“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.”
We often are faced with the choice to line up either behind what transcends our age or to line up behind the trendy spirit of the age. Which way does this quotation by the creative genius, Steve Jobs, point?
I love my iPhone and am all about discovering one’s own voice and passion, but I question whether creativity and innovation is the result of rejecting all the conclusions other people have drawn. Every new vision comes from the advantage of standing on someone else’s shoulders. Every one of us depends upon some kind of doctrine or dogma, whether it’s the “latest and greatest” or the “tried and true.”
We can agree that Steve Jobs’s comment has some truth to it. Part of his meaning is coined by that quirky adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” But the idea of rejecting every conclusion coming before us is, itself, a dogma. It’s the knee-jerk doctrine of this age to reject dogma.
This position collapses under its own weight. Reminds me of the teenage “non-conformists” who all dress alike. We must be humbly reminded that, “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, then you must first recreate the universe” (Carl Sagan). The very words we use to communicate ideas are vested with meaning we did not invent.
I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end of the nineteenth century. I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. – G.K. Chesterton
An unfiltered acceptance of what’s considered conventional wisdom of our age brings tactic discredit to the wisdom of yesteryear without actually having to deal with the merit which had once been self-evident.
Are you giving credit where credit is due? Or, are you collapsing under the prideful weight of your originality?