Getting serious about when laughter becomes ridicule and what that does to the person being laughed at

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I’ve been thinking about laughter and the idea that laughter is anger evaporating. The anger behind laughter can also be combined with fear. For example, I laugh at customers at work when I am exasperated by rude or irrational people. Others might laugh at something that threatens them. People laugh when they are frightened in a horror movie.

I’ve been laughed at what I assume is more than the average person of my age. And so I’m really sensitive to what it feels like to be freakish, gross, stupid, idiotic, sinful, wrong, or merely different. Is there a way to laugh at and act compassionately in the same transaction? I don’t know.

Originally, this concept occurred to me in analyzing The Daily Show, with my theory that shows of that style pacify liberals and turn conservatives on the extreme defensive. I mean, the whole comedians on TV just trashing on conservatives is a huge industry now. And my theory goes that Trump and all the patriarchal “daddies” out there swoop in being like “I’ll save you from the big city meanies laughing at your 2,000 year old ideas about social customs mijo”

However, I worry that using public shaming and ridicule like this can be a harsh social signal with unintended consequences even when someone deserves it. This kind of collective activity of trashing on stupid conservatives serves a purpose no doubt, but being ridiculed can make a human really defensive, insular, and untrusting.

I’m not really trying to propose a “right amount” of trashing on conservatives or anything. I’m just proposing a mechanism. However, I fully know that without a minimum level of compassion in each of our collective hearts, the social organism will just keep being utterly dysfunctional. Before I gave in to compassion for myself and forgiveness for others, I was a civil war inside, and I healed.

Always remember dear readers that people have walked through deeper valleys and held onto the light through staggering darkness. Life is hell. Compassion and peace are heaven, wisdom is the ladder. Om mani padme hum. If we ask for help, it will arrive. These are the things I’ve learned in the dark. The collective unconscious is dying to be reborn. The new birth comes soon.

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