Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tossing Out Humour Theories, for Fun

Philosophizing leads us toward reflection, not spontaneity.
Unless you're tossing theories out.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Show Up For The Free Bagels & Coffee

"Some days you feel like you're crushing it, other days you feel like you're trying to slam a revolving door."

~Soph Laugh, Philosophical Humorist

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Perceived Value of Rank Weed

The Etymology of Rank Weed

Long before weed referred to marijuana, it referred to “tobacco” in the early 1600s. Slang lexicographer Jonathon Green finds it as slang for “marijuana” in the 1910s. Weed itself comes from the Old English weod, regarded as a rank plant even back then, with cognates in other West Germanic languages.
Rank weed is aptly named due to a flowering cannabis plant's inherent property for producing and sustaining vigorous and luxuriant growth. The term "rank weed" appeals to those who hold an appreciation for prolificacy. 

The Future of Rank Weed

In terms of trail-blazing income, California is a juggernaut with over $2.75 billion in cannabis sales. The value of something that causes or assists healthy growth despite being federally legal and/or widely socially acceptable will invariably bring the object into full view. 

What the Experts Say

According to Forbes, one of the main draws of legalized, taxed marijuana from an investor's perspective is the idea of a cashing in on an estimated $31 billion opportunity, while other investment analysts call "cannabis mutual funds and ETFs a great concept but with existing flaws." 


People want what they want. 

Realizing profit from Prohibition 2.0 depends on the pioneering development of a new business model. In 2017, the world's most valuable brands were: 

  1. Apple ($184 billion)
  2. Google ($141.7 billion)
  3. Microsoft ($80 billion)
  4. Coca-Cola ($69.7 billion)
  5. Amazon ($64.8 billion)
  6. Samsung ($56.2 billion)
  7. Toyota ($50.3 billion)
  8. Facebook ($48.2 billion)
  9. Mercedes-Benz ($47.8 billion)
  10. IBM ($46.8 billion)

Each one of these models enables the consumer to feel good about themselves in society, to navigate society, to interact with society, to drink from society, to quickly and cost-effectively tap society's collective ingenuity, to enjoy society's prolific creativity, to communicate with others in society, and from the looks of it with projected cannabis growth estimates: to escape from society.

Author's Opinion

The rising acceptance and value of cannabis is directly proportional to the existential side effects society experiences in its ever-evolving perception of self in relation to society. The greatest brands honor this reality of human social behavior. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Oh please. Not you again.

Happy Thoughts Travel Fast

I started this blog in 2011. During this time, I have learned a thing or two about humor; about what makes people laugh, about what makes me laugh - and about what doesn't. This article, for example, might be something best left for my private journal cause it ain't funny-ha-ha.

It is funny, though. At least to me. It is Funny-interesting; in the sense that since 2011, I have had the distinct pleasure of enjoying a philosophical experiment in which I legally changed my last name to Laughing. In the name of humor.

This is by far the funniest thing I have done, and the best joke I have ever told. 

The Value of Happy Thoughts 

For those who are on the "positivity kick" ~ happy thoughts and positive vibes, like this blog: Happy Thoughts Travel Fast bring added value to our lives. Humor does lighten burdens. It helps us catch our breath, giving us time to see the bright side of life.

Humor does not disappoint. 

In the name of humor, this blog is filled with over a thousand articles on the subject. Written in the name of laughing, comedy's history, feeling happy, and thinking positively or philosophically about things like PacMan and Comic Book Heroes, I have endeavored to utilize creative writing and journaling to offer myself and the world along with me, a more personalized glimpse of living with humor. By doing so, I hope that my "experiment" inspires others to consider what humor means to them, and how it may benefit their daily lives.

IRL, being an academically trained philosopher and a business executive, some of my articles are less than comical or whim'sical; in that each was written under the auspices of what one might call: a philosophical whim. These are not comedic; yet they remain, either because I forgot to delete them, or decided to keep them for their inherent humor, even if it is only apparent to me. 

