I remember it vividly, as if I had heard those words today, even if two years have already passed.
I was in a car with the band of an Italian singer and one of them asked me: “Enzo, are you in the truth or in untruth?” I didn’t get what he wanted to say, but it seemed to have nothing to do with God. “Do you have a Mac or a PC?”, he finally asked. I laughed, and he told me musicians simply can’t live without their Mac.
Last week one of the most brilliant minds of the past century died: Steve Jobs. All around the planet people talk about him: Twitter, blogs, Facebook, offices, television, radio, squares… everybody talks of “the genius” and what he created in the past years. One sentence that struck me went like, “seldom is there someone with the profound impact that Steve had; the consequences of his work will be felt for generations.” In many ways this is true: millions of people around the world have changed the way they work, think and communicate thanks to Jobs’ intuitions, including me. Every year there was a new idea or event that would change a small facet of our lives.
Yet listening to all these eulogies and all the celebrations of Apple-introduced changes, I can’t but think about things that are unchangeable, which all of us face. Even the man who invented the first personal computer with windows and mouse, or who changed the way we think about phones, had to think about the big questions of life, about fate and love and death and meaning. One day we will all be remembered some way, and more about who we were than what we’ve done or invented. If not in a musicians car, Jobs, like all of us, still had to ask at some point: am I in the truth?
And what does it mean to be in the truth? To have an iPhone, iPod or iMac?In an often-quoted passage, Jesus linked truth to something curious: freedom. To know the truth sets us free. I have often thought that my Mac is the staple of my freedom: freedom from Microsoft’s dominance, freedom from the crushing claws of capitalism, freedom to be creative and hip and cool. Yet, even as I cherish my beautiful Mac, and marvel at all the nice graphics it lets me see, I realize that well… it does not set me free. Maybe my iFreedom comes from something else, from something that transcends computers and the grave, something unchangeable that sets us free to change the world.