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Notes: Deconstructing Celebrity and Accessing the Human Scale

Craig Mod writes about his experience working in Silicon Valley and riding his bike through Steve Jobs’ neighborhood:

As I’ve written previously, Silicon Valley is where the gods very much eat yogurt with mortals. And Steve was no exception. His house has no visible security, no gate. It is modest. Nestled in a very tony neighborhood. But not so tony as to exclude three enterprising rag-tag entrepreneurs from also living here. The blinds are almost always open (as most tend to be in Old Palo Alto). TVs flicker at night. Lights go on and off. There is no mystery. Humans live there, certainly.

Time and time again, I found myself biking past Steve’s house — simply by the nature of it being on my path home. And time and time again I found myself drawing tremendous inspiration from the hyper-reality of his presence.

I’ve always felt — the quicker you can kill a dream by making it real, the quicker you see bigger, more important dreams once blocked by the first. The same goes for celebrity: the deconstruction of celebrity removes excuses. With mystery, and thereby celebrity gone, so also goes the pedestal. Their achievements can be more easily assessed at human scale.

A few months ago while living in California, I was working on my laptop outside a cafe when an older man walked by and remarked on my Apple laptop. We started chatting and come to find out, he helped invent some of the technology in the very laptop I was using. He also played a part in the invention and development of technologies like the mouse and the printer.

That short interaction reminded me just how human all these people are, from famous inventors to presidents to movie stars. All of them are just like me, perhaps on a different path in life, yes, but still human. Their achievements are not out of reach. They’re not gods. They’re human.

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