miércoles, 2 de noviembre de 2011

¿Qué tipo de Budista era Steve Jobs?

Una larga entrada de Steve Silberman en NeuroTribes, que pienso que merece la pena.

"One reason I was looking forward to reading Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Steve Jobs was my hope that, as a sharp-eyed reporter, Isaacson would probe to the heart of what one of the few entrepreneurs who really deserved the term “visionary” learned from Buddhism.
...
Isaacson does a fine job of showing how Jobs’ engagement with Buddhism was more than just a lotus-scented footnote to a brilliant Silicon Valley career. As a young seeker in the ’70s, Jobs didn’t just dabble in Zen, appropriating its elliptical aesthetic as a kind of exotic cologne. He turns out to have been a serious, diligent practitioner who undertook lengthy meditation retreats at Tassajara — the first Zen monastery in America, located at the end of a twisting dirt road in the mountains above Carmel — spending weeks on end “facing the wall,” as Zen students say, to observe the activity of his own mind.
...
One of the books that inspired Jobs to become interested in this process was "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche … one of his early students went on to become the chameleonic pop star David Bowie.
...
I suspect that one of the things that Jobs found inspiring about Trungpa’s writing — beyond its bracingly direct tone and surgical deconstruction of the lies that prevent us from seeing things as they are — was his profound respect for artists, poets, and musicians, whom he saw as fellow warriors against delusion …
Our attitude and integrity as artists are very important. We need to encourage and nourish the notion that we are not going to yield to the neurotic world. Inch by inch, step-by-step, our effort should wake people up through the world of art rather than please everyone and go along with the current.
...
Another influence on Apple’s young founder was the book "Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, the founding teacher of San Francisco Zen Center.
...
Swimming against the tide of Zen writings of its era, "Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind" downplayed the enticing concept of enlightenment in favor of slow, steady mindfulness practice “with no gaining idea” — that is, with no hope that your next session on the cushion would bring about a shattering, life-changing flash of satori. … You didn’t sit zazen to become a Buddha, Suzuki-roshi used to say: “You’re perfect just as you are — and you could use a little improvement.”
Jobs’ celebrated motto for the original Mac team — “the journey is the reward” — could have been lifted from the pages of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. For Suzuki-roshi, the path was the goal.
...
The only regrettable aspect of Isaacson’s account is his clownish portrayal of Jobs’ teacher and friend for two decades, Kobun Chino Otogawa, as a hapless bore who spoke in needlessly cryptic “haiku.”
...
Three years after the wedding, Kobun drowned in a shallow, icy pool at his student’s home in Switzerland, trying to save the life of his 5-year-old daughter Maya, who perished anyway. I imagine the loss of his longtime spiritual friend was particularly rough on Apple’s founder when he came face-to-face with his own mortality the following year, after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
...
Kobun was similarly encouraging to young Jobs, telling him, in Isaacson’s words, that he “could keep in touch with his spiritual side while running a business.”

Another thing that becomes clear in Issacson’s book is the crucial role of what Buddhists call mindfulness played in securing Apple’s success. When a 15th century poet named Ikkyu was asked, “What is the meaning of Zen?” he replied, “Attention.” Asked to explain further, he replied, “Attention means attention” — one of those cryptic, haiku-like utterances that can make people think you’re drunk. But attention, in Zen practice, means more than just being mindful of your breath in the zendo. It means investing moment-to-moment awareness in everything you do in the course of an ordinary day — whether running for the bus, cooking a pot of rice, talking to your in-laws, taking your blood-pressure pills, or making love.
Or, say, crafting a totally new kind of computer “for the rest of us.”
...
Like a Zen fussbudget, Jobs paid precise, meticulous, uncompromising attention to every aspect of the user experience of Apple’s products — from the design of the fonts and icons in the operating system, to the metals used to cast the cases, to the colors on the boxes and in the magazine ads, to the rhyming proportions in the layout of Apple stores. He encouraged mindfulness in his customers too, by designing his computers so superbly that they faded into the background as creative imagination took over. …
...
One of the most memorable lines in "Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind" is Suzuki-roshi’s statement, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”
...
Skeleton performing zazen on waves by Maruyama Okyo, 1787, Daijoji Temple, Hyogo, Japan.

Isaacson is admirably frank about the core tenet of Buddhism that Jobs seems to have bypassed: the importance of treating everyone around you, even perceived enemies, with basic respect and lovingkindness. It’s tempting now to cast Jobs’ tantrums, casual brutality, and constant berating of “shitheads” as the brave refusal to compromise his ideal of perfection — even as a kind of tough love that inspired his employees to transcend their own limitations. But a more skillful practitioner would have tried to find ways to bring out the genius in his employees without humiliating them — and certainly would have found ways of manufacturing products that didn’t cause so much suffering for impoverished workers in other countries. The moment in Isaacson’s book when Jobs tells the Mobile Me team after the project’s disastrous début, “You should hate each other for having let each other down,” shows that even near the end of his life, Jobs had more to learn from his teachers.
I suspect that the most powerful lesson Jobs took from his years with Kobun was to accept death as an inevitable part of life, which served him well when he learned that his own death was imminent.
… because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. …
...
I’ve never forgotten something else Jobs told me that day: “If you want to know what I think, just look at our products.” At the time, it seemed like a crabby, dismissive, “bad Steve” response. But it was the most Zen thing he could have said."

2 comentarios:

ispocklogic dijo...

I have heard this about Steve Jobs, but have seldom heard him speak openly about it. The passage you mention, "...because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. " is from his Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005.

I think it makes sense. There is an attention in aesthetic during his guidance with Apple that has a Zen quality. This is not to make him larger in life than he was before he died, but I always felt that way. There is something special in the products he inspired. I rather like this Zen way and it adds an extra dimension to a man who changed the technological landscape...

silta - juan tatay dijo...

Without any doubt (for me) that's the most moving sentence in Stanford's speech. And the one "don't follow anybody's life..." (or something like that), so let him rest in peace and let's go on living our own lives

Best regards