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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why Do Some Things Make Us Laugh?

I STILL GIGGLE AT THE VERY THOUGHT. Sitting at lights, I see a public transport bus turning the adjacent corner and something about its front wheel catches my eye—someone’s ingeniously jammed a polystyrene cup in the rim of the wheel and as the wheel turns forward the cup does too—round and round it goes in an hilarious oblong fashion. I don’t know what it is about this but I found it humorous—it just looked so funny.

How is that some things—the weird, the wonderful, the bizarre—make us laugh?

There are even some things that I’d not mention here that make me giggle like a little boy. Not that I’m ashamed. My wife and I and our family share some of the weirdest and most wonderful things to laugh about that God’s created for living. Every family’s probably exactly the same.

Humour takes things to the absurd.

It teases out the irony.

It takes cheeky advantage of times otherwise offensive—at times, and in certain crowds, blatantly so.

Humour majors on the ridiculous engaging the child’s heart in each of us.

But at some point, as we mature, we must investigate why we do actually laugh. The things we laugh at and the reasons we laugh reveal a lot about our characters. It tells us (and others close enough to us who might reliably know) where we have our weaknesses set, in terms of our love (or lack thereof) of others.

Quincy Jones is quoted as saying,

“I’ve always thought that a big laugh is really a loud noise from the soul saying, ‘Ain’t that the truth.’”

In this way laughs connect us with our deepest moral truths—those things we hold as our most visceral values and core beliefs.

Again, these things point us to a fair reflection of ourselves, if we’re so interested—those values held even at times at the subconscious level. If we see our identities as a thing worth checking every now and then, resolving the moral shortfalls to the enduring of all our relationships—most clearly with God—then we’ll not take a second thought of despondency about this and just simply do it.

What makes us laugh? Or better, are we laughing at the expense of others when that is inappropriate i.e. it makes fun of them or de-values them in some way?

The reason this is such an important question remains in our peers. To please people—and yes we seek to do this in assuring our own self-worth at times—we occasionally (or frequently) laugh with them, no matter what the laugh’s about. Some of this laughter is essentially immoral.

Humour is critical to our overall health, but it ought always to be honourable and respectful in the face of our entire humanity.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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