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Wisdom from a Vending Machine is a 2003 brickfilm by Nate Burr.[1] It portrays three different responses to a vending machine that promises wisdom for a sum of money.[2] It was an entry to the Words of Wisdom Contest on, in which it placed seventh overall.


Confucius' three methods by which people may learn wisdom are illustrated in three scenarios with a vending machine, the Wisdom Bot 2000. First, the machine promises wisdom for 100 credits, but a passing old man hits it with a stick and keeps walking. This is learning by reflection, which is noblest.

Secondly, a boy hears the machine's robotic voice promising wisdom, and begins to imitate it. This is learning by imitation, which is easiest.

In the final scenario, a man gives the machine 100 credits and waits. The machine only continues to promise wisdom for 100 credits, and the man puts in more and more credits, getting angrier each time. He eventually begins hitting the machine, and is soon chased by police. This is learning by experience, which is bitterest.[2]


The film would not have been made if not for a server crash shortly before the Words of Wisdom Contest deadline. Two weeks of site activity was lost in the crash, and the contest deadline was extended by one day to allow users time to resubmit their films. Nate Burr had not entered the contest, but the extra day happened to be a day off work for him, so he decided he would make a last-minute entry. He did not think of an idea until there were 9 hours left in the contest, and then created Wisdom from a Vending Machine in 5 hours.[3]