Of Steve Jobs, John Lennon and Imagining the Rebel

You probably know that Steve Jobs dropped out of college, but did you know that the average net worth of billionaires who dropped out of college, $9.4 billion, is approximately triple that of billionaires with Ph.D.s, $3.2 billion? “Even if one removes Bill Gates, who left Harvard University and is now worth $66.0 billion, college dropouts are worth $5.3 billion on average, compared to those who finished only bachelor’s degrees, who are worth $2.9 billion. According to a recent report from Cambridge-based Forrester Research, 20% of America’s millionaires never attended college.”  – Wikipedia

Now I probably should mention that achieving billionaire status is not necessarily a path to consciousness and inner peace, but these stats offer an interesting reflection of an educational system predicated on spending as many years as possible inside the walls of an institution, in order to achieve material success.

Steve Jobs: I’m Glad I Dropped Out of College Commencement Address

List of college dropout billionaires

Below is the iconic Apple video, The Crazy Ones, narrated by Steve Jobs. This is the original version. Richard Dreyfuss narrated another version that was actually released when Jobs changed his mind the morning of the first air date, stating the ad was about Apple, not about himself. The ad features Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso.

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Steve Jobs narrates The Crazy Ones

What have you done with the rebel in you?  When was the last time you listened to that truth telling voice, or thought of how you could make change happen, if you actually stepped out of the old ways into something completely new?

Most of us have only experienced rebellion within the context that created the oppression in the first place. It begins with young rebels running for student council. When elected, they enjoy their new social status, but are powerless within an educational system based on control and fear. On the news we watch political rebels fighting to unseat an oppressive regime, knowing the new government will be just as corrupt as the old one. We cheer on gay rights activists fighting for the right to marry, while divorce rates sky-rocket and the institution of marriage crumbles. We witness a wonderful, rebellious Pope working to allow women to become cardinals, so they can be part of the same religion that once burned them at the stake, the same religious system which has virtually ignored the rampant sexual abuse of their children.  We read of anti-technology pundits putting away their cell phones and computers for a week and then returning to blog about their abstinence online.  It’s enough to make any rebel curl up in an arm chair with cookies and the remote.

What if those of us born with a rebellious instinct, dared to let it go all the way? What if, instead of reworking the system, we tossed the system out all together, took down the old paradigms to make way for the new? What if we stood so far back from the drawing board, we could see not just the algorithm, not just the room we are standing in, but the street, the country, the continent, the planet and beyond?

Here is a video that details the changing whims of Mankind, about who owns the chunk of land they are standing on, and who has the biggest guns to keep it. It’s hard to imagine a more fruitless waste of human lives and energy than this.  Children in a sand box fighting over toys, nothing more.

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1000 years of borders

Here is a different world view, the original Powers of Ten video, made by Charles and Ray Eames for IBM. It takes you from a picnic in Chicago to the outskirts of the universe, by increasing increments of the power of ten. This definitely offers a little perspective.

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The Powers of Ten

 And here is another, very beautiful look at that same chunk of land. A view taken from outside of a political, nationalistic, materialistic paradigm. I don’t see any borders. Do you?

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The Earth. Time lapse view from space, NASA

It’s as good a time as any to be a rebel, a real rebel, ready to shake down our most fundamental and cherished beliefs. What if we were to live by our hearts, fully?  To act upon what feels true, just, joyful and kind, no matter what the rule-makers say? What if the house of cards came tumbling down, and we discovered we didn’t need a roof anymore, because Heaven was finally found.  Wouldn’t that make John smile.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

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John sings Imagine

Perhaps above all it is time to realize that thinking differently, being an outsider, is a gift not a curse. We can choose to trust ourselves, instead of the voices of fear. If there is one earmark of the current shifting planetary energies, in the way they touch each one of us personally, it would be the call to rise up and speak the truth of who we are. You may have noticed that when you step out of alignment with your authentic nature, it doesn’t work so well anymore, does it? There’s no satisfaction to be found there, my dear rebels, for our days of hiding, denying, pretending are done.

From the final issue of The Whole Earth Catalog, and from Steve Jobs: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Truth and dare. And just imagine what a world full of real rebels can do.

love, Adi

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