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Friday, May 24, 2019

Cartooonist Rube Goldberg simplified one of life's absolute truths showing what our world is really like... but did we pay any attention? NOOOO!


Rube Goldberg, born July 4. 1883, was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist in the golden age of newspaper cartoons. He was best known for his "Rube Goldberg Machines" like the one below, and at the peak of his career, he was the highest paid of his day. He was smart and capable in other areas but his cartoon depictions showing how to accomplish simple things in a most complex way had his readers paying close attention, as will you as you follow his directions below:

Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (1931). Soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, pulling string (B) and thereby jerking ladle (C), which throws cracker (D) past tucan (E). Tukan jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and ignites lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M), allowing pendulum with attached napkin to swing bank and forth, thereby wiping chin.

Today's world of problem-solving is not much different from Goldberg's time, or for that matter, time from the beginning of time. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit that upset the apple cart, seems we have been destined to do things the hard way.

After The Garden of Eden, humankind has followed that mode. The saying "Keep it simple, stupid" didn't 'come out of left field.' So it is understandable that today's problems are nuanced to be more complex to resolve. Over time, we have complex conundrums that seem unravelable.

We are fascinated watching dominos fall but the least little flaw dramatically changes the end result. So In reflection, I'm thinking life is one big Rube Goldberg Machine built to a complexity that the strength of the chain is only as strong as its weakest link .

Yep. That sounds like us. We focus on the result instead of the cause and disagree on every step of the complex process. 

Rube Goldberg was so good at touching our mentality that we made a postage stamp honoring him. And  there is probably a postage stamp waiting for the person who shows us a way out of this mess.
Side note: A few years back, my Seattle daughter and I saw a Rube Goldberg exhibit of many of his "complex machines "in that city's Museum of Pop Culture. Rube Goldberg was a fascinating individual 







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