Humor is infectious. It lightens burdens, inspires hope, connects us to others, increases our insight, keeps us grounded, focused, alert, and happy.
Laughter is a universal language that stimulates both sides of the brain. It allows us to get messages quicker and remember them longer. We all learn more when we are having fun. Writing this blog is a creative exploration in sharing thoughts that make me laugh, smile, or think. Thinking is the source of laughter. Welcome and have a nice day!
It's about time for a change. The quest for eternity, an escape from time. Newton's time and Einstein's time, the return of the eternal return. The start of it all, it happens when it happens, when you least expect it.
Leaping ahead of time and then coming back amounts to traveling into the past. Gathering up our tachyons (hypothetical particles that would always travel faster than light), slipping into our tachyonic suit, we must see the bullet hit the target before the gun is fired. Even though locally a particle may never exceed the speed of light, globally its future might connect up with its past.
This possibility arises because a gravitational field implies that spacetime is curved, and the curvature might be great enough and extended enough to join a spacetime to itself in novel ways. If a universe has this geometry, an observer could travel around the universe and return to her starting point.
A timely solution, an interlude, a timescape. Perpetual motion, why time runs faster in space, the clock in the box. The echo that arrived late, that which lies beyond the end of time. The big bang, and what happened before it. What's a few billion years among friends?
Today, this February 29th, a Leap Day held in a Leap Year, some find themselves pondering the effects of time and her many mysteries. Is time travel possible? Is it possible to leap through time, into the past or ahead into the future? Empirically speaking, is technology at a place in which we might ask of it this question?
Time travel leads to logical contradictions, paradoxical loops which are impossible according to our understanding of causation.
One of the basic laws of logic is the law of non-contradiction, which states that something cannot both be true and false at the same time. To sit here, writing this article, only to someday travel back from the future at this very time to give myself some important message ... hold on, wait for it!
Nothing happened. See what I mean? It is not possible to have something not happen and also happen at the same time. In my case, if I were to travel back into time, I would have traveled to this precise moment while I am writing about time travel to prove to myself that it is not only true, but that the laws of logic are illogical.
Of course, one could argue that if I could someday travel back into time I wouldn't travel to this point, I would travel to a more important moment, but that's beside the point. Speaking as a Philosopher, I would say that 'p' cannot simultaneously be 'not p'.
The ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea (490 B.C.E.) described what the Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle later claimed is the quintessential philosophical problem. What makes it interesting is that it's a logical problem that leads to a contradiction that seems to imply that something couldn't be true that our experience tells us must be true.
The problem is called Achilles and the Tortoise. Achilles, the great Greek sprinter, is to race a tortoise. Knowing that the tortoise will be much slower, he gives the tortoise a head start. Nice guy, right?
Now according to mathematics, whatever distance has been covered by Achilles as he races to catch up with the tortoise, there's a corresponding smaller distance covered by the tortoise. The problem is that the tortoise always moves away by some degree from Achilles however much closer he is to the tortoise. So it seems that logic tells us that Achilles can never overtake the tortoise, but we all know that reality tells us he can.
The Australian philosopher, David Lewis (1941-2000), tackled the problems of paradox in his article "The Paradoxes of Time Travel." He purported there are ways in which time travel stories can be seen as consistent, avoiding paradoxes. Lewis's implication is that time travel is logically coherent - that is to say 'possible'.
External time is the time line through which the girl must travel, and personal time is the time line that is always moving forward. So, the Universe's time is the external time through which we move around, but inside ourselves, our very particles have their own personal time in that they are always moving ahead (of time).
This draws a distinction between two kinds of time: external time and personal time. Returning to the girl who leapt ahead of time, she can do so in her personal time because she is not held or bound by external time. It is thus only external time that seems to us contradictory. When she leaps into the ether, she is merely following her own timeline.
To where she is headed, only she and time knows. The only true paradox is our inability to perceive simultaneously the concept of external from the perspective of internal. If we were to leap outside our internal perspective, we would be met with the external perspective, outside the finite lies the realm of the infinite.
If particles can be split, so too can time. Thus saying we can split a concept such as time into external and personal is entirely logical.
In philosophy two very commonly used notions are that of contingency and necessity and they're used in relation to truth. A contingent truth is one that could have been otherwise, and a necessary truth is one that could not have been otherwise. In order to sort the two, philosophers talk about possible worlds.
