August 2, 2019
What do I hear? The air conditioning, my new roommate and her friend moving in, a television, some video of Steve Jobs playing on my phone. I don’t see much. It’s pretty dark except for a glow down the hallway from the bedrooms. This new roommate just moved from another state and is starting her new life. Much like I did by deciding to come to New York.
Much like many people have in the past.
Steve Jobs was talking about how in technology, it’s not a field where you create a timeless work. The latest iPhone will inevitably be obsolete in a matter of years, not decades and surely not centuries. The same follows for a laptop or a desktop computer. He observed that this means his contribution is just a small layer of sediment for people in the future to build on, just like he built on the layers of the great scientists, programmers, inventors, and mathematicians of decades past when him and Steve Wozniak created the first Apple computers.
You do something amazing, or perhaps not amazing at all, and then you die along with your work. And people forget about you quickly. All that triumph disappears—even for Steve Jobs. Hearing Steve talk about this and in the background listening to our new roommate move in to her new room and new life—it was a perfect, accurate soundtrack. So goes life, and so goes our small layer of sediment.
Yet resigning to this fact and deciding not to add to the mountain, deciding not to create something with your life, that is the great sin.