The choice between a good thing and a bad thing is never a hard choice. The only hard choice is between two good things.
Science is a good thing. And so are the Arts. Why choose?
Rube Goldberg became wildly famous 100 years ago because his elegantly absurd inventions combined Science with Art.
Elegant absurdity surprises and delights us because it reveals lofty creativity and deep commitment aimed at something that is not – to the logical mind – worth the effort.
Confronted with the elegantly absurd, pure logic snorts a derisive laugh, but the heart laughs with peals of pure joy.
YouTube and TikTok are filled with elegant absurdity. OK GO rode the rocket of the elegantly absurd to heights unknown, then Walk Off the Earth rode it like a surfboard to the edge of the world and beyond. The absurdly elegant inventions of Mark Rober and the elegantly absurd shenanigans of Rex and Daniel have given them massive influence in their fields of endeavor.
Marching bands, baton twirling, and tap dancing… perhaps all kinds of dancing… are examples of the elegantly absurd because they require creativity and commitment to achieve something that, again – to the logical mind – isn’t worth the effort.
Indy Beagle has examples of all these for you in the rabbit hole.
Satire is another elegant absurdity.
“Satire has done more to change society than a mountain of political policies. Everything from All in the Family to Saturday Night Live to The Daily Show… (not to mention court jesters, Twain, Menippus, Will Rogers). It’s a battering ram disguised as a rubber chicken.”
– Johnny Molson
But is ‘elegant absurdity’ as absurd as it first appears?
“Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.”
– Jeannette Walls
“The more evolved an animal is, the more time it spends playing.”
– P.J. O’Rourke
“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”
– Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker, p. 19
So there it is. When you are literate in the basic concepts of the Sciences and the Arts, you are qualified to be elegantly absurd. You are that flash of energy, that illumination we see when two wires come into close proximity after having been connected to opposite poles of the same high-voltage battery.
Shine on, bright friend, shine on.
Roy H. Williams
The life and death of Tony Hsieh, the billionaire CEO of online shoe-seller Zappos, is a master class in visionary business leadership and a cautionary tale about how fame can mask deep problems. Hsieh, who sold Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 billion, died in a mysterious shed fire in late November 2020 at age 46. This week, two reporters for The Wall Street Journal — Kirsten Grind and Katherine Sayre — join roving reporter Rotbart to share details from their newly published biography of the business legend. It is a riveting examination of an entrepreneur who, while great, was deeply flawed. MondayMorningRadio.com.