Possible worlds were introduced to philosophy by the German Enlightenment philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716). He asserted that ours is "the best of all possible worlds." This idea was entertainingly ridiculed by Voltaire (1694-1778) in his satirical story Candide.
In the case of the girl who leapt ahead of time we have a good example of a possible world: one in which she leaps ahead of the present moment and as a result, a whole bunch of other things happen to her that weren't happening in this world. The events that happen to her might be magical and mystical, peaceful and enlightening, thrilling and awe-inspiring.
It is perfectly conceivable that the girl travels to the precise place in time where she meets her personal timeline and rejoins with it in her eternal quest, in a parallel universe where distinctions are blurred and possibilities are tangible. In a world of infinite possibilities, such as this, every point in time has its equal alternative.
As we glance over the divide between external time and personal time, we see ourselves reflected back in our search. Hypothesizing a parallel universe ahead of time might sound unusual, but sub-atomic particles tell us that the mysteries we consider can only be explained by the existence of parallel universes.
I would love to call myself an actualist, but this is an impossibility and thus illogical for without all the answers to life's many mysteries, I cannot fully actualize truth. For this reason, I follow the problem of time loops and the problems of time meddling only as far as they can co-exist with existence insomuch that they (theories) are held in that very same existence.
Whenever a time traveler travels ahead of us we (who remain) find ourselves standing on the cusp of eternity, staring out into the great divide, wondering where our our journey will take us ...
Wherever we are headed, time travel theories lead us back to the idea that all time travels in the same direction.
We are all components on the same cosmic clock,
the only difference between us is the minute hand.
In the winter of 1997 Earle G. Hall, Speaker/Writer, High Tech Researcher/Entrepreneur, Tedx - The Science of Happiness,
with whom I had collected an anthology of true and false miracles for a Parmesan Cheese Bread recipe, suggested that we prepare an excellent Parmesan recipe simply to increase the world's sense of happiness - he was thinking at the time of the Parmesan Cheese Yoghurt, which naturally, I suggested might taste pretty wonky.
Excited by the general idea of Parmesan Cheese, it did not take us long to compile a list of other Parmesan recipes we felt we would like to try (not yoghurt).
We agreed the approach would have to be carefully balanced between the practical ...
... and the fantastic.
We would take for granted that most non-lactose intolerant people like parmesan cheese, and treat our chosen Parmigiano Reggiano as the true, hard, gritty, fruity but nutty in taste cheese treat the reports of an explorer or chronicler, using only the information provided in an original recipe, with no "inventions" on our part would love to devour.
Personal comments would be included only if the recipe called for them, and then only to the extent that someone like myself, who burns food with great frequency, might expect in a normal recipe book. With this intention we based the design of the recipe on a nineteenth-century parmesan cheese
the relic of a time when traveling the world in searching for Parmesan Cheese was still exciting and adventurous.
But as the project developed, as I continued to burn one recipe after the next, our list of recipes and secret tips kept growing, threatening to become endless. The search to find a recipe "Sophy would not burn" burned in our brains, and come to find out, Earle didn't exactly appreciate that analogy. But we had, for all practical purposes, set out to establish certain limits, including starting a ritual friends-only parmesan cheese star gazing activity. We began by deliberately restricting ourselves to recipes that a beginning cook could expect to make, leaving out the really difficult ones for a future time, and including only those that Earle was convinced "anyone could make" - even me.
Alas, we tried baked mashed potatoes with parmesan cheese, over fries with garlic and parmesan cheese, broccoli with poppy seed butter and parmesan, cream cheese and parmesan bread spread, and parmesan cheese twists.
But here our definition of "edible" grew diffuse. Why include such challenging recipes The Swedish Chef himself could not master?
Why include such tough recipes such as soups and risottos, when one could simply venture to taste Parmesan in its natural form? The reason, we venture to suggest, is that some people just can't cook, no matter how easy the recipe.
Alas, it is my excuse and I'm sticking by it. The kitchen is simply not my turf.
But for some reason, Earle persisted. He would not accept my excuses, claiming they were unconvincing, at best. Ultimately I have to admit to having chosen a few recipes simply because they aroused in me that indescribable thrill that can only come from the true achievement of cooking a meal that others can eat; and dare I say, enjoy.