Beyond jokes, thinking about "stuff" makes me laugh; in the meta sense that anything exists to laugh about in the first place. Still, none of us are always laughing, nor are we always funny. And sometimes, we can lose our very good sense of humor.

We see this fact illuminated when we lose brilliant comedians like Robin Williams, who, along the way, lost his sense of humor.

Admittedly, I "get" why Robin Williams lost his sense of humor. I can imagine how many people pulled on his goodwill, so to speak. It seems like the world relentlessly tugged at his funny bone until it permanently dislodged. Not that he didn't have his own life to live, but public lifestyles are highly taxing, affecting our ability to maintain a healthy amuse system.  

Like Robin Williams, I have branded myself as humorous, when in reality, I'd like to think that I am more than just funny. As a matter of fact, I can be Seriously Funny! As in, you'd-crack-up-if-you-knew-me-in-real-life kinda funny.

But, I too got tired of being funny (for the general public). In my personal life, my sense of humor remained intact, but while I was busy making jokes and entertaining myself, friends, and family, the so-called "public" ~ bombarded me, albeit in earnest, sharing their secrets and challenges, and matters that are overly personal. And I responded to all of these emails and inquiries for one reason: I was brought up to have "Good Manners." 

The Danger of Good Manners 

The inherent danger of having good manners (and a publicly shared sense of humor or lifestyle) means you become a willing "listener" to the trials and tribulations of others. You do not interrupt. You do not criticize. You do not ask them to go away. You do not say what you're really thinking, which is probably something like: "Oh please. Not you again." 

Instead, you let things linger. You smile when you really want to run away. You let people ramble on and on, and on and on, and on and on, ad infinitum. You take the bad with the good and before you know it, you tuck your good sense of humor away, deep inside your sock drawer. 

Doing so, you're destined to wear other socks when greeting the public. Moods resembling Polyester blends, or fresh cotton. Good moods, like socks, can fall down, inside your shoes, requiring you to pull them back up again. When this happens, you might reach for your winter wardrobe and pull out a trusty pair of:

Wool socks. 

Wool socks are great for cocooning. They're best worn during the winter holidays at a time when our mood is sentimental and nostalgic. Wool socks are cozy and reliable. They feel "just right" on a cold, winter night spent relaxing around a fireplace and enjoying the good company of others. But they're a bit thick. They get itchy. And eventually, like a bad mood, they're plain uncomfortable. 

I'm not suggesting we go overboard and don a pair of thin liner socks, the shriveled up raisin-kind Macy's or Galeries Lafayette pull out when you're shoe shopping; but definitely, the right sock makes all the difference. 

So, too, does the right attitude. 

Living with Happy Thoughts 

Living with happy thoughts is not always about being in a funny or heightened state. It isn't always about entertaining others. It is about producing good humor internally. Imagine, if you will, your sense of humor or good mood being like an auxiliary backup power plant. This power plant produces happy energie when the core system is interrupted.

After being on social media for 7 years, my core system got interrupted. It went down on account of ordinary life exacerbated by the heavy burden of responding to thousands of people reaching out to me on a daily basis (all hours of the day) to share the personal details of their lives. Even though I did not need to respond, these are all good people, so I did.

Doing so, I ran out of good humor for the public. From the more mundane domestic challenges to the very serious life-altering ones, the result of others oversharing their personal lives with me was my own happiness malfunction. So, I went offline. 

Fortunately, this did not overly affect my natural auxiliary happy system. It did, however, make me question whether public sharing was worth it.

In theory, I am an advocate of open sharing in the sense I believe knowledge should be shared. But placing ourselves in the public eye has its inherent challenges. Few professionally, emotionally, morally, or intellectually qualified for the role would willingly serve as President, for example, if only because of the ridiculous violations into our personal lives.

