Freud On Humor
Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud has a take on humor that stresses that our attitude towards life needs to be funny. Freud believed that as we grow, the dreary grind of life and the entrapments of rationalizing all that exists make us slowly cheat ourselves of the inner child within us. Thus, our lust for humor, laughter, and life are also desires to reclaim the lost pleasures of childhood. When we were children, no effort was needed to bring laughter into our lives. We had no need for canned jokes, stand-up comedy, or anything else. We laughed at everything and we did so for sheer pleasure.
To be funny requires that, at the start of every single day, we loosen our girdles, de-starch our collars, let loose our hair, twirl our mustaches, and get down from our high horses of authority and pretentiousness. It is possible for each one of us to be funny, but we must also develop a deep, burning intention to be funny.
Having the intention to be humorous is the first step in mastering humor. Your intention is the driving force that will enable you to practice the different techniques that will result to a funnier you. Every artistic expression and every talent demands constant practice. Methods and disciplines have to be followed to convert a technique into habit, and eventually, into a vital part of your personality.
The late Robin Williams in his early days would barhop in search of work. While performing, Robin used to appear completely natural and extemporaneous, but backstage before the show, he’d tell his director or manager all the steps he was planning to do. All his apparent talent, besides being natural to him, was also in fact method, practice, and determination!
In one of my creativity workshops, a participant shared a story about this monk who entered a monastery with a desire to achieve higher consciousness and enlightenment. But, being a well-educated urbanite, the wannabe monk saw no relation between higher consciousness and the wearing of an orange garb and the shaving of his head. Thus, he chose not to follow the seemingly superficial methods towards attaining elevated consciousness.
Years went by without him wearing the orange garb, though he meticulously studied and practiced the Buddhist principles. Decades later, older and still restless, he found himself nowhere near higher consciousness and enlightenment. Finally, out of sheer frustration, he had his head shaved and put on the orange garb. Suddenly, he was literally enlightened: his body glowed, his spirits soared, and every cell in his being was filled with wisdom and profound spirituality. He attained the kind of spiritual awareness and enlightenment he had been seeking all his life. The heavens seemingly opened up for him and he felt as if he were reborn. But suddenly, in the next instant, he collapsed and died on the spot.
Mastering creativity and humor is just like that—you will never know when the brilliant light will shine upon you. It will daze and dazzle you as you move towards it when you study the theories, beliefs, and techniques. But it definitely requires an intense desire to succeed and a severe dedication to attaining that success.
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