I thought about this for awhile and after watching the debate have gained a lot of respect for Joe Biden’s ability to Laugh at the Truth. Especially since, almost everybody will say that we don’t want to hear the truth because “truth hurts”.
True. It is probably not easy to unite the efforts of the human race toward the accomplishment of any common good. We, “mankind” are, for the majority, selfish, provincial in attitude, and concerned primarily with personal success and acquiring creature comforts.
But, any stand-up comic will tell you that the secret to humor is: tell the truth. A good comic tells us things about ourselves that we normally wouldn’t want to hear since they are too embarrassing or sensitive.
But by getting us to laugh at the truth about ourselves, we learn to recognize our own foibles, and we learn to forgive the foibles of others. Humor is the ultimate defense mechanism. We laugh at human foibles because this allows us to live with them. Laughter is a natural and healthy way to respond when we recognize that someone has offered us a bravely-spoken, but possibly uncomfortable, truth.
Of course we laugh for other reasons as well.
But the truth is often thought of as the most unpleasant and undesirable version that can exist. Truth can expose our faults. And, we don’t appreciate when somebody says something about us or says something in our face, even if it’s the truth. We label that for being “rude”. Truth is so powerful that we fear to face it; just like we are scared to know the grade received after taking an exam.
If we are to look at the definition of “truth”, it is the true or actual state of a matter. It is a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, or principle. Most people say they want to hear truthful feedback but they really want to hear only good things about themselves or their work.
The strangeness of laughter- as a behavior, and as a vocalization is masked by its familiarity. The verb “laugh,” from the Old English hliehhan, is of onomatopoeic (sound-imitating) origin. More simply put, stripped of its vairation and nuance, laughter is a regular series of short, vowel like syllables that are usually transcibed in Enlish as “ha’ha,” “ho-ho” or “he-he”. These “words” are part of the universal human vocabulary, produced and recognized by people of all cultures.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny….”
Comedy is half of life, according to the theater. The other half is tragedy. Truths are found in paradoxes. That’s what I believe. Not truth as in knowledge, but as in the truth that’s rarely acquired; wisdom.
“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”
In order for us to grow, we’re going to have to stop screaming for everything to be black or white; for everything to be simple. We’re going to have to get it through our thick skulls that truths are grey, complicated, and messy – and rarely do they get along with each other.
To see truth you’re going to have to work at it. It won’t be given to you on a silver-platter. It’ll be in the rumble, underneath propaganda, doctrines, age old practices, and stereotypes. You’re going to have to think, every single moment. You’re going to have to fully inspect all ideas that dare enter the territory that is your mind. Don’t take the easy route and go with the simple black or white answers. Train yourself as Fitzgerald said by holding two opposing thoughts in your head as both right (paradoxes). Train yourself every day until you look at all held ‘simple truths’ with scepticism in your eyes.
No matter what, truth should always prevail. Whether we like it or not, whether we want to hear it or not, we are always faced by the truth; sooner or later, the truth about any issue at hand comes to light. Wouldn’t it be better if we laughed at it?
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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