Sophy Laughing

7 years of living with the delightful reality of becoming Dr. Sophy M. Laughing still makes me laugh. Mostly, I feel happy when I see how something as simple as changing my name can bring about so many natural smiles.

Just the other day a delivery person arrived at our door. He asked me to sign for a package. When I did, he asked for my last name. "Laughing," I told him. 

"How do you spell that?" he asked. 

"How do you spell: Laughing?" I asked eyebrow raised. 

He paused for a moment. Smiled. And then asked, "Laughing, as in laughing?" 

"Yes," I responded, "as in ha-ha." 

"That's cool," he said, offering me a head nod. 

"Thanks," I replied. "I think so, too." 

And there you have it!

The next phase of my research into humor.

The art of living with humor. 

For me, doing or saying anything in the name of good humor makes me smile. When I feel happy inside I have a pep in my step. I'm excited to get to work. I look forward to interacting with others. I produce more. I relax more. In other words, I live freer because I feel better ~ about myself and about others. 

Good humor is subjective, 
but happy is universally accessible

I'm not saying you have to change your name to Laughing to feel happy ~ though you're welcome to do so if you're a bit unorthodox and also don't mind the paperwork ~ but you can change your perspective on humor. And happiness. 

You can look at humor and positivity in the sense that all things are what we make of them. There are going to be days, maybe months, when life happens and you don't feel like being funny or happy. And that's okay. 

But when the dust settles, 

You can live with people sharing their woes. You can even live with your housekeeper retiring after a decade of admirable service, leaving you with a messy house, which will still be here tomorrow, so you might as well relax and ignore it until you hire a new housekeeper ~ or buy a can of Pledge.

"No one ever dies and says: 
'I wish I would have cleaned my house more!'"

Long story short

Like others who are drawn toward humor, I realized that good people reach out to us with their problems because humor really does bring us closer to one another. It reminds us that we're in this thing called life, together.

Dare I say, our followers become distant friends ~ and grateful friends. Because let's face it, we're all grateful when someone makes us smile.

Dear Friends of Happy Thoughts Travel Fast,

You may have noticed that over the last year or so, I quit blogging, and for the most part, left social media. I did so because I was in a rather serious ice skating accident, which combined with relentless emails, felt overwhelming. I am not a psychotherapist. I am not professing to have the answers to life, nor am I supernatural, nor do I understand the inherent nature of the number 42.

What I do know is this:

Humor is subjective. Humor enables us to laugh at life. Good humor helps us laugh at the awkwardness of living, not at each other. Comedy is the darker side of humor. It is the more mundane, profane, or veiled insults delivered utilizing comedy as a linguistic device. The latter rarely makes people "feel good" inside, and personally, I find it distasteful. My stance on this has been openly expressed since day one.

I would very much like to make the entire world laugh, to produce an abundance of happy thoughts and give them the nudge they need to travel throughout the cosmos, tickling funny bones everywhere. But let's face it. I'm not that funny. I am just a person who values humor for its personal and social benefits. I also value the benefits of having a positive outlook on life.

In the end, I'm a person who sees a glass and drinks from it ~ if I am thirsty. I don't fret about whether it is half-full or half-empty.

In the name of good humor and the inherent value in a good pair of socks,
Sophy Laughing,
aka: Soph Laugh

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Follow Me

Follow Me, I know a shortcut ...

A shortcut is a heuristic technique, it is what we do to learn or discover something new for ourselves. It is what we call a "hands-on" experience. It is the way in which we solve problems, learn, or discover new information. 

We also know that taking a shortcut means we will see what lies just beyond our normal peripheral vision, a parallel path, if you will. This path may not be perfectly groomed and manicured, but it is immediate because it is new. 

When our brains encounter new information we are nearly fully engaged. This engagement results in a quickening of the heartbeat, a livening of the imagination, and a fueling of the spirit, which invigorates and propels us onward, filling us with bravery and courage each step of the way. 

