Ross Normand is our ‘elder’ laughter club member, who was 80 on the 22nd August 2014. Ross wrote this essay on humour sometime ago and since joining the Ferntree Gully Laughter Club, his appreciation of humour, jokes and laughter has become enhanced. Consequently he made some changes to the essay and felt to share it with me and has granted permission to share it with you. Thank you Ross. We appreciate your written contribution and yourself for being a valuable, regular member to our Ferntree Gully Laughter Club.
HUMOUR, JOKES AND LAUGHTER
by Ross Normand
“A serious and good philosophic work could be written entirely of jokes.” Ludwig Wittgenstein, (1889-1951 A.D.) Austrian-British philosopher. Humour is an amusing and creative activity that makes its presence felt in many situations. When used in an enlightening or playful way humour can be wonderfully uplifting, but it can also be quite destructive, particularly if employed in a vulgar way or used in such a manner as to embarrass and/or ridicule people. Most people of all ages and cultures respond favourably to good humour; its spiritual nature makes us laugh and expands our philosophic outlook on Life.
Humour takes many forms such as wit, satire, sarcasm, slapstick, cartoons, mimicry, etc. Here is a trilogy of jokes which may, or may not, appeal to your own particular sense of humour —
George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright, once invited Winston Churchill to the opening night of one of his plays and ended the note by saying, “Bring a friend, if you have one.” Churchill replied, expressing regret that he could not attend on the first night but said he would come on another night. “If there is one!”.
Ben Jonson, a colleague of William Shakespeare, was once asked to explain the pun, a form of wit. Ben replied, “Pun, what subject?” The friend laughed at this pun, but said, “Oh, the King.” Ben then said, “But the King is not a subject. He is the King”.
Mulla Nasrudin was born in Eskishehr, Turkey, in the l3t Century A.D. Sufi mystics still recount many of his quaint stories; here is one of them. – Nasrudin entered a teahouse one day and declaimed, “The moon is more useful than the sun.” Someone asked him why. “Because at night we need the light more,” said Nasrudin.
Laughter Yoga is a world-wide practice that originated in India; it helps man to better integrate the workings of his mind, body and soul. Nobody knows exactly why we laugh or why anything causes us to make a strange noise, but it happens from an early age. Babies smile, then coo, and finally chuckle when they are amused. Jokes often occur when an ordinary idea is twisted by somebody in an unusual, but pleasingly unexpected way. Here’s an example —
A man speaks to his doctor after an operation. He says, “Doc, now that the surgery is done, will I be able to play the piano?” The doctor replies, “Of course!” The man then says, “Good, because I couldn’t before!”.
Humorous events were often brought to my notice when, as a small boy, I lived near the Mont Albert Railway Station. Standing at our front gate one day, I noticed an Army Officer, who must have been coming home on leave from the Second World War, for he wildly embraced a girl coming to meet him in the opposite direction and swept her off her feet. Not only did I witness this stirling deed, but so too did a couple of teenage girls who stood on the footpath near me. One of them said to the other, “I wish that was me !“ I smiled and had a bit of a laugh, because I was quite sure the Army Officer and the girls involved in this little episode were completely oblivious of me — one small boy playing nearby on his three-wheeled trike.
Humour, according to some experts, cannot or should not be explained. But the vast majority of people who do theorise about it conclude that humour is a very healthy activity, or that it is a gift from God, or that it is an unexplainable event very much akin to a mystical experience. Humour seems to give us, above all, a great opportunity to have a good laugh about happenings in Life!
HUMOUR, JOKES & LAUGHTER
by Ross Normand
The World Book Encyclopaedia, U.S.A. 1974 Edition
– Volume 9 Article on Humour
Wikipedia Encyclopaedia, Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. U.S.A.
– Article on Humour
R.M.I.T. University Lecture on “Humour” (2009)
– at The Melbourne Theosophical Society Ltd.
The Melbourne “Herald” Newspaper, 1965.
– Article “Churchill Said It”.
The Sufis by Idries Shah.
– Doubleday Anchor Book, U.S.A.