Critical Section

remembering Daniel Jacoby

Tuesday,  03/18/08  11:23 PM

Daniel JacobyToday, in Aperio's monthly all-staff meeting, I made mention that last week was the fourth anniversary of my good friend and ex-partner Daniel Jacoby's death, at the hands of a brain tumor.  In thinking about this brief mention - what I was going to say, and what I ended up saying - I realize that he was a profound influence on me.  A few days may go by without me thinking of him, just a few, but more significantly not a day goes by without me thinking like him.  In a real sense he is still alive, in my mind.

We humans learn by copying.  It is easiest to copy other humans, but when we think of something ourselves, we are also copying - we're copying in the real world what we've already done in the fantasy world of our heads.  This "trial and error" of forethought is the primary evolutionary advantage of brains.  Much better to think of falling off a cliff - and think through the consequences! - than to do it; and yet the experience gained ("don't fall off cliffs") is the same.

When you get to know someone, there is another form of learning by copying, too; you copy what they are thinking!  Or even how they are thinking.  And so it is, with me, with Daniel.  As situations arise, I find myself thinking ahead, and also find myself thinking ahead like Daniel would have thought ahead, which gives me a point of view and a learning I wouldn't have had otherwise.  Very valuable, and very interesting.

So here's to you, Daniel.  May you always remain alive - in my head - so I can keep learning from you.

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