I am currently reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson which takes an uncompromising evaluation of Jobs, his dark side as well as his genius. When he was diagnosed with cancer Jobs refused to have the tumor surgically removed, instead treating it by a vegan diet, juices, herbal remedies, frequent bowel cleansings and hydro-therapy. His friend and co-worker Levinson pleaded with Jobs every day to have the tumor removed, insisting that Jobs approach was not at all in line with how cancer works. “You cannot solve this without surgery and blasting it with toxic chemicals.”
Levinson’s more salient observation about Jobs is the following: “I think that Steve has such a strong desire for the world to be a certain way that he wills it to be that way; sometimes it doesn’t work. Reality is unforgiving. The flip side of his wondrous ability to focus was his fearsome willingness to filter out things that he did not wish to deal with.” Are we so different? At least half of the misery in our lives would be eliminated were we to work with reality instead of fighting against it. When we turn our backs upon what Life is demanding of us we cut ourselves off from happiness. I blame our current culture for hoodwinking us into thinking that if we don’t feel like doing something we can turn away from it.
What we refuse to deal with… becomes what we must deal with. Whatever that reality is will pursue us demanding our connection. As Jobs found out we turn away to our own peril. Once again I come back to the Hawaiian understanding that ours is not to fight reality but to live in harmony with it and with each other. I have come across a Hawaiian proverb which goes: “E ho’a’o no I pau kuhihewa”. The translation for this is given as “Try to end the panic.” And the meaning given for the translation is that we often stress out just worrying about doing a difficult job. This proverb advises us to “focus on what’s important!” Indeed!