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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 16. 1972

Ron Cobb

Ron Cobb

They begin to think that the world Is that way; Is this or that system. I don't accept the idea that any of these organisations can have any value other than that they function. And that's almost always temporary,

EM: People have said to me that your cartoons depict extreme positions and therefore aren't really relevant. What do you say to that?

RC: I like potent, dramatic situations. I like to bring people up to the edge of extreme occurrences. That doesn't make me an extremist. You see, I am in no way saying that what I draw is going to happen Everything I do is just ink on paper, it's not reality. It's just that when I create something on the page, I am utilising the illusion of reality for an effect.

I'm fascinated with man in stress situations, I'm fascinated with man at a crisis. So I love to create artificial crises, because I think that rather than making a timid, harmless point with a cartoon I would much prefer to draw someone into a situation where they have to say . . . "Yeah! That could happen!" or "Yeah! . . . what would I say if that did happen?" — where they have to react.

EM: Why does a crisis situation attract you?

RC: It attracts me because man — certainly Western Industrial Man — has the ability to build walls between himself, nature and reality. We have developed the capacity to live on a chessboard where a lot of Illusory values can be maintained that seem to be real — where definitions reign supreme.

Too often, the mere fact that man has words for things, the ability to label and categorise, begins to condition his children to view all reality, to reduce all that is true and real, to that which can be talked about, described and categorised. And that's a terrible limitation.

But a crisis, one way or another, will bring man face-to-face with his maker, or will bring man face-to-face with his deeper nature. These moments inevitably short circuit the human nervous system, biologically too, in a way, and put man all together. The categories have to be put aside, and you just feel something . . . from top to bottom I

And these moments, these flashing moments when he's all put together (as Jung says) are the only times when he's really sane. It may be traumatic, but in the long run I would like to see people put together more often. It's unfortunate that it takes disasters and hideous reversals of life's symmetry and order to do this: but these moments, like sexual orgasm, the threat of death, disaster, extreme fear or sadness, or just intellectual contradiction, leave man face-to-face with the void. At that moment man is at his highest potential, because he's integrated.

So I love to create the Intellectual contradiction. I love to expose paradox. You see, the nature of a paradox is that it exists within a system of beliefs. It isn't like taking an outside counter-Idea, or belief, and playing one against the other; it's taking two elements of a belief and putting them side by side. And they don't fit. This is Intriguing to me.

Cartoon of a Western Civilisation bomb