There is a bias, though, as we instinctively believe shortcuts will enable us to reach our destination faster, resulting in our capacity to travel onward, further ... toward discoveries that would have not come to fruition had we taken the straight and narrow path. 

As we travel along the path toward wherever it is we're headed, shortcuts speed up the process of finding that which we seek. Shortcuts deliver our dreams to us faster, enabling us to enjoy them longer. The more enjoyable the journey, the more immediate the sensation of being alive, and the happier we feel. 

Deep happiness leads to altruistic behavior. When our needs are met, we are far more capable of meeting the needs of others. These are those times when we walk side by side with others, pointing out the beautiful scenery, sharing thoughts and ideas, and enjoying simple discourse, whatever the topic. 

These very human reactions indicate that the goal of life is not reaching the destinations we set for ourselves but rather, the newness of information, the outward expansion of our sense of being becoming [itself]. The state of becoming is thus the ideal state. 

It is in becoming where we take flight; where our true intelligence lies; where the cognitive burden of making decisions is at ease with itself. These are those educated guesses, those intuitive judgments, and common sense to which we refer when we just know something is true. 

On the straight and narrow path we quickly learn the terrain, to the point we stop seeing it. But trial and error shows us that we do not always know what we think we know. 

Take light, for instance. Had Einstein not questioned its fundamental nature, how long would the world have waited before someone else came along and pondered its mysteries? 

Pondering mysteries is what immediately takes us off the straight and narrow path. Here we must sit and visit with an idea, a truism, or a mystery ... asking it questions and listening for answers.  

Imagine putting together a puzzle. You start with a box of pieces, all randomly thrown about. You begin pulling out a few pieces at a time, matching them according to shapes and color. If you know what the puzzle "should look like" you have a head start, but you are also missing out on a fundamental experience: the realm of the unknown. 

It is in the "not knowing" that we discover what we actually know. When we approach an idea with notions on what it is or what it will become, we rarely venture far from that thought path. 

The ability to bring together pieces of a puzzle into a preconceived shape speeds up our success rate. It gets us to the goal of having a completed puzzle faster. From here we can move onto new puzzles, repeating the process over and over again until the point that even new information no longer feels new. 

... or we can dump out all the puzzle pieces before us and without a preconceived image, begin assembling bits and pieces in a way that our instincts are exercised. When we try to see what we can derive from very little information, we engage our instincts in a way that we become more intuitive, more instinctual in the process. It is from these instincts our species has learned to survive and thrive. 

Easy as this sounds, it can be a daunting experience. Few people are comfortable venturing into the unknown. Those who do, either do so tiptoeing, little by little, or do so with GUSTO, jumping head first! 

Shortcuts are hard-coded within us by evolutionary processes. Our approach to taking them explains how we make decisions, formulate judgments, and solve problems when we are faced with complexity and incomplete information. 

The rules or methods we use are our own, and work in most circumstances, but how delightful is it when they don't work? This is when we open a new door within ourselves, unlocking a new pathway we hadn't previously seen or considered.

Let us journey to Utopia ... 

In Plato's Republic we imagine the "ideal city" - only it does not yet exist. We must first create it. Since the 4th century B.C.E. we have been in pursuit of Utopia, the beautiful society where egalitarian principles of equality are woven through its foundation, where government and justice work in harmony with principles of respect and dignity, where all beings live and work in harmony, traveling hand in hand as the entire species moves forth, venturing through an unknown cosmos. 

Boundless opportunities exist in a society that travels onward in harmony, finding a place for all to contribute naturally and with great enthusiasm and joy. All of us have something to offer this society, and the society works optimally when we all are given the opportunity to share our unique perspectives, talents, and pearls of wisdom. 

Life is not meant to be traveled ahead of time. Success is not moving ahead of society, taking more than one needs to actively and happily participate and contribute. 

Life is all about the participation, the level of engagement we bring to the table.

That's thriving!

