Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Occupy Global Humor

There is a strong relationship between a community's global character and its sense of humor. There is scarcely an aspect of the Global character to which humor is not related, few which in some sense it has not governed. It has moved into literature, not merely as an occasional touch or "add on", but as a force determining large patterns and intentions. It is a lawless element, full of surprises. It sustains its own appeal, yet its vigorous power invites absorption in that character of which it is a part. 

Many of my friends - myself included - are discussing, critiquing, analyzing, and trying to understand and meet the challenges we face in life. My friends live all over the world. Few I see in person these days; most I communicate with via the Internet (Facebook, email) or by texting. 

The patterns of discontent with a strong desire for harmony fills posts on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, and comics circulating throughout the globe, an indication that today's definition of culture is shared by more people today than ever before.  "Culture," as we knew it, now has less to do with any "one" culture (i.e., politics, education, socioeconomics, gender, race, nationality, philosophical or religious orientation) and more to do with the challenges and opportunities we face as a global species (a word that is also expanding in definition). 

A little Global Anthropology has to take place before we can know what is commonplace in this global community, and what is not. Otherwise, it is always our subjective experience filling in the gaps. It could be that the age old desire to break boundaries is softening as we near the proverbial edge. 

Surprisingly, humor reveals much. In general, following the "norm" offers more 'peace of mind' than going against the grain, more than we tend to admit as a species historically intent upon breaking down the confines of all boundaries. 

We've gone from laughing at ourselves (life, birth, death) to laughing at our world (planets, stars, galaxies) to laughing at the very fabric of existence (time, space, and the nature of the underlying energie that manifests into particle bound entanglements) in search of where we "fall off" this proverbial landscape. 

Living in an Internet Renaissance of sorts, we are redefining our world on a global scale, which notably affects our global culture, and thus, our global humor. More and more people seem to be searching for concepts that focus on change, not necessarily positive change or negative change, but rather change in general. 

Ironically, though, when it comes to humorous reactions, people seem to laugh the hardest at simple or familiar concepts (like the Etch a Sketch). 

We're a nostalgic culture sitting around the global campfire with our laptops and cell phones - united by Wifi - but bound by particle entanglement. The idea that we're in this together, facing all these challenges as a global community, it is evident in the humor we read, send out, and react to...

From our youngest members of society...

To our wisest...

Our search for humor indicates that we are a Global Community laughing at ourselves - rather than at each other. Until we can break the boundaries of space, time, and death, we're stuck with each other - for better or worse. 

Global Community = Noospheric Marriage

(*Communal relationship to humor/concept adapted from Constance Rourke's seminal book, American Humor, 1939,9)

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