In the last blog we discussed sharp but foolish “oxymoronic” processes and now continue with the idea that humor is such a process that removes self-imposed limits, and so I’ll relate two personal experiences I had while living in Santa Barbara. At the beach I tested how far I could jump and then drew a line in the sand and jumped more than a foot farther. On one night I was a virgin—at a comedy club. I told my funny story but no one laughed. The next performer went on and on using every ‘dirty’ word and explicative deleted in the book and he brought the house down. What does this have to do with waking up?
Jokes and the Subconscious
Trapped within all of us are self-imposed limits. Did you know Freud wrote a book about jokes? In Jokes and their Relation to the Subconscious, Freud defines a joke as “a playful communication without moral implication whereby an image implanted in the audience’s mind is twisted with utmost brevity to reveal unforeseen consequences, thereby triggering an involuntary reaction”. He goes on to explain that it is even funnier if you can include the word “knob”.
Enlightenment Through Humor
The audience at the comedy club was releasing pent up taboos from mom and dad who scolded “no,” every time the kid touched, said, or did something unspeakable. We are all limited by our inculcation, our upbringing. Releasing limits can result in laughter or the ‘ah-hah’ experience. Sufis understand this and lead people to enlightenment through humor.
Horse walks into a bar. “No wheat! Thanks. It’s my gluten intolerance.”
Horse walks into a bar. “My girlfriend is in love with a mare.”
Horse walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Why the long face?”
Wait, wait! I mean the Bartender says “Why the long knob?”