Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I am a deep laughter. Deep laughter and deep thinker both. Play on words, jokes (vs. practical jokes), and Freudian slips have reduced me to tears - rolling with laughter.
Over the last year or so, I've made comparisons of humor across social boundaries, conducted some quasi-comparative studies of humor, made a few systematic comparisons between the jokes told from different nations, and contemplated on the remarkable ingenuity displayed by seemingly simple inventors and tellers of things that make us laugh.
Whatever humor it, it is perhaps left up to each individual to explore. Defining the origin of humor is like trying to define the origin of the universe - it just is. Wit, comedy, risible, mirth, etc. are concepts that lie just below the surface waiting to emerge the moment a priest, a rabbi, and a basketball player simultaneously walk into a bar or arrive to those Pearly Gates in the sky.
What I do know is that choosing to laugh every day feels causes your entire being to resonate higher and higher until every particle feels as if it's giggling with you. It's like breathing funny, and it feels good. I also figured something else out here... every scholarly book I read on humor begins by saying that there isn't much written on the subject, to which I say, "Phewy!"
We've been doing nothing but writing about humor since we started slapping paint on cave walls!
I think the scholars who go around repeating this Bogus Logus Jocus are all participating in some sort of secret ISHS dicterium handshake. I mean, think about it. If I tell you that there's not much written on the subject of humor, would you be more inclined to read my book? Would you take it as a challenge and start ordering all the humor books you could get your hands on from Amazon? If you were a student, would you consider changing majors thinking you'd have less homework and a chance to make a name for yourself? Would you secretly love the idea of reading comics all day and applying scholarly bogus logus on the subject?
There's dangers to defining any broad concept - life, love, knowledge, existence, humor - but most people go to great lengths to do so anyway. I've had a few days like this in my life, but after the compulsion passes, and it usually passes pretty quickly, I often find myself in need of mindless television programming, a joke book, or other lighthearted experience to keep things in check.
If anything, my exploration into humor has brought me balance, a sense of peace knowing that I can choose to laugh anytime I wish - irrespective of what's going on at work, home, or in my own mind.
To define humor is to miss out on a genuine laugh or giggle, but to think about humor, to consider humor, to explore humor, opens up many more opportunities to laugh about things you've never before considered. I have no need to publish some scholarly work on the subject. Like exercise, I prefer to start slowly and then gradually taper off into the sunset to a comedy club with a bunch of friends for the evening.
It's getting out into the world with real people, real moments, and real experiences that brings about real laughter. The type you lose yourself in...
Why would anyone invent a device or software that keeps us physically alienated from the world. If you want to learn about someone from India, don't just "friend them" on Facebook, go to India and make friends with the people you meet. If you want to laugh, choose to see the funnier side of any situation - and if it's a bad one like cancer or tragedy, choose love, show compassion, or extend a helping hand to someone in need. When you encounter someone who isn't happy, don't return the favor with a frown - make a joke! They might feel better, and if they don't, well, who cares, you tried and more importantly, you probably laughed inside, even if for only a moment.
When we allow ourselves to laugh at life, we open up another part of our humanity that allows for something not defined. For all our searches, we seem to delight most in the experience of not knowing. That is a cosmic joke that connects us all, no matter where we live, no matter our race, gender, or economic situation, we're all stuck here - until we're not - and we might as well make the best of it.
My epitaph is already written...
"She died Laughing"
I'm just happy that I lived long enough to enjoy my own joke.
I sincerely hope that everyone in the world has the opportunity to deeply laugh at least once in their life. I think that if we do, laugh genuinely and deeply, that we'll all lighten up a bit to get past ill-conceived differences that keep us glued to computers when there's fun to be had outside playing with our friends.
Enjoy your day, find something to laugh about, and by all means, share it with anyone who will let you!