Make me one with everything.
I'm happiest when I'm happy. Howling is fun and orgasms or swell, but in the moments I'm physically laughing I'm feeling joy and contentment, however fleeting it may be. Humor is one of the greatest coping mechanisms devised by humanity, and very little comes to mind that can make life as bearable when it is most difficult.
We laugh not to cry, it has been said. Comedy is pain, also. There's a reason Richard Pryor towers so greatly in modern humor. He was a tormented man with a troubled life. For awhile he hid that and inoffensively did Cosbyesque material. Everything changed when he looked the pain square on, mainlined it and broadcasted it without a filter. Comedy has never been the same.
Many people cannot personally relate to several circumstances of Pryor's life, but the man was a great communicator who could make the world relate to his highly personal experiences in the world. Through communal laughter, empathy is generated. It is not an exaggeration to say that Pryor personally opened up new lines of communication in a fractured and divided nation and world.
Laughter is a powerful shared experience. It can be used for good or ill, healing or hurtfulness. Bad laughter commiserates with mind closing, uniting hearts in fear and prejudice, affirming our worst instincts. What a person finds funny can be illuminating. Rape culture, racial paranoia and gay panic are troublesome red flags.
Good laughter illuminates personal experience in a way that shows others a new way of seeing the world and the things in it. We learn. We are surprised. We are more empathetic. We are less alone.
Where this can be found is sacred. Laughter like love should not be coveted, guarded or resentful. Whether with friends, at the movies, in a podcast, on television, in a book, we must feel free to find our best and truest laughter to perservere in the pursuit of happiness. Share laughter with those you love and allow them to follow their laughter. The more we laugh, the more we connect to an elemental state of human contentment and generosity.
What did the zen master say to the hot dog vendor?