Art Janov ends his Reflections on Steve Jobs by saying: “They look to the properties of the cancer to figure out why, when they should also look into Steve’s early life to figure out why. Maybe therein lies the answer.”
That has now been done. An excellent book about Steve Jobs’ life has been written by Walter Isaacson. Probably knowing that hes life was going to be short, Steve persuaded Isaacson during more than two years to write hes memoirs. Isaacson finally agreed and got the permit to write a ruthlessly honest book and Steve allowed him to interview whoever he wanted, asking all the critical questions he wanted and to write it down without asking for Jobs’ approval. He said he would not even read it.
So Isaacson did and it turned out to be a piece of art, which explains how the genius of Steve developed and turned him into the myth he was long before his final death. A myth so bright and unquestionable that the extensive shadow side of his life could be fully exposed without subtracting nothing from his genius but instead adding to it’s fascination. He walked the line much of his special life, stretching his experiments with diets, drugs and eastern religions to the utmost. He allowed himself to act as an enlightened despot using people for his drive to developing Apple according to his indispensable desire for perfection. He was a man of intuition, “a-right-side-of-the-brain” talent, which helped him to catch all the intellectual “left-side-of-the-brain” capacities by handpicked experts, he needed to put together his visions.
In my comments to Art Janov’s Reflections I regretted that Steve Jobs never underwent Primal Therapy. However, this was not the case. In the beginning of the 70ies, Steve Jobs went to PT, when he still was a teenager. According to Isaacson’s interviews with Steve, “Janov’s argument that repressed pain of childhood could be resolved by re-suffering these primal moments, seemed preferable to talk therapy because it involved intuitive feeling and emotional action rather than rational analyzing.” “This was something to do: to close your eyes, hold your breath, jump in, and come out the other end more insightful.”
“In 1974, he signed up for a twelve-week course of therapy at the Oregon Feeling Center in Eugen run by a group of Janov’s adherents. Jobs confided to close friends that he was driven by the pain he was feeling about being put up for adoption and not knowing about his birth parents.” Steve Jobs later said that Janov’s teachings did not prove very useful. “He offered a redy-made, button-down answer which turned out to be far too over simplistic. It became obvious that it was not going to yield any great insight.” However, a friend of Jobs’ contended that it made him more confident: “After he did it, he was in a different place. He had a very abrasive personality, but there was a peace about him for a while. His confidence improved, and his feelings of inadequacy were reduced. Jobs came to believe that he could impart that feeling of confidence to others and thus push them to do things they hadn’t thought possible.
After having read Walter Isaacson’s book “Steve Jobs” I feel pretty sure that Jobs dominating intuitive personality got an important push by Janov’s Primal Therapy (though he did it long before PT had developed into what it is to-day) and that it has contributed to the development of Apple. Hes life, however, became short due to the impact of extreme physical, dietary and drug therapies, may be enhanced by genetic factors.