Monday, May 16, 2011

Under the Influence of Humor

I'm utterly swimming with happiness today. It’s one of those days when my mind is not here. I’ve been transported to my little cottage in Périgord, nestled among the hamlets and fortified hilltop towns. I sit, staring, at a beautiful hand-stretched canvas, paint memorabilia abounds. A splash of paint here, a dab of paint there, giving a human dimension to a unifying event while you’re actually participating fully in the unique experience of life – creativity.

This is the feeling you narrate in your mind. This is the feeling many people only experience through narration rather than true experience.

A feeling that runs seamlessly into the next, characteristic of an age-old sentiment with new life breathed into it.

After a morning of painting, a bike ride through the streets in Sarlat, admiring its architectural gems and old town walls, refreshes and intrigues the mind.

The Vézère Valley bears witness to the history of mankind, and has done so since the dawn of time. The creative genius of this area is so tangible you can taste it.

On the outskirts of town, a 12-century fortified church in La Canéda, a preceptor belonging to the Order of the Knights Templar, sends my mind soaring.

In a place where hillsides are riddled with caves and towns built into and beneath the rock, it’s no wonder that it would be the birthplace of the philosopher Gabriel de Tarde. Who, interestingly enough, produced a brilliant science-fiction novel about a post-apocalyptic earth covered in ice where the surviving humans go to live underground. A new culture develops where music and art are the dominating aspects of life.

When you walk through the market you observe stall after stall of people engaged in lively conversation, laughing wholeheartedly at the simplest of jokes and jests, and thoroughly involved and engaged with each other as a tight-net community. It’s easy to see how a place like this would inspire someone to conceive of enlightened social interactions and the group mind.

A mood envelops here. This is the road to individuation, where the miracle of creating utterly different yet self-consistent voices to express our individuality emerges. It’s the feeling I have inside me that spontaneously lends itself to laughter, a chuckle, giggle, or release of good energy.

Studying the phenomenon of laughter allows me to feel this way whenever I think about it. Developing rather than unfolding, reconceiving my self and others is perhaps the greatest comedy ever told. 

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