I will not yet denounce cooking altogether, and hope that the reader will not consider my lack of culinary skills an excuse to not try Earle's amazing Parmesan recipes that bring happiness to so many across the globe.
Over a period of more than two years we visited some two hundred recipes, many of which were almost unknown (especially after I tried to make them), so that in the end a little over half of those were thrown away entirely. The Parmesan Cheese Bread recipe is the one and only recipe unburned by me, and thus, Earle's signature recipe.
These tasty, astonishingly rich and diverse treats were created to satisfy an urgent desire for perfection, immaculate utopias of gustatory delight not unlike those experienced in Narnia or Wonderland, but brought to life to find a home for their warm goodness, where the impossible does not clash with the oven (such as when I am in the kitchen); yet, like other recipes, designed to satisfy travelers bored with reality; or travelers who long to practice the dark, unorthodox art of charing food in an oven to a level just perfect, just right, while always employing the best in home kitchen safety.
I know that Earle was concerned about me walking through the doors of any kitchen, and has cautioned me over and over again about venturing back in there, but sometimes parmesan recipes require no justification whatsoever, and like other hard cheeses, can be the most wonderful of experiences the human spirit can enjoy.
To the millions of happy people across the globe who have had the privilege of tasting Earle's signature Parmesan Cheese Bread Sticks, all I can say is Bon Appétit!
As a work of fiction Earle's Signature Parmesan Cheese Sticks recipe is necessarily incomplete and other arbiters of taste will certainly have explored many other recipes unknown to this writer who really does not cook. I take this opportunity to state that this entire post is entirely fanciful and no cheeses were grated in the writing of this post. As for Earle, he has never heard of the Parmesan Cheese Bread recipe or of this fictional experience, and the post itself may escape his notice, and not tickle his funny bone, but it was shared from the future, thereby turning the reader into the author, the traveller into chronicler, the chef into take-out artist, and the proud dad into an even prouder dad knowing that his son will go on do to amazing things, and will most certainly master any Parmesan cheese recipe that comes his way, and were it not for his son and the many brave men like him, kitchen fires, such as the ones I start, would sometimes get out of hand, and god-forbid, extend to the library. It's one thing to burn down an exhaust hood, it's an entirely different enterprise to lose a first edition Alice in Wonderland. And for this reason, Earle will no doubt suggest that I stay in the library and fanciful ruminate away and let those who actually know what they're doing and are trained to do it tackle cooking, to which this author gleefully agrees!
Recently I posted an article titled The Real Meon Facebook and on my blog.
Those who are familiar with my writings, and with "me" through my social media sharing and responses, immediately chimed in and went along with the farce - taking it to a level to which my own creative skills had to stretch, like silly putty, just to keep up.
Others, surprisingly, at least initially, thought my shenanigans were truthful. And I thought staring out with "I leave a large carbon footprint and love GMO "enhanced" produce" would have been an immediate give-away that the post was intended to raise more intriguing issues without sound preachy, pretentious, opinionated, dogmatic, or otherwise like a wanna-be know-it-all.
... which is precisely how we sound when we start waiving our opinions around.
The first point to which I wished to raise attention in a lighthearted and humorous way is our collective CARBON FOOTPRINT. The importance of minimizing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity expressed as CO2 is readily recognized and a matter of international priority, but even with the world calling for change, it is change that begins at home, with us, that will ultimately make the difference in minimizing the negative effects of overconsumption.
Growing up in an era where turning off lights and minimizing electricity use was impressed upon me since early elementary school, turning off lights when I am not in a room, unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use, and minimizing the amount of electrical load I inflict on my household have long since been imperatives and, in general, a way of life.
Still, there is always more than can be done. There are new cooking apparati, more efficient appliances, and indoor air quality practices that can be easily and cost effectively incorporated into our lifestyles. By stating the (hopefully) painfully opposite truth, I hoped to make the article less about "me" and more about what people think about (carbon footprint) as the take-away thought.
Given the sheer number of creative responses that followed my posting, I cannot say whether or not this objective was met, but one thing that did stand out was an aspect of humor and comedy that until this posting was not apparent on my radar of humorous observations.
PLAYFULNESS LEADS TO MORE PLAYFULNESS
Regular followers of my writings on humor know that I am not an advocate of cleverly veiled insults in the name of humor. Since beginning my explorations into humor in its many forms, this has been a consistent position.
