world listened to music, watched movies, kept in touch, or visited the virtual world of the internet. Quite without doubt one of the richest man in the world today, there probably would not be many anywhere whose lifestyles have not been influenced in some way or the other by the numerous creations of somebody who may go down in history as one of the most creative men ever. Arguably in this sense he would have touched more lives than even his old time arch rival and founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, although on the philanthropic mission and not just creativity, the latter would be undoubtedly  far beyond him, too far perhaps for him to ever catch up.

This is not an attempt to assess and compare the achievements of the two. There is in fact little left to be written about them and their achievements anymore. The point is merely to underscore the message so well articulated by Job that creativity is about remaining creative forever, and this precisely through a willingness to remain hungry and have the humility to acknowledge there can never be anything as enough when it comes to learning. This spirit of adventure, defined by a burning desire to discover, invent, venture and take risk has been the hallmark of all successful and creative societies. Consequently, all societies which have ceased to be adventurous would with a measure of certainty, stagnate and ultimately fade into insignificance. The important and more urgent question is, where would our own society fare against such a barometer of creative energy? Are we still hungry for achievement? Can we still claim to be creative? It probably is a mixed bag. On the one hand there is a constant escalation of what is probably the biggest agent for the destruction of creativity – official corruption. Merit, enterprise, endurance and all such priceless qualities that add to the creative energy of a society are being systematically decimated. By choice and increasingly by compulsion, more and more are being drawn into the vortex of this depthless Black Hole of corruption. Sadly, the accepted social goal of respectability today has also come to be simply “wealth” without any qualification as to how it had been acquired. The easiest way to acquire wealth in the present social circumstance being corruption, the issue has undergone a terrible mutation so that it has literally come to mean the most corrupt and thereby the most filthily rich, are also the most respected citizens of today. If this is one side of the story, there is another where the picture is not so depressing. In fields of activities autonomous of the government job market, the hunger for achievement is still undiminished. The evidence in the manner the state’s theatre, cinema, other performing arts, doctors, scientists, sportspersons etc, consistently earn the respect of the rest of the country and the world?

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