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Jan Herman

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Jobs Loved Computers, of Course... and Bach

Posted: 10/10/11 05:59 PM ET

In 1989, Michael Lawrence filmed an interview with Steve Jobs for Memory & Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress.

"I remember very fondly every minute of the time I spent with him," Lawrence messages in an email. "I still have the NeXT coffee mug he gave me."

"Like so many people around the world," he writes, "I have been thinking of him since his passing. I could not have made BACH & friends without his computers and software."

A few years ago, Lawrence put together a series of clips from Memory & Imagination, which includes a conversation between Jobs and Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, and posted it online. Now re-edited as a tribute to Jobs, "it has been viewed over 400,000 times -- 34,000 views just yesterday alone," he says.

Have a look:

Click to watch.


Lawrence adds:

I didn't know Steve Jobs loved Bach until Mike Hawley asked me to send Steve and his wife Laurene a copy of BACH & friends. Steve was one of Mike's closest personal friends. I found this quote of Steve's talking of Bach in Return to the Little Kingdom: How Apple and Steve Jobs Changed the World, by Michael Moritz:

"I had been listening to a lot of Bach. All of a sudden the wheat field was playing Bach. It was the most wonderful experience of my life up to that point. I felt like the conductor of this symphony with Bach coming through the wheat field."

I haven't read the Moritz book, so I don't know the circumstances of that experience. But it sounds like a pretty great acid trip. My favorite quote comes from Memory & Imagination, in which Jobs defines a computer as "the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds."

Here's the whole passage:

I think one of the things that really separates us from the high primates is that we're tool builders. I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. And humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So that didn't look so good. But then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And a man on a bicycle, or human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts. And that's what a computer is to me. What a computer is to me is, it's the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.