autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Repost from Quora: My silly ramble on integrating humor into life

Link to full question/answer stream is here:

Q: What are some ways people integrate humor into their life philosophy, and what are the costs and benefits?

Clarification: For some people, humor is a part of isolated life experiences like watching sitcoms or conversations with friends that doesn’t go any deeper. For others, it seems integral to their life philosophy. If you are in the latter group, or know people who are, what are some ways you know of to integrate humor into your life at a deeper level? What is the nature of the humorous sensibility involved (examples: ironic, satirical, slapstick, absurdity)? What are the costs (example: never taking anything seriously enough to succeed), and benefits (example: easier to walk away from failures)?

My answer:

This is an impossibly deep thing to try and explain, let alone explain succinctly. I can only speak for my own perspective (of course), but I find a fundamental humor in the reality that our entire life is spent heading toward death and the unanswerable question of what (if anything) happens beyond it.

I find that all events and feelings are inherently humorous, requiring only a shift in perspective to see them so.

I find that every “norm” set forth by culture or society is ultimately an absurd humor, placing the frame from which all manner of calumny, hypocrisy, and horror springs; from which we all run, screaming and waving our arms and wailing about how surprised we are that it happens… utterly human hilarity.

I find humor in that we rarely accept things as they are, we insist upon mourning things that were just as we do things that never were, we persist in wishing for things that do not (and may never) arrive, and readily, eagerly go snarling or snapping at anyone or anything that even hints that the perspective, expectation, and arrogance of us might be the only actual cause of the gaping abyss between “where one is” and “where the happy can be found”.

Laughter and tears, you see; it’s all happening in this second and what we see is what we choose to see, based upon how we engage, interact, or avoid “what is”.

For me, such humor is beautiful… paradoxically so. How can it be otherwise, such glorious delusions are richly humorous in every way, using every descriptive.

Humor, I think, is not made of the things that rely on derision, sarcasm, pain, or dominance to “get the laugh”; those aren’t really humor, they are masquerading and distracting from what they are, using humor as the vehicle to manage it. I know the difference, I feel it, and I know as well the things that hide and writhe under such “humor”; understandably human, all of it, albeit utterly futile as a long-term relief. In their own way, humor yes, but of decidedly satirical bent.

I do not know if I am actually answering your question, but I am answering my own; perhaps, if we are fortunate, they’ll meet somewhere in the middle.

There are some concepts that, I fear, do not render well or fully in words. Of course, it is also humor that it has taken me this many of the words to reach the moment in which this sentence occurs.

I find few “costs” associated with seeing the humor (or acknowledging that its potential rests within me) that drapes like air over all of my life experience. When thinking of costs, I suppose my own ego and pride are the primary ones; after all, it can be hard to find humor in oneself when the area in which it rises is “important” or “meaningful” or “special” to me; hard to endure the sense that comes with laughter when I fear that I look foolish or ignorant or silly or uncouth, or any number of things that sting and hurt and are like salt in old wounds of esteem and acceptance and belonging.

I see the benefits as shit; you know, fertilizer. Yes, it stinks sometimes, yes it is messy to be around and stains everything and inevitably only arrives just in time to totally ruin the new, white silk slacks or shoes. But nothing really grows without it, so having it around is kind of important.

After all, how hard can anything in life ever be if I can sit in the middle of an amazing mountain of shit and laugh for the mess of it… or laugh for knowing that as ugly as it seems right now, the beauty of what it allows to grow will fertilize joyous laughter to savor as well?

I think maybe, at core, it’s not as much about “integrating humor into my life” as it is “accepting and acknowledging that it’s there whether I integrate it or not”… just like any other concept; that, ultimately, I create my view just as I create my judgments of how to categorize what happens, what I experience, and the “meaning” or “quality” of it all.

The humor of such liberty when so often I see only restraints and choicelessness is, I think, self-evident and very likely the richest kind of humor humanity will ever know…. absurd satire, caricatures of ourselves, used to sate cultural and societal rules and shore up the cuts and scrapes that are caused in the process.