*Follow me, a photography project by Murad Osmann
Article by Sophy Laughing

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Hedonistic Calculus

To determine an individual's pleasure or pain from an action, English utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) suggested weighing intensity (pleasure's strength), duration (how long pleasure would last), certainty (the probability that the action will result in pleasure), propinquity (how soon the pleasure might occur), fecundity (the chance that the pleasure would result in further actions), and purity (the probability these further actions would be further pleasures and not pains). He also added extent, taking into account the effects of the said decision on other people. 

Because universities are yet to offer a course in Hedonistic Calculus, we can only guess the specific algebra required to compare these variables, on how to quantify, for example, the intensity of pleasure. 

We can, however, look to J.S. Mill via Sandel, at this Harvard University lecture on the philosophical notion of utilitarianism. 

If this sort of lecture isn't your thing, follow these instructions.

Do that which brings you pleasure. 
Prior to the dissipation of the pleasurable sensation, ask yourself these five questions: 

  1. Are you feeling good? 
  2. Do you want to do this again? 
  3. To what extent are your thoughts different from ordinary, pleasure-deficient thoughts? 
  4. How willing are you to repeat that which just brought you pleasure? 
  5. If you could, would you choose this sensation, uninterrupted and ad infinitum? 

Write down your answers. 
Think about them. 
Repeat, as necessary, to formulate your opinion. 
Compare and contrast your opinion against your opinion outside the pleasure state. 
How do these opinions differ? How do you account for the differentiation? 

Formulating pleasure into a body of science requires a demonstrated replicability both of the application of the method and of the results obtained in this way. 

When in doubt, guess. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What happens when a Philosopher joins your company's legal department

Solipsism Warning: 

The consumer should be aware that he or she may be the only entity in the universe, and therefore that any perceived defects in product quality are the consumer's own fault.

Determinism Safety Advisory:

Every citizen is advised that despite the possibility that his or her acts are all entirely predetermined by the blind mechanical nature of the universe and are therefore unavoidable and inescapable, he or she will still incur a legal responsibility and liability for any torts, violations, misdemeanors, or felonies he or she commits.

Knowledge-Definition Warning:

Because knowledge is defined for the purpose of this product literature as "justified true belief", the manufacturer cannot prove that they "know" any of the information provided with this product to be true, correct, complete, or consistent because they cannot demonstrate their internal belief states through the principle of Philosophic Privacy.

Cartesian Evil Genius Alert:

The reader is advised that he or she may be subject to an illusion generated by an evil genius and that his or her "sensory fibers" may be falsely manipulated at any time with neither advance warning nor any possible legal remedy.

Epistemological Denotation Warning:

The consumer must understand that due to the a-priori impossibility of assuring a shared denotation amongst independent agents, none of the advertising material, product literature, instructions, or safety warnings (including this one), associated with this product may contain what the consumer perceives to be factual information.

Non-Universal Ethics Notice:

Due to the possibility that a common notion of ethics is not universally shared by all sentient beings, and that therefore the manufacturer may have entirely different concept of "fairness", "equity", "honesty", and "integrity" than the consumer, the consumer should not expect the product purchased to conform in any way to the advertised properties of the product.

Godelian Product Disclaimer:

As it has been proven that there are many true but unprovable statements, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for any of its unsupported product claims.

Penrose Addendum to Godelian Disclaimer:

Despite the above warning, the manufacturer is confident that all its product claims are true because of its mystically acquired and computationally unrepudiable organic intuition. Unfortunately, the manufacturer cannot in any way demonstrate that its intuition is correct, or indeed that it has an intuition.

Philosopher-General's Existentialist Tobacco Products Label:

Warning! this product has been found to cause cancer and emphysema and to lead to increased likelihood of strokes and heart disease. However, as the Universe is a soulless waste inhabited by unthinking machines it doesn't matter in the least whether you smoke or not. Go ahead, light up, it's all the same in the end.

Philosophical Break-Up Lines, Infographic