If You’re Not Laughing, You’re Learning

No stranger to reading a room, Stand-up Comedian Jimmy Carr once said, “If you’re not laughing, you’re learning,” …true even when ‘not laughing’ is paired with feigned shock and indignation…

A wise man once said, “if you’re not laughing, you’re learning.”

Basically, those who can relate and empathize with something or someone will laugh because they understand, because they commiserate and see themselves in the humor, because they see truth in the comedy. They had learned about the truth that is being conveyed in the past, and can now laugh about it.

Contrary to what our modern “#cancelculture” would have us believe – namely, that all laughter is primarily or fundamentally derisive, mean-spirited and operates on social formulas and concepts such as bullying, “punching down,” or “punching up,” – humor overwhelmingly functions as a unifying, conciliatory force.

Within each laugh is a signal: a signal that persons have understood and, if not wholly agreed with, then at least appreciated one another.

It’s those who are unaware, afraid, and unsure of the subject of humor at hand, and/or of their very own selves as individuals, who cannot laugh at something. This is because they are confronting something they do not understand, something new: they are learning something they did not know before, and/or cannot process or handle, and thus cannot laugh along with those who do…

Strangely, more and more nowadays, the people who are learning instead of laughing feel the need obfuscate that fact, to make others think they are morally superior by not laughing at something, not because they don’t understand and are learning (/being confronted with) information they must process, but by insisting that they understand things completely and instead are taking offence to the humor.

Is it as though they project their learning process on to the speaker, insisting that the joke-teller does not understand something, or does not know of what they are speaking of: that the joker must learn something, a knowledge the offense-taker insists they possess oh so greatly. Through this, they intend to demonstrate that the humor is misaligned with or is in violation of their own personal (mis/)understanding of a subject.

By masking their failure to comprehend humor with the taking of offense, they attempt to distance themselves from a perceived injustice or imagined malice (each in the hypothetical contexts of humor, mind you) by the extra inches that the soapbox they scale affords them.

Often they mistake their ignorance of a subject or outsider status thereto as the opposite: that they are fully informed, often with “special knowledge” or exclusive expertise, and use this as a license to “white-knight” and champion some cause, projecting their own ignorance or particular misunderstanding of a subject as the insensitivity of, or the willfull abuse of, the other.

Yet all they prove is that they are unfamiliar with what is being joked about, and that they are uncomfortable with both themselves and the topic at hand.

The next time you are compelled to laugh at something another might find off-color, inappropriate, or offensive; recognize that you see a truth or a perspective that they do not – whether this perspective is taken ironically or seriously – and that their learning process is incomplete, and, hopefully, still underway.

Some people just take a little longer than others to get things rolling..

But when they do, we’ll say to them just as we say to you: Welcome, and..

We’ll see you in the circle

Tweet or DM us @TheUnists

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