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Reality Distortion Field

Steve Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that commune leader Robert Friedlander “turned me on to a different level of consciousness” when he introduced the future founder of Apple to the reality distortion field. Mac software designer Andy Herzfeld told Isaacson how the concept applied to Jobs: “The reality distortion field was the confounding mélange of a charismatic rhetorical style, indomitable will, and eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand.” The first Mac team manager, Debi Coleman, said Jobs “reminded me of Rasputin. He laser-beamed in on you and didn’t blink. It didn’t matter if he was serving purple Kool-Aid. You drank it.” Apple cofounder Steve Wozniac has said, His reality distortion is when he has an illogical vision of the future, such as telling me that I could design the Breakout game in just a few days. You realize that it can’t be true, but he somehow makes it true. Mac graphic designer Bill Atkinson, in contrast, told Isaacson, “He can deceive himself. It allowed him to con people into believing his vision, because he has personally embraced and internalized it.” Isaacson concluded, “At the root of the reality distortion was Jobs’s belief that the rules didn’t apply to him. He had the sense that he was special, a chosen one, an enlightened one.” (Skeptic, 7/11/13) [IT 4.3 2013]

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