Be that as it may, in this particular occasion, given the majority of the responses were playful in nature, what stood out most was not the issues, but the actual farce itself - the intent to make others laugh.
Comedy as a device is not always about the veiled insults and their accompanying issues. Sometimes comedy is really just simple. The experience grabs people by the neurons and drags them into a kickball game or game of cricket.
Comedy says, "Hey YOU! Get out here and play with us!"
In this case, the veiled subject matter is just the foundation upon which the experience of having fun is laid.
George Carlin was an avid reader and a highly frustrated intellectual who cared deeply about the state of the nation, the danger of mass biased opinion, failing educational programs, and the general populace's herd-like tendencies. All the same, he is not remembered for his political stances but for his straight-forward, brassy, in-your-face style of humor.
Carlin's philosophies and political bent resonate with many people, myself included; even though this choice of language does not personally appeal to me. Exclusive of the language and tactics he employed, it was the coherency of his thoughts and the seriousness of the subject and how they affect the population that inspired millions of ardent followers.
The general public or non-followers of Carlin's stand-up comedy routines did not know of his more poignant messages, and thus he is remembered as a comic and not as a political or social philosopher.
Soph Laugh's philosophical insights did not (prior to this blog) exist outside the pale of what is strictly filed and registered as a graduate work thesis. Soph Laugh's thesis work centered around dissolving the accepted bridge of separation in philosophical theories by illuminating the truth behind the similarity of their shared foundation.
It is bias, which results in a failure to neutrally dissect propositions, that leads individuals to wrong conclusions. Every article ever posted herein, irrespective the subject, have consistently illuminated wrong conclusions.
Without the button proving human existence at the end, few would consider the article humorous. Consequently it would be categorized as "serious".
These are the types of articles that go mostly unread and are precisely the articles that are more philosophically interesting to dissect than are loincloths - at least for philosophically-minded individuals (like myself).
HUMOR IS EVERYWHERE
Humor is EVERYWHERE, and is especially prevalent in our biased opinions and in our non-opinions. It is these irregularities in our thinking, as well as inconsistencies and flawed judgments that make us laugh the hardest.
There are hundreds of articles in this blog that are not funny-sounding. But that too is funny, if only because they are being shared in a blog purporting to philosophically explore humor.
What we take seriously and what we write-off as humor or comedy is often times the very same subjects. It is thus the delivery of those subjects that makes something sound funny or serious.
Had I posted my "honest opinions" on carbon footprints, GMOs, politics, social norms, or interpersonal conflicts, the responses would have sounded like this:
The only responses to something as heavy and serious and sappy as this song would be those responses from people who at the time of discovery were experiencing a heavy, serious, or sappy mood, and similar frame of perspective.
This isn't to say that great insights cannot be garnered from serious deliveries, and this certainly isn't to purport that great insights can be garnered by employing the device of humor, but indeed insights are expressed and received each day in a variety of delivery methods.
In the end, as I have consistently expressed:
Humor and comedy are mostly a matter of taste.
Understandably some people will read The Real Me and wonder how much of that was true about me. The more self-reflective may ask themselves how much of what I wrote pertains to them or to the general population. Some will merely laugh it off, knowing perfectly well that it was a farce to shed light on more serious issues without getting serious, which in a very serious world can be worth its weight in gold.
The opportunity to be playful, silly, or funny is really what humor and its cousin comedy is all about. It's about getting people off their high horses and inviting them out onto the playing field to have fun and to laugh at ourselves and others in a playful way; recognizing than none of us are infallible in our thinking and conclusions, but that in the end, that's precisely what makes the game of life so very FUN.
And finally, after five years of examining humor, I have what I consider to be my greatest understanding from the enterprise of philosophizing on the subject:
Life is more fun when we allow ourselves to have fun.
It is full circle that I have come in my journey into laughter, into finding it in every nook and cranny of the human experience. Once I have the opportunity to gather the insights as they unfolded along the way, I hope to publish my findings for anyone curious about said insights. But I'll not do it in a haughty, pretentious, ivy tower-like delivery.
Like my man, Carlin, I hope to deliver my theories on humor and comedy and the human experience in a witty, humorous tall tale of insights sans the colorful language, employing instead the language of a colorblind artist living in a world of colorsighted people who take life just a tad bit too serious for her tastebuds.
(for friends who keep asking me 'What's up with you?')
