Saturday, April 21, 2012
The Art of Humor II
Comedians of antiquity told tales, sang songs, and imparted words of wisdom. There is a profound distinction between those comedians and the comedians of modern times. The greatest accomplishment of ancient comedians had been to build the structures of comedy, emphasizing practicality and concreteness, a common thread highlighted in folklore and tradition. By contrast, modern comedians are renowned for their sound minds and capacity to rectify the course of comedy if they deemed necessary.
In the nineteenth century, in an effort to understand the intellectual and spiritual development of mankind, comedy began focusing on the concept of culture as well as the notion of tradition. Pertinent to comedy is joking. In order to appreciate the position of comedians and comedy, one has to understand the struggle of modern-day comedians to steer comedy away from concreteness toward the abstract.
Life is like a comedy.
Don't take anything too seriously or too personally,
learn to laugh. Lighten up!
Light is energie and energie is life,
therefore enlightenment must be when we've lightened up.
Think about it. Life is pretty funny.
Concreteness is the practical side of comedy. The obsessive fixation of the mind on practices and techniques, the unwarranted influence over people. All of these were in the realm of comedians of the past.
The abstract is the search for freedom, freedom to perceive, without obsessions, all that is humanly possible. I say that present-day comedians seek the abstract because they seek freedom; they have less interest in concrete gains. There are no social functions for them, as there were for comedians of the past. So it's rare you'll catch them in the limelight of comedy.
It is not that the past doesn't have value for modern-day comedians. It's the taste of that past that these comedians do not like. I personally detest the darkness and morbidity of the mind. I like the immensity of thought. However, regardless of my likes and dislikes, I have to give due credit to the comedians of antiquity, for they were the first to find out and do everything we know and do today (in comedy).
Their most important attainment was to perceive the energie of the audience. This insight was of such importance that it was turned into the basic premise of comedy - to make someone laugh. Nowadays, after lifelong discipline and training, comedians do acquire the capacity to perceive the energie of the audience, a capacity they call working the crowd.
To perceive the energie of the audience, you have to separate the social part of perception, perceiving instead the essence of the audience. Whatever we're perceiving is energie, but since we can't directly perceive energie, we process our perception to fit a mold. This mold is the social part of perception - tradition and culture - which you have to separate.
The social part of perception reduces the scope of what can be perceived and makes us believe that the mold into which we fit our perception is all that exists. Changing our perception at the social base requires letting go of the notion that the world is made of concrete objects. Society makes a serious and fierce effort to guide us to perceive the world the way we do.
As a synesthete, sounds and letters produce both rounded and sharp inflections in my body, to which my mind reacts. I see everything as energie. The social base of our perception should be the physical certainty that energie is all there is. There's conscious effort required in seeing energie as energie, but doing so would put both alternatives at our fingertips.
Living in such a fashion is a story for another day...