Thursday, November 8, 2012
Much like how comedians of the past experimented with humor, I too have anchored my inquiry in experimentation. My experimentation focuses on understanding and describing situations or concepts without presuppositions about what is universally funny.
Admittedly, suspending belief about what is 'not funny' is not without its difficulty. It is my belief that tragedy and criticism are not humor, but rather negativity that utilizes comedic devices such as irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to negatively expose negative behavior. This belief notably biases my humor toward more benevolent or universal concepts rather than disseminating the sharp, cutting edge jokes that, at present, receive more acclaim and notoriety. Negative concepts - even when comically portrayed - attract more solicitous interest than joyful ones. Positive humor, it would seem, is merely appreciated for its wittiness and skillful construction than for its overall depth and value to the subject of humor.
Perhaps what makes tragedy more universally appealing is that it evokes within us an empathizing with heroes and heroines, illuminating or bringing to surface our own latent feelings, which until then are chaotic, unfiltered, and unquestioned. When our deepest personality comes into focus, we have the opportunity to express the creative force, which feels akin to enlightenment and growth. This mixture of positive and negative feelings is present in most areas of life and often referred to as 'drama'.
Our personal history largely affects our experiential framework. Basically, we find what we seek. We observe externally what we feel inside ourselves. This interplay between significant emotions creates the tragic protagonist of a drama who seeks discord - even in humor. Sadly, it would seem that for those individuals focused on conflict and challenge, drama and tragic conflict is an unavoidable denouement.
Tragedy and humor come from different circuits of the human creative orientation. They play out differently, affecting our worldview and physiological functioning. When we seek enjoyment, enjoyment ensues. When we seek out the grotesque, bizarre irony surfaces in its place.
Investigating humor - defined as positive self-expression - yields a viewpoint that there's more at stake here than would otherwise be uncovered in the simple act of telling a joke. Beginning with the elementary concept of "enjoyment" we explore innumerable modalities that our experience, perception, and imagination endows. The true significance of this undertaking reverberates in positive humor. It disappears in the presence of negative or dark humor, leaving in its place chagrin, sadness, and despair.
In short, exploration of humor is - for me - an exploration of those thoughts, feelings, and experiences that penetrate our very being and bring to light the intricacies of enjoyment through laughter, mirth, joy, and amusement. Just as life carries the dynamic unfolding of feelings and conscious acts whose role it is to safeguard and balance out survival modes between pain and sadness, so too does humor unfold acts essential to our advancement, maintenance, and progress; aspects of living which are vital reinforcements of courage, faith, and hope - the elements required for human progress.