The Hippie Adventures of Steve Jobs

Written By: Published In: ROOT Created Date: 2016-09-22 Hits: 343

Steve Jobs is known throughout the world as the face of Apple, the guy who revolutionized the tech industry and forever changed the paradigms...

Steve Jobs is known throughout the world as the face of Apple, the guy who revolutionized the tech industry and forever changed the paradigms of technology. He was the man behind the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone as well as the iPad. And yet there was a time long before he had so many star studded feathers in his cap,and back then he did not bathe!

The Hippie Adventures of Steve Jobs
Living in California, he was just about 15 years at the beginning of 1970, when hippie culture was spreading its wings and seeping slowly into everyday culture. Between sophomore year and junior year, he started smoking marijuana and got into a fight with his dad. He did not listen to his dad, repeated requests to quit smoking up, and stood his ground, saying it was his decision. Then he dropped out of college after first semester (and didn’t have a degree when he died), and started experimenting with all sorts of different things that were, for the most part, quintessentially “hippie”.

He and a friend of his, Daniel Kottke, stopped eating meat and became devoted vegetarians. They started practicing meditation and read books about Zen Buddhism, spirituality, enlightenment and raising consciousness. He and Kottke would together hang out with a guy called Robert Friedland, who had already served two years in prison for the possession and distribution of LSD. Still, that didn’t stop him from sharing it with Steve Jobs, and he would later go on to remark positively on the experience, saying that "taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." He would also go on to say that at that time, “There was a constant flow of intellectual questioning about the truth of life”.

 That wasn’t all. Jobs stopped wearing slippers and stopped taking showers as well. Due to the diet that he adopted, he felt he did not need to shower, as all his internal toxins were being removed through the eating of “pure” foods such as fruits and vegetables. In fact, at one point of time, he ate so many carrots that he turned the color of an “early sunset”, as some friends later said.

The Hippie Adventures of Steve Jobs

 He slept on the floor of his friends’ rooms (since he didn’t have his own dorm room), and collected soft drink bottles for nickel deposit, through the help of which he earned enough money to buy whatever food he ate. Although he was often cold and money was tight, he really enjoyed his experience of college.

 By 1974, however, he wanted to go India. The inspiration for this came from a book by Richard Alpert, who had become Ram Dass, called Be Here Now,  which was a story about a Harvard Professor turning into a yogi, and his experiences on the way. Ram Dass had himself travelled all the way to India and found his own spiritual guru there, and Steve Jobs wanted an experience of a similar kind.

 His experience of India, however, would be nothing of that kind. Once he reached India he immediately came down with dysentery, running a high fever and dropping weight. After recovery, as he was eating during a religious festival, a holy man came and sat down next to him, laughing. He then pulled Jobs by his arms and led him to an area with a pond. There, he dunked his head in water, and shaved off his hair, telling him it was for his health.

 Jobs was on the search for his inner voice and a deep spiritual consciousness, but what he was really struck by was how extreme poverty and religious holiness went in tandem with each other. Later in his trip he would contract scabies as well, and he was convinced he would find no place to get enlightenment. After coming back from the trip, he would forever be influenced by the way of thinking in India, in terms of religion and its reliance on experience, as opposed to focusing on intellect.

 Years later, Jobs would mention that his trip to India taught him “the power of intuition and experiential  wisdom”. This however was not the end of his hippie days. In fact they continued up until 1977 when he would finally stop bathing irregularly and start eating foods other than apples and carrots.

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