Humor as Spiritual


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For my very silly side, I have another blog. It mainly serves as a stress reliever to help me through the tension of taking 3 graduate classes at a time, and it includes the extra silly nonsense of Trevor the traveling gnome, and his adventures. (Just google him, if you care to see it).

It’s gotten me to wonder about God and humor, and what spirituality it all contains.

I have grown to understand nothing is UNspiritual. That is, all is spiritual. As C.S. Lewis said, “We don’t have a soul, We ARE a Soul. We have a body.” God is Spirit. He breathed the breath of Life into us–Spirit. So, I don’t image life could not be spiritual, unless we are simply trying to convince ourselves otherwise.

In studying what humor actually is, how we perceive it. (That is, the Science, and even the math, of humor.) It boils down to irony, which is essentially carried out in surprise. This has much to do with the ability to choose freely as humans as well. Also, on a side note, if we all knew what would happen it the future, nothing would be ironic. Controlling the punch-line means we can create an ironical effect.

If you take the simplest form of humor, slapstick, such as “the pratfall,” (like slipping on a banana peel) you’ll see what I mean. Simply put: A person falls down suddenly when you expect that they should remain standing. Many interpret this as humorous. It has to do with expectations, the set up and patterns built in, and then the sudden change. It has to do with ideals too. Yes, some don’t find humor in it. It’s perspective too. But, just about any humor involves irony of some kind, satire does too. Satire is a high form of humor which points out the truth to illicit change. It pokes fun, but in doing so, it pits what is happening to what should happen or ought to happen, so the difference stands out to us. What is most excellent or beneficial is the ideal that is not happening, so it is “on trial” in a sense, through humor. So, we understand it, and the process or “the human weakness on trial”, to be funny, especially if we agree with the comedian’s perspective.

Why might it all be spiritual? Humor, if you think about it has much to do with Ideals that point off the map–or what “ought to be”. Eternal truths reveal an Eternal Mind. In a positive light, when things don’t match up, they are ironic, and we find it amusing. So, we laugh. Imperfection of humanity is amusing. It lets us “off the hook” for not matching up to perfection. People without humor, are no fun, really, correct? They can’t laugh at their mistakes, and they take life and everything much too seriously. It’s hard for them to improve or grow, too.  Laughing makes being human easier to bear. It’s gracious living. It’s good medicine to laugh, so it’s spiritual to laugh. It brings health and relief to the human Soul.

It’s also spiritual because it is a way to share with the Divine in Joy, which is a sturdy happiness, that points off the map of the tangible things of this world to the Divine. Joy exists (and may be felt) in a permanent sort of way through pain, sorrow, gladness, and the rest of normal life.

Leave your thoughts about humor, if you’d like.

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4 responses to “Humor as Spiritual

  1. I think yours is a great analysis. Surprise is definitely the key — good job!

  2. A lot of humor comes from exaggeration, Lisa. We observe something and want to say “three,” but it’s funnier to talk about it and say “nine-hundred-and-forty-seven.”

    Other humor comes from the unexpected. We explain something rational, then link it to something irrational: “Bush, Cheney, an overexcited poodle.”

    And some humor comes from reversing expectations: “I know what you’re thinking… Einstein.”

    My reason for noting these? All three are tied to our understanding of humanity, our limited grasp of things, and that we all sense an absurd quality to life. Perhaps the rationality of God is the ultimate joke on our irrational world. Outside of the Divine, the notion of “truth” becomes a bit slippery; the concept of “purpose” loses it’s focus.

  3. Bobbie Hall

    That was interesting. I think I will have to ponder, taste…and mull it over. yummy. thanks. Sorry my reply was not “humorous”.

    • lisacolondelay

      Much to my surprise (which is humorous in itself) these really aren’t the funniest replies I’ve ever read; but, your input is greatly appreciated.