When I am around people, I like to make them laugh. It always feels good when my words happen to evoke that response in others. I notice many of us like to act in this way, to “make light” of our situation by turning the table and poking fun of anything that takes itself too seriously. It can be something of a high to others, so much so, that they will get into comedy and make a living out of it.
G.K. Chesterton once said:
Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
This quote points to the mindset of the “Absolute Reality”, which is looking at existence from the highest perspective. It is the idea that everything is essentially play, which doesn’t exist for any purpose beyond the enjoyment of itself and the advancement of that joy. This means that everything is fair game to be made fun of, because ultimately everything always works itself out at the end of the play.
Though, in the “Relative Reality”, which is looking at existence from the human realm, it doesn’t always work out that way. Laughter isn’t always seen as a good thing. Someone, for example, laughing at the fact that they inflicted harm on others, is not exactly “making light” of a situation. It seems more like they are “making darkness” out of it. We might see the same thing in bullies who ridicule others just to get a small hit of that jester’s high. This seems to be only creating a lesser type of enjoyment because it is at the expense of others.
Perhaps another way humor is used negatively is by acting as a type of “release valve” for our frustration instead of pointing towards solutions by virtue of being more sincere with the audience. Certain political comedy shows have been accused of sliding into this this role, while also causing more division within the society by ridiculing the supposed opposition. Good use of humor seems to not aim its sights towards the suffering of others, but has a more subtle flavor to it. As though it somehow has a universal grasp of our situation instead of simply picking off one ego at a time by deriding their personality, appearance or belief systems. Effectively, blaming a certain group or individual for all the negatives of society.
Yet, it gets kinda weird to talk about humor in the negative, because even within the “Relative Reality” we can see how a life without humor would be utterly lifeless , and if we were to restrict certain words from being used by force of law — it would even start to look dystopian.
The real key to this, is awareness. The way we use words is only a personal choice. I like to use words in a way that have the least probability of offending anyone’s sentiment. Though, if they do happen to offend, I don’t need to feel guilty, because I know it can’t be helped.
The idea is that if we take ourselves lightly, who is there to offend? Within the subjective realm of your existence, you don’t need to be offended by what anyone says because you can know their words are only a reflection of their own self. This is what can help us integrate the “Relative Reality” with the “Absolute Reality”.
Possibly also, we can lessen the probability where our words will make us cringe in awkwardness or anger. A delightful prospect, if I do say so myself!
Now if I only knew how I could write something out, so that it was objectively funny. Likely, it will not come from this verse:
A joke made, laughing out loud
They did not find it funny
To One the higher
To One the lesser
A slip and a fall down the winding stairs
Laughing out loud, the tables are turned
Seeing the predicament
They laugh together
To both the higher