Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Return of the Journal-i: the Literati Strikes Back

Who has two thumbs and hasn't written a post on this blog in two calendar years?


Okay, since that awkwardness is out of the way for now, here's something I wrote on Facebook that I would like to re-post here.

"Thoughts on Comedy, Grief, and Human Existence"

I'm taken with the idea of grief as a sacrament, something through which the sacred passes; a vessel for humans to connect with something deeper which can be found within each individual.

I have long felt the same way about humor: that almost all absurdity in life is in extension a commiseration, an empathy, which springs from somewhere deep within us all - that the catharsis of laughter and comedy itself is really a transformation of our isolated, personal pain into a shared, expanded empathy that radically connects us to other beings in a profoundly new and meaningful way each time it occurs.

We encounter a new understanding of each others' experiences, a new relationship of shared joy and wonder at the vast depths of empathy which can be found in any of us, summoned against the potential agony of deep suffering and trauma.

In these ways, comedy and grief are identical: each brings from the deepest wounds of life, astonishment at our shared journeys and our shared perspectives. They produce a sympathy internal to us which directs us externally, to a shared life which is common to us all. They produce a shared transcendence of suffering, where a dramatically altered and expanded understanding of human love and human experience is possible.

Humor and grief at their best are the shared sufferings of other people, reflected and redirected through the prism of human compassion. They are expressed as exceedingly passionate and raw realizations of our shared human predicament. These revelations of grief and humor are both somewhat profane and somewhat sacred. But most thoroughly of all, they bear witness as a fulfillment of the highest which can be expected from the human condition. They are a positive and enduring testament to the power of the most decent and kind stirrings within the human soul: empathy, sympathy, compassion, and understanding.

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