I Believe In Humor for the Good-Natured Hell of It
Comparable to quarks: you can’t look too closely at it, because when you study it, it becomes fundamentally altered. If you study it, and dissect it, you lose “it.” The humor loses the spontaneous-ness. The beauty of humor is its spontaneous nature, or the illusion thereof. Even when a comic performs a meticulously rehearsed act, there is always an edge of adlibbing. You might know your jokes, but you never know your audience.
Life is short. No matter how technologically advanced we get, our lives are just the blink of an eye on the cosmic scale. What we do will not change the universe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that that the inability to have a noticeable affect on the universe is a bad thing in any way. This is not pessimism; this is optimism. This cosmic unimportance is a freedom to do what you want with your life, to have fun. So I never take anything too seriously. Humor is the ultimate rationalization of extreme insignificance. As long as you can make fun of something, or spoof on it, you’re still in control of something, even if it’s just yourself. It is a wonderfully useful way of dealing with your own mortality.
When my grandfather was dying, afflicted by dementia, and bed-ridden, the only really recognizable part of him was that he still cracked jokes, and still had the same slightly morbid, highly offensive sense of humor I seem to have inherited. Even so close to death, he still had a sense of humor. It wasn’t out of aggression, or sex drive, as Freud postulates. It was not out of fear of death, but I think acceptance of it.
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