Steve Jobs, Macrobiotics and Facebook Discussions
Given the newsworthy relevance of Steve Jobs and macrobiotics, I have decided to share some excerpts of a discussion that is going on in the Facebook group, “Macrobiotics”, concerning Steve’s regret of postponing surgery and opting for a macrobiotic dietary approach to address his pancreatic cancer. I plan to write a full blog in addition to posting these excerpts. If you wish to follow these ongoing discussions please join the group, “Macrobiotics”, on Facebook. Comments have been edited and identities have been omitted.
[Facebook User 1]:
(CBS News) Apple CEO Steve Jobs refused to allow surgeons to perform what could have been life-saving surgery on his pancreatic cancer, says his biographer Walter Isaacson. In one of his deepest discussions with him, Isaacson says Jobs told him he regretted his decision to try alternative therapies and said he put off the operation because it was too invasive.
Complete coverage: Steve Jobs: 1955-2011
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Preview: Steve Jobs – 60 Minutes – CBS News
60 Minutes on CBS News: Preview: Steve Jobs – Apple CEO Steve Jobs refused to allow surgeons to perform what could have been life-saving surgery on his pancreatic cancer, says his biographer Walter Isaacson. Hear more of Isaacson’s revelations about Jobs in his first interview about his biography “S…
Sunday at 9:25am · Like · 1 person
[Facebook User 2]
Thank you for sharing this. I did find Steve Crofts comment “How could such a brilliant man do such a stupid thing” to be offensive. I give Mr. Jobs kudos for trying alternative healing modalities but here are times Western Medicine is an important part of healing. And lets not forget Faith.
[Phiya Kushi] ( me ):
I deeply regret the loss of Steve Jobs and others like him who may have been helped by taking a different path. But one can never know for certain the future consequences of actions never taken. A lot of people refuse surgery and some get well and some don’t. Likewise many opt for surgery and get worse while others may get better. It is highly circumstantial and individual. It isn’t a guarantee that Jobs would have been healed by surgery and conventional medicine. Certainly his symptoms may have been temporarily cut out and removed but without a total and trans-formative lifestyle change, and not one just limited to diet, his cancer would have most probably have come back.
Living a highly competitive lifestyle where, as in Jobs case, he declared “thermonuclear war” on Google for copying his iPhone and that he vowed to spend every last penny he made to destroy Google, is not really the healthiest of attitudes and lifestyles. I personally believe that such an all-consuming destructive attitude in itself, is/was a function of his illness. Would he have been willing to give that up for the sake of his health? Probably not since that was his life’s dream.
What bothers me more is that people mistakenly view macrobiotics as “an alternative” when it is embracive of all healing modalities. Macrobiotic healing emphasizes reflecting on and changing one daily life habits including what we eat and how we live, as the initial and fundamental steps to take but also considers whatever emergency medical procedures may need to be taken in serious cases (see:
I also wonder who was guiding him macrobiotically and am wary that Jobs may not have received the best macrobiotic guidance available to him. It is unfortunate that this happened but I also believe that macrobiotic movement is deserved of such a blow from the media for its own arrogance and ego-driven competitiveness (or lack of cooperation) among its advocates. It will continue to receive such negative press until its leaders organize themselves, work together, cooperate and come to terms with each other by holding themselves and each other accountable for their successes and failures in helping others heal. Just my opinion.
[Facebook User 3]:
Beautifully said, Phiya. But wherever you have human beings, you will have some flaws. I wouldn’t put all the blame on mb teachers, tho there could always be room for improvement, I agree. Changing society is a huge challenge and will, of course, meet with much resistance, which is how I see negative press.
(To Facebook User 3), the flaws of humanity and its resistance to social change, which are always present, are not excuses to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of one’s claims and actions. Until macrobiotic counselors come together, define and create standards and procedures and collectively submit their data for unbiased and rigorous third-party review then all the recovery anecdotes in the world won’t help the movement shake its public image as a fringe, alternative healing modality and quasi-religious oriental diet. Nothing frustrates me more than to see self interested advocates justify their own inaction with rationalizations, like the ones you mentioned, to fail to assist those with valid healing experiences unsuccessfully help suffering family members and loved ones for want or lack of evidence and social reputation. As a macrobiotic promoter I am just as culpable as the rest.
[Facebook User 4]:
To say that Steve Jobs practiced macrobiotics is pretty much meaningless on its own. Ask 50 people how they practice it and you will receive 50 different answers. Most people still understand mb to be a prescription diet, like all other diets. One-size-fits-all. When did he start, how well was he supported, how long did he practice it, how accurately did he practice it? Even if he practiced it a long time, with support, guarantees nothing. What were the underlying causes of his illness? How late into is illness did he begin? Macrobiotics has been misunderstood since its introduction into the West (even by those practice it). The principles underlying the macrobiotic philosophy will endure.
(To Facebook User 4) , The clinical type questions you ask are valid and are or should be part of any legitimate counseling practice and ongoing research and case review for all cases.. But for me the question is not whether macrobiotics will endure, for which I have no doubt it will, but rather in what manner will it endure? Will it banned and outlawed? Will it be sidelined as a passing cult of religious fanatics who follow strange esoteric dietary rules? Or will it be seen as a valid force that has improved the health and well being of all people?
Also, on the other hand and from a totally different perspective, in embracing his own mortality, living life fully and actively pursuing his dreams against all odds, I believe that Steve Jobs led more of a macrobiotic life than many I have met whom claim to do so. Nothing could be a more simpler macrobiotic messages than his advice to young graduates to “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. It echoes of the best of Ohsawa’s teachings.
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