Steve Jobs responsible for i-i-i Generation, says chief rabbi

Britain's chief rabbi says Apple's co-founder helped create a selfish culture. He says that Jobs "came down from the mountain with two tablets."

The world is more twisted than a neurotic pretzel. Human beings increasingly regard other human beings as if they are closely related to the cockroach.

Why might that be? Our naturally aggressive and selfish nature, as Stephen Hawking describes it ? Our complete inability to communicate with each other with entire honesty and complete sentences?

Or is it all Steve Jobs' fault?

No, it is not I who am raising this possibility. It is Britain's chief rabbi, Lord Sacks. As the Daily Mail's ringing ears describe it, the Chief Rabbi gave a speech this week, at which the Queen of England herself was present.

Is it really all his fault? CC Erik Pitti/Flickr

And he heaped blame for society's rotten, self-centered core on the recently deceased Apple co-founder.

"The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad 1 and iPad 2, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTunes, i, i, i.

What would Jobs have said to that? What would Siri say?

Sacks' thesis is that when you only care about yourself, you won't get very far. Which might be news to many in the corporate world, but certainly not to members of the U.S Dream Team basketball squad at one two recent Olympic Games.

Rising to his ring tone, the chief rabbi said: "If in a consumer society, through all the advertising and subtly seductive approaches to it, you've got an iPhone but you haven't got a fourth generation one, the consumer society is in fact the most efficient mechanism ever devised for the creation and distribution of unhappiness."

It's hard not to have a little sympathy with Lord Sacks' sacking of the consumer culture. Somewhere inside, we know that our greed for more gadgets, more online shopping and a suit that finally fits nicely around our bulging midriff is slightly empty.

But the alternatives that seem troubling to so many of us too. For Lord Sacks, the perfect and only antidote to all of this iVenality is faith.

At the personal level, faith can offer emotional and spiritual relief. Yet, too often in history, world religions seem to have been at the forefront of rather i-i-i concepts as war and denial of personal freedoms.

Just as there is no perfect shopping experience, there is no perfect religion. We have to trudge through life trying to find something, anything to believe in.

It may be true that so many people seem to believe in iPads and iPhones rather than whatever they find in their local place of worship. But mightn't this suggest that it is those faiths that have lost their way, rather than the gadget-makers like Jobs?

To suggest that it was Jobs who laid down the consumer society seems a little odd. For myself, I can say that my local church was asking for my money on behalf of my maker a long time before the iPad maker.

 

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