Steve Jobs at Apple Conference
San Francisco, June 6, 2011
Steve Jobs— Last Words:


By Peter Y. Chou

New York Times published an Op-Ed "A Sister's Eulogy for Steve Jobs" on October 30, 2011 by Mona Simpson, novellist and English professor at UCLA. She delivered this eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs, on October 16 at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University. Here are the closing tribute to Steve Jobs— “His breath indicated an arduous journey, some steep path, altitude. He seemed to be climbing. But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve's capacity for wonderment, the artist's belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later. Steve's final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times. Before embarking, he'd looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life's partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve's final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.” (Image: Mona Simpson,

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) invented the incandescent light bulb, phonograph, automatic telegraph, alkaline batteries, and silent movie projector. He has the most patents (1093) registered in his name. Many compared Steve Jobs's innovation at Apple Computers (Macintosh Computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad) to Edison. Coming across Diary of Thomas Edison in the Cornell stacks (circa 1968), I was amazed Edison read Goethe's Wilhelm Meister and Sorrows of Young Werther (7-15-1885). My favorite Edison entry (July 20, 1885): "Read aloud from Madame Recamier's memoirs for the ladies. Kept this up for an hour, got as hoarse as a fog horn. Think the ladies got jealous of Madame Recamier." When Edison died on October 18, 1931 at age 84, he emerged from a coma, opened his eyes, looked upwards, and said "It is very beautiful over there." (Neil Baldwin's Edison: Inventing the Century)

Google Search lists 167,000 sites with Edison's last words. Did someone notice that Steve Jobs' last words were similar to Thomas Edison's? Christopher John Farley did in his Wall Street Journal Blog (10-31-2011) “'Oh Wow': What Do Steve Jobs's Last Words Really Mean?” His article begins with “'Oh wow.' Two words that can have many meanings.” saying "People are fascinated by last words. They can be viewed as a summing up of a life." Legend has it that Beethoven declared "I shall hear in heaven!" Farley concludes that Edison's "It is very beautiful over there." may be another way of saying "Oh wow." Some of my favorite last words are Buddha's— "All things pass away. Strive on with mindfulness." as well as "Be the lamp unto yourself." Another is Goethe's "More Light!" when he died on March 22, 1832. (Image: Kamakura Buddha,

Since Mona Simpson in her tribute suggested that Steve Jobs' last words had something to do with his "capacity for wonderment", I recall a passage from Shakespeare's As You Like It, III.ii.68— "O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful!" If we spell "OH" like "O" as in Shakespeare's "O wonderful", then Jobs' last words may be rendered as "O WOW, O WOW, O WOW."

Death is going to the other side, from positive (+) to negative (-) through zero point (0) or mirror image as Alice Through the Looking-Glass— "O WOW, O WOW, O WOW." placed upside down in a mirror is "OM OM, OM OM, OM OM." Steve Jobs searched for enlightenment going to India with Dan Kottke in 1974 but didn't find it because the guru Neem Karoli Baba had died. It's interesting that when Steve Jobs died, his last words while crossing to the other shore were "O WOW, O WOW, O WOW." or "OM OM, OM OM, OM, OM."— symbol of the Supreme Consciousness! (Image: Jobs in lotus posture,

AUM— OM, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient.
Aum or Om is a mystical or sacred syllable in Indian religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is placed at the beginning of most Hindu texts as a sacred incantation to be intoned at the beginning and end of a reading of the Vedas or prior to any prayer or mantra. The Mandukya Upanishad is entirely devoted to its explanation. While it is the shortest of the Upanishad, it is perhaps the most profound, consisting of 12 verses expounding the mystic syllable AUM, the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, and the transcendental "fourth state" of illumination (turiya). Joseph Campbell explained to Bill Moyers in Power of Myth that turiya is the silence between the AUM's.

                                                      — Peter Y. Chou, October 31, 2011

| Top of Page | October 2011 Haikus | Poems 2011 | Basho on Poetry
| CPITS | Poetry & Power | Books | A-Z Portals | Home |

© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (10-31-2011)