I am a humanist, but I would love to be a humorist. I believe Humans are rare and odd creatures. Our world is in turmoil. People are being murdered, hungry, enslaved, mistreated, and by no other than our own hands. There is nothing new here; this state of being has always been so, evidenced in our short history on the planet. Now, the horrors are communicated globally at breath-taking speeds.
To counter the ill will, hatred, and despair, I have been thinking, instead, about what delights us. The art of humor: distinctly human, cultivated over generations; sometimes used to communicate complex ideas, other times to relieve tension.
The art of making people laugh with words is one talent I wish I possessed. I love a good joke and a well turned phrase. I am especially fond of the paraprosdokian: a figure of speech in which the latter part of the phrase changes the direction of the original meaning in a manner that surprises. Here are some of my favorite examples:
If you have a good one, please share it with me.
“I can show you a philter, compounded without drugs, herbs, or any witch’s incatation:
‘If you want to be loved, love.’ “(Epistle IX)
-Hecato of Rhodes, Greek Stoic 100 BC
Brilliantly simple statement from an ancient ancestor.
I wonder what would happen if every conscious being on this planet took one simultaneous minute to stop what they are doing , clear their heads, and breath.
Breath and contemplate our consciousness and its universal, unbound nature; we are connected to each other through it. In it, we are the same.
Shed our ego-selves for one moment. That which remains is pure consciousness.
Can we bask in that for a moment?
Two philosophical parts to the governing body of the American democratic republic:
A. Protect individual freedoms and individuals’ right to pursue their own interests.
Small governing body whose primary function is to handle national security.
B. Protect rights of everyone equally.
Governing body ensures equality of freedoms and provide for national security.
Part A is taken by conservatives; Part B is adopted by liberals. Both parts are necessary.
The constant tugging from each side is good and wholesome. Like the game “tug of war,” when balanced, keeps ideology in the middle. Each side gives a bit and gains a bit. That is compromise.
If one philosophical side takes control it becomes totalitarianism. Here’s to keeping the balance, respectfully.
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else… Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts…. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
-Hermann Hesse, Baume, Betrachtungen und Gedichte