Humor, a Serious Matter
What makes humor so necessary in our lives? What should be a source of laughter? Everything has been created for our development, including a sense of humor. It gives us the strength and the ability to develop.
We should never make fun of others and provoke hatred. We should laugh only about the general frailties that exist in humanity to clarify the weaknesses of our selfish nature as human beings, to help us develop awareness and cognition of our foibles.
Anyone who is close to people who are professionally involved in the field of humor knows that these are often unhappy types of people by nature, very serious, and sometimes even depressive. Out of the urge to get themselves out of the gray cloud in which they are immersed, they develop a sense of humor.
In general, the more a person develops, the more capable he or she is of appreciating fine humor. I refer to humor that has brilliance — an unexpected connection between distinctive things which in our normal way of thinking are completely unrelated.
Refined humor requires us to be able to observe our nature from the side, to be able to make fun of ourselves. Such humor is based on the ability to identify within ourselves several different identities: the original form we received from nature, the form in which we were educated, and the forms we have adopted throughout various stages in our lives, and these are the forms we have absorbed from others. Out of all these comparisons of identity come all sorts of important inquiries.
Humor can convey criticism, on the one hand, and on the other hand, it should be given in a spirit of love, pleasantly. We should never make fun of others and provoke hatred. We should laugh only about the general frailties that exist in humanity to clarify the weaknesses of our selfish nature as human beings, to help us develop awareness and cognition of our foibles. Because, if we are aware of our negative qualities then we can work on rising above them.
After all, this is the way that nature created us, imperfect. Nature gave us a sense of humor in order to help us to criticize ourselves and transcend our nature. Humor allows us to view ourselves from a higher perspective, and thus it can also help to elevate us outside of our current degree to a higher one. Viewing and laughing at ourselves from the side can spark inner scrutiny into who we truly are. If we know how to laugh at ourselves, then it is as it is written, “God has brought me laughter,” (Genesis 21:6) — a situation from which we can grow.
Good humor should always be gentle, bring about development, and evoke affection for what we are referring to. It is supposed to turn our heads upside down, to soften a rigid atmosphere.
What is it about humor that can open the heart and bring down walls between people? Humor removes from us all the puffed up clothing we put on. It is as if it undresses us from all the poses and masks, making us all equal and simple. When we laugh together about weaknesses that are in all of us alike, we immediately create a softer relationship between us.
There is no stronger means than humor to eliminate boundaries, barriers, and distances. The great challenge of our time, the most serious one, is to develop humor to bring people closer to each other, to make us more connected.