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The Museum of Vestigial Desire


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Laughter is just symptomatically related to humour. There is no direct relation. Humour is a very sophisticated channel of communication.

There are modes of perception.

There are patterns of organising content.

Each such pattern comes with its own reading apparatus and a prescribed set of conditions under which the pattern is evident.

When the pattern is evident, the body of content makes sense.

Humour is one such pattern that allows the body of content which is it represents to make sense. When you look at a snippet or a body of content humorously, it seems to make sense.

In discourse, humour is an essential part of the toolset.

Humour is associated with feeling good only because of the physical act of laughing. When we laugh, we take in a lot more oxygen at a time and body feels refreshed. Every time we laugh, we pull ourselves back from the brink of disaster.

But the frame of humour that laughter is placed in, is not used enough. Only temporary, inconsequential messages are passed and transmitted in humorous situations. Humour is thought to be an assistive factor for lightening the grinding load of our humourless life. But humour is a lot more than this.

The pattern of narrative that humour holds within itself is outside the bounds of rationality and not very far from the set of coordinates where mania itself resides.

Humour is a remnant of a time when we were as mad as we were.

Now the cloaks of culture, the assigning of humour (and so the assigning of mania itself) to a parlour, boutique, theatrical space.

What have we been able to achieve in the absence of humour? What do we gain by being serious?

Seriousness is not just the mirror of humour, it is a symptom of a submissiveness and a buying into a hierarchy that is predatory in nature.

Stand up comics are able to model stories at the margins of feasibility sometimes but then quickly hide away behind the trappings of performance.

Incomplete jokes are so difficult to hold in our memory because of the compulsive chase that we need to enact for all constructions that we encounter. Without the punch-line the pattern cannot be computed and that leaves us restless.

Within humour the blurriness of our masked social critique falls away and we get the licence the spell things out the way they are. We are not taken to be rabble-rousers because we dull the pain and discomfort of what we say within airiness. Humour is fragile. A sneeze can de-rail the flow of a run of laughter and then make it impossible to find a reason to laugh again. In this fragile experience, rests a worldview that gets facilitated only within the state of experience.

Seeing something as funny is a different perspective of it.

Most of our prescriptive interventions are based on sudden mid-conversation flips of humour. We rely on humour to be understood but then we feign sincerity and argue against any modes of dismissal. We can always be seen as jesters but simultaneously we can always be seen as entities curiously out-of-sync with the articulate bluff of the world.

We hope to hold onto humour in our sanctuary as a snippet of the world that is still valuable. But this is to be done responsibly, humour is to be used to build on arguments and penetrate defences and not just letting the steam off and entering modes of dismissal.

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