In article <356FB37A.5...
@micron.net>, Wolf <wolft...
>> ... joking and degrading is part and parcel of my attitude...
>... I'm an advocate of the high value of J&D. ...
I just want to philosophize a bit here on the subject of humor.
Prior to encountering Scientology, I had always regarded humor as a sort
of mysterious genius some people posessed in startling abundance, of vast
value but of an elusive nature. I was acutely conscious that I could not
well define it.
I found Hubbard's statments on the subject, wherein he defines humor as
*rejection* and in its relation to illogic, as wonderful insights.
Nowhere else have I encountered anything even remotely so cogent on the
subject. It is one of my own favorite examples of Ron's brilliance.
I've yet to see one single example of humor, good or bad in intent, that
fails to meet perfectly with Ron's definitions.
And to my own delight, defining humor has done nothing to dispel my
appreciation of it, nor my wonder at others' genius for its application.
I remain in awe of Robin Williams! And many others who display that
almost metaphysical combination of quick wit, insight and expressiveness
that conjure-up the magic of laughter.
Humor can be delightfully, almost miraculously illuminating. It can
derail the most diabolically clever lies with a gentle push. And expose
mysteries and anxieties and those oh-so-many things we don't confront to
light as a wind might waft smoke aside.
By compelling us to reject the absurd, the false and the irrational, humor
often strips away the confusions and camouflage that obscure the
usually-simple truth. Sometimes those truths are profound and important.
Truth is an odd creature, sort of ethereal. It vanishes on inspection,
and it makes illusion lose substance in the most startling ways. But it
is there, and there is such a thing as Truth. We obscure it ourselves,
perhaps as a requisite to perpetuating our games (which depend so much
upon illusion) and our precious problems.
But humor has, one might say, a dark side. We laugh, as well we should,
at the ridiculous. But ridicule can find its basis in hatred, or falsity
or irrationality. It can present as absurd, something that is not, and
introduce a lie just as as true humor can dispel one. Ridicule with a
motive of malice or in a spirit of carelessness or self-indulgence can be
as damaging as the brighter sort of humor can be enlightening.
Measured by this yardstick, David Letterman comes out wanting, with too
many jokes at others' unnecessary and undeserved expense; and Jay Leno
shows himself a far better-motivated comic, more benign and more genuinely
It's this *dark* form of humor that is "joking and degrading." It is
usually easily recognizable. Does it add more obscurity, or does it
enlighten? Is it a subtle sort of moral or spiritual violence without
clear intent? Or does it sweep aside a curtain and show us something --
something we really knew, didn't we -- all along?
"Hey, look what THAT monkey's doing!" -- Calvin