Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Laughter - Cards Against Insanity

At Goodness First it is generally my intention to ruminate positively upon the journey that is life.  I delve into pertinent subtext to hopefully enhance understanding toward informing choices along this journey.  In this entry on adult humor, I sense from the start I may be grabbing at proverbial quicksilver, alas I’ll make a passionate attempt to do so. (note: humor of the child variety, in my opinion, is a bit of a different breed, so I’ll reserve discussion on topic for a future post),

In the novel Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein posits that humor harnesses suppressed human pain and that laughter is that uniquely human characteristic of releasing the related psychological pressure.  I think there is quite a bit of truth in that conjecture.  Think of any joke you’ve told a friend or comic strip you've read, and beneath the surface someone (or some anthropomorphized animal) is suffering, often from real world ignorance, sexual ineptitude or ineffective criminal prosecution….let alone outright cartoonish, physical violence.

You say you want some evidence, my critical readership? Okay, how does this serve: over the past couple years Cards Against Humanity has become a very popular party game in several of my circles.  In fact, I cannot think of another activity which has more consistently provoked laughter from people of all personality types, political positions, and adult age ranges.  (save those who blush at simply hearing the F word...sorry Mom, this game is not for you)  

Briefly, the game provides cards that list a mix of famous people, historical events, and more importantly non-pc, outlandish, and even perverse situations.  Then, in Apples to Apples fashion, people submit their best (or worst) card to a random query, which when combined create competing scenarios that press the absurd to excessive levels in every direction imaginable. Without exception, laughter, groans and chortled expletives broil throughout this process. (an example card combo is shown below. I kept the example fairly tame for you F-word blushers)

To my knowledge the "Dildos" ultimate wild card does not exist.
In aggregate, the elements within Cards Against Humanity scenarios, I think, reinforce Heinlein’s conjecture. Specifically, this particular game gives us permission to confront the absurdity of the reality we live in and then release the pent up toxic energy we've accumulated from countless current event atrocities, political nonsense, and even the common pain in our personal lives. 

As with any twisted joke that makes us double over in fits of laughter, our humanity is enhanced. Each nose-spurtling snigger refreshes our over-saturated minds by clearing out a little of the scandalous vitriol we've absorbed. Subsequently, we can smile a little more cheerfully, and continue on the challenging journey before us of ratcheting up the Goodness in the all too often laughable world around us.

Looking forward to your responses, even if they amount to 
“Stop over-thinking things, Brian, and just laugh :P”.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Journey and the Journal

This past week I walked past a life milestone having graduated from Arcadia University with a Masters in Education.  Music trumpeted, blossoms fell, speakers spoke, robed graduates walked, families gathered. The glitter and pomp of such formal ceremonies seek to memorialize a moment on the timelines of our lives.  Such life celebrations span our whole lives, from birth to (and sometimes beyond) death in the form of birth dedications, graduations, engagements, weddings, award banquets, roasts, reunions and funerals.

All these waypoints barely begin to represent the continuum which is our life journey.  And all too often we fail to take the time to reflect upon the gemstone instants that in aggregate make life worth living.  Perhaps in some way, the most animalistic experience of life is to live life moment to moment wholeheartedly, as Robert Redford’s character pointed out regarding wildlife in Out of Africa.  Alas, we are human!  And human beings are arguably the animal capable of the most complex thinking of any animal. Taking time to appreciate our experiences along the whole spectrum of suffering to ecstasy is so important!

As I continue to flesh out and share my vision of the journey that is Goodness, I  highly recommend setting aside some time to journal.  Even if done once weekly, journaling about the happenings in our sphere is the most personal of celebrations. Who knows, recording ones emotional and intellectual reflections may one day transform into a worthy autobiography, nevertheless, the real treasure in this act is not what is left behind, but how mindful journal entries of personal memories, principles and dreams can be leveraged continually into action on our ongoing, albeit finite journey in this world.

Please share any thoughts you might have on the experience that is journaling.