Mocking and laughing

The only way to live and transcend our limitations is by continually mocking our own bullshit — lovingly.

Mocking is a powerful inhibitor. That’s why it is so cruel when done to another person for some act of self-expression. It is the demolition of a particular building in that person’s ego.

But mockery is also the underdog’s subversion of power. Satire and mockery can permanently damage powerful politicians.

So what about self-mockery? It is dangerous, because it is powerful. But it is appropriate when applied to thoughts and feelings one really knows to be bullshit, counterproductive, a waste of time.

No matter how strong or established you get, among strangers, it may happen that you feel disconnected, isolated, the outsider. Though it may be true that you know no one here, people are easy to talk to and the dynamic can change within a few minutes. The feeling is an anachronism of your development. It was bullshit then, and it is unbelievable bullshit now. This is one example of a feeling that deserves internal mockery.

Self-mockery makes me smile, chuckle, laugh. I notice other people wondering what could be so funny or what I’m so happy about. It inhibits the associative pattern from the past, while relaxing me and putting me in a positive state of mind.

Chuckling and laughing are interesting. Some time ago I worked all night. I hadn’t eaten properly. I biked home in the cold air. It was freezing. My hands were freezing. I just started to laugh on my bike, in the cold, at 6 am in the morning. But the laugh was not quite my own. It was a cynical, dirty, masculine laugh. More of a parody than a genuine expression — but who knows. It made me understand the function of that way of laughing: To cope with a challenging situation.

Laughing is wormholing from one point in state space to another point, which would not otherwise be accessible. When a joke’s punchline suddenly transforms our interpretation of the situation described in the exposition, we wormhole and laugh as a consequence. Conversely, we can laugh in order to wormhole out of an unproductive state or interpretation of the present situation and into a better state or more enlightened view of the scene.

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