I’ve been getting into reading books again thanks to my Kindle Paperwhite, and finally finished the massive Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. The ending of that book got pretty emotional, as Jobs started losing his energy and approaching his own passing.
I was struck by one of the closing passages, written in Jobs’ own words — a statement about how our efforts at contributing to the world, while rarely perfect or ingenious, just may be enough:
What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us. I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It’s about trying to express something in the only way that most of us know how — because we can’t write bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays. We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what’s driven me.