Soul Bakery

Humor is the glorification of a concept

Humor is unique to humans. Animals don’t have a sense of humor as we know it. So humor has to do with something that makes humans unique. What makes humans unique in comparison to animals is our highly developed ability to think in concepts.

Humor is, simply put, the glorification of a concept. The alleviation that is felt the instant we believe we can be saved from our existential misery by a concept, expresses itself through an emotional release which is called humor. That is why humor is an ego defense mechanism.

In order to see this you need to pay very close attention to what exactly causes you to think of something11601299333_91a55fe4a2_b as being funny. You have to rewind your subtle memory after you felt the humor and then study that emotion closely with your intelligence and sensitivity.

Let’s clarify this through an example. Think about something you consider funny. Why do you think it’s funny? That’s because what you are thinking about invokes a vision of reality that is very one-sided and simplistic, like a cartoon of reality, thereby causing a perception of control, security and comfort.

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The shift from the usual existential ignorance which the ego cannot handle, to the momentary believe in a simplistic vision of reality which the ego CAN handle, causes a pleasant release of tension which we call humor.

Having a sense of humor is part of being human, but we should not exaggerate the importance of humor. That’s why it gets annoying when humor takes on the character of an obligation as it often does in conventional society. A popular saying amongst the masses is “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” That’s one of the reasons why I’m a bit of a hermit…

The eyes are the mirror of the soul

On the third day of a zen retreat I had an eye-opening experience. We had just finished a round of sitting meditation when the zen teacher said that every person should face another person and look him or her straight in the eyes for one minute.

After that minute we had to switch and look another person in the eyes, and so on, until we had done that exercise with 10 different people.

I had never heard about this exercise, so I didn’t know what to expect. I went and got right in front of the person next to me.face-984031_640 The zen teacher gave the signal to start the exercise and I looked straight into the eyes of the person in front of me.

What happened then hit me like a sledgehammer. It was a totally unexpected experience. I could look straight into the soul of the other. With that I refer to an experience we all know, but it was much clearer and deeper than in ‘normal life.’

We all know that when someone experiences an extreme emotion, you can see that in the eyes of that person. My experience during this exercise was akin to that, but I could see much deeper. I saw what I would call the basic emotional paradigm of the person in front of me.

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