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The Joke’s On Us

Being in the world in a spontaneous way is like having a sense of humour.

 

 

 

If we know that we have a sense of humour however, then this ‘knowing’ isn’t humorous. The knowing itself isn’t funny! This is simply analytical. If we think about being spontaneous then we’re no longer spontaneous. We’re simply being pedantic.

 

 

 

So when we get caught up in that level of analysis and conceptualization, trapped in that level of reflective self-observation, then we lose our sense of humour. We become ‘one stage removed’ from it. We become separated from it. We thus become literal-minded, we become concrete in our thinking.

 

 

 

Slowly but surely therefore – as a result of being separated from our spontaneity, separated from our sense of humour – life becomes more and more miserable. Life becomes dull. Life becomes a pointless chore. Life becomes a joke that we can’t get – we don’t get the joke at all and that’s why the joke is on us!

 

 

 

If we were to understand (in our humourless analytic stilted way) why everything has become so miserable, why everything has become such a dreadful chore, then naturally we would try to remedy the situation. We would in this case straightaway try to make things right and correct our dire humourlessness.

 

 

 

The thing about this however is that the attempt to correct our humourlessness takes us even further from having a sense of humour. This is not a very humorous thing to try to do!

 

 

 

This type of ‘fixing’ activity is itself profoundly humourless – we have taken our laughably obtuse literal-mindedness up to the next level rather than remedying it. We’ve made a serious problem of it. We’ve got all serious about having a sense of humour and how important that is.

 

 

 

The more we try to become humorous ‘on purpose’ the more ridiculous and absurd our situation gets! There is no way this is ever going to work. It’s a joke. The joke gets better and better. The humour gets richer and richer, but we get further and further way from ever being able to see it…

 

 

 

And yet the humour is there all along – we just can’t see it. It’s there the whole time. It’s a very humorous situation but we just can’t get it. We have made ourselves incapable of seeing the joke by trying to see it.

 

 

 

Our efforts to remedy the problem are the problem; our own efforts to get past the obstacle are the obstacle. We’re a million miles from ‘getting it’. We couldn’t be further from ‘getting it’.

 

 

 

And yet it is this ‘not-getting’ of the joke (because of our ultra-serious efforts to get it) that is the joke. Our ‘not being able to see the joke’ is itself richly humorous! What could be funnier than this? The joke’s on us but we just can’t see it…

Author: Nick Williams

Nick Williams works and writes in the field of mental health and is particularly interested in non-equilibrium states of consciousness, which are states of mind that cannot be validated by standardized experiments or by reference to any formal theoretical perspective.

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