I leave a large carbon footprint, love GMO "enhanced" produce - but, only if that produce is then reconstituted, repurposed and then introduced (in the form of a "natural" flavoring injection) into my grilled slabs of rare....if not "endangered" wild game. I don't think we NEED bees. I don't buy "free range." I buy confined, doctored up, light manipulated, dazed and confused poultry with miserable lives - and frankly, I wouldn't want it any other way.
I despise "green" spaces. I like "grey" concrete; The more, the better. We ought to demolish every solar and wind farm out there and replace them with wildly inefficient coal and nuclear plants, on fault lines. Oh, and "fracking?" Um, yeah, it's like frackin' AWESOME!!!
My politics run right of the "far right"...so far right in fact....that they actually make the complete circle and appear again on the far left.
I believe in games...especially when it comes to people's hearts. I stay out of shape, avoid the outdoors like the plague, feel uncomfortable in business settings...in jeans and a T-shirt ... in ballroom gowns... or, any other combination or variation on getting dressed up or down, entertaining at parties or "just chilling" at home with a movie. For fun, I run a lot...mostly with scissors. I believe in clear-cutting forests and hunting every last, gosh darn creature to extinction; After all, how else are we to PROVE our dominion over the animal kingdom?
I don't do the "daylight savings" thing...I prefer to spend it, any way I darn well choose to! Also, when traveling, I refuse to adjust the watch that I refuse to wear to the local time zone; it's my clock/watch, which I no longer wear - So, no. Sorry.
"The most interesting woman in the world" and I were bitter rivals and roommates in college; But, I beat her fair and square....I think she's still irked at me and working for some cerveza company in Mexico now. I heard she mutters "Stay thirsty my friends" in sleepless fits. But I'm okay with that.
Ah, the valentine, the enchanter of dreams and confessions. That provocative simplicity that taste could conceal if compassion would spare.
Yes, Valentine's Day! For some, it is an intact memoir of days past. For others, the promise or torment of days not yet come.
My, how exasperatingly boring the experience can be without the lavish array of flower petals, champagne, soapy bubbles, and stiletto heels. And yet how utterly robust when given a sensuous experience that would all together cause one to forego all memories not aphrodisiac in nature.
Oh, I am not speaking of those experiences synonymous with moral leprosy, but rather the desperate honesty that throbs through countless Valentine confessions of people desperately wishing for singing violins that conjure up a tendresse, a passion for the holiday that entrances us with the idea of falling in love, even while abhorring its commercial origins.
Sigh ... Valentine's are vivid characters in a unique story: they entice us with dangerous thoughts; they ferociously point out delightful novelties; and they force us to take a close look at ourselves with still greater vigilance and vision, so that we might make our love stories worthy of the day.
L, light of my life, fire of my spirit. My error, his life. The idea burns my mind's eye and pierces at my brain, one sting right after the other.
He was L, remarkable, handsome, alluringly powerful, L.
Standing on the deck of the boat in the tropics, he was devastatingly stylish. His prose was stylish. Even the Sun timidly shone upon his forehead. And then there were those water droplets, dripping down the side of his glass. Could he have been more perfect? I suppose, yes. In fact, he could have been many different things, but had one thing changed about him, the allure might have disappeared.
Power seduces, but L was more compelling than that alone. His accent was a combination of Spanish with French. He vacationed on the Riviera. Schooled in Oxford. And had a dash of highly controlled fast talking Americana from NYC.
At forty he was positioned very nicely on the international stage. He campaigned 16 hours of the day, dined for two hours, and slept fast, in preparation of the following day.
We were surrounded by pompous aristocrats and their lovely attendants. I was actually working that day, attending to the details of an upcoming state function with the finance minister. Just as I was about to leave, L was there. Waiting for me in the foyer, he asked why I was leaving so soon.
No tienes que ir, tan pronto, he said.
Claro que no, I smiled.
Thirty minutes later we were aboard the Athena. She was a beautiful vessel, majestic as she was formidable.
L anticipated my every desire. I reached for nothing. I can close my eyes and distinctly remember his large, muscular hands and how very smoothly he slid the glass between my fingertips.
There's more to this story, but I did say it was only going to be a little Valentine romp ....
Whatever Valentine story you tell, create, inspire, or experience, I hope it is one that inspires celebration, infinitely soft partings, delightful debonair manners, and beauty worthy of visual memory.