Apple as a Creation Myth

In my last post, I talked about genres in fiction, and how archetypal stories affect the way we respond to different brands. Apple, the world’s biggest brand, tells a classic creation myth.

The Norse god Odin created earth, sky and humanity; Yaweh in Genesis light from darkness; the Greek goddess Eurynome order from chaos. In these and hundreds of other creation myths, human beings have found meaning and a context for their lives and stories.

Sounds like Apple, doesn’t it? The company made a new world–inspired by first-movers Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs—and populated it with never-before-seen devices and passionate believers.

Apple worship isn’t blind–far from it. Students, educators, scientists, business owners, artists and other users love Apple’s cool design; but it’s the story behind the products that engages and enthralls them. It’s a story of creativity, innovation, and possibility.

And like all powerful stories, brand or otherwise, Apple’s evolves as each person makes it their own.

Filmmakers pushing artistic boundaries. Graphic designers and writers crafting incredibly creative media and messages. Software developers creating applications that change the way we work, play and communicate.

Then there’s the father who recounts a trip to the Apple Store with his wife and their ten-year-old daughter, who’s saved enough allowance and babysitting money to buy an iPhone Touch. They discover the store is closed for the next hour. But the manager, touched by the girl and her mason jar of coins and bills, opens the doors for her.

Or my own father, a public school teacher, who started the first computer lab in the Monterey County School district in the 1980s, equipping it with Macintosh computers.   It wasn’t only a classroom. It was the place to be at recess and after school.

Those kids, now in college, took these memories with them. At my dad’s memorial service last year, a former student told a story about being in the computer lab and listening to Miles Davis playing softly in the background while the class clicked away at their keyboards. He recalled the black-and-white posters of Amelia Earhart, Winston Churchill, Martha Graham, and innovators from Apple’s famous ad campaign. And talked about how Mr. Doyle had made him a better student and person.

Then there’s the small business owner who uses an iPad, iPhone, and iCloud to develop and market other products and services that will help customers create still more narratives of business and personal success.

Odin created earth and sky, inspiring the  great human narrative and the infinitely complex web of stories around it.  The myth of Apple promises the same.

 

 

 

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