Glimpse the Non-Necessity of Everything
excerpts from “The Universe Is a Laughing Matter”
A talk by Adi Da Samraj
The essence of humor is repetition. To make a joke is to mimic and repeat what is ordinary. Comics are constantly talking about what happens to everybody else and imitating what everybody else does, but they are not actually doing what everybody else does. They are repeating it. What is funny is to see what we do repeated, to be permitted to laugh about it.
What is humor? If we can discover what it is bodily, then we will have discovered the key to humor, because humor is a bodily matter. Laughter is the signal of humor, the sign of getting a joke. We tend to associate laughter with good feelings. We presume, therefore, that laughter is purely pleasurable. But I have considered the origin of laughter bodily, and I have observed that we laugh when
we are tickled. Yet when we tickle somebody, we are aware that although nothing is funny, we have stimulated precisely the reaction that we bring to something that is funny. The key to humor, therefore, is to create laughter or to stimulate the reaction to being tickled.
You know very well that, although you laugh when you are tickled, being tickled is not entirely pleasurable. Laughter is your defense against that not-quite-pleasurable contact. Joking is likewise a defense against contact with the world, an escape from the realities of ordinary life. Thus, although humor or joking is a form of our play, its origin is in the pleasure-pain reaction of laughing when being tickled.
This is why conventional joking or humor is not simply funny. It is a way of dealing with pain, a repetition of things that are painful but that are presented to us to create a reaction of pleasure. That pleasurable reaction, however, is a reaction to pain. Our conventional joking or humor is a way to feel pleasure in the face of pain, but it is not real humor.
Real humor is a spiritual matter. It transcends even laughter, because it transcends the pain of existence. Real humor is not associated with pain, and, therefore, it is not in general associated with laughter or any other apparent mood. Through true humor we transcend the seriousness of events by suddenly awakening to their Divine Condition. Suddenly, for a moment, we glimpse the non-necessity of everything, the humor of everything, the non-threateningness of everything. Thus, true humor comes with Enlightenment, or the transcendence of all conditions of experience, both pleasurable and painful.