Virtue of the Week: Humor

HumorRichard Bernard “Red” Skelton (July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997) was an American entertainer best known for his national radio and television acts between 1937 and 1971 and as host of the television program The Red Skelton Show. Skelton began developing his comedic and pantomime skills from the age of 10, when he became part of a traveling medicine show. Skelton believed his life’s work was to make people laugh and wanted to be known as a clown.

HUMOR (Humor makes us human.)

In a way, humor is empathy. It reminds us of our humanity and often forces us to laugh at ourselves which is another way of sharing our humanity with others. Humor also has a nice way of addressing a serious problem without becoming too serious. Humor surfaces irritations and allows us to confront them without becoming too confrontational. It surfaces deep-seated dislikes and roots them out without disturbing the ground around them.

Most of all, humor allows us to laugh at the oddities of life, which, if left to themselves, can get us down.
True humor springs not more from the head than from the heart.

It is not contempt; its essence is love. It issues not in laughter, but in still smiles, which lie far deeper.Thomas Carlyle.
Anger and humor are like the left and right arm. They complement each other. Anger empowers the poor to declare their uncompromising opposition to oppression, and humor prevents them from being consumed by their fury.James H. Cone


Ever feel like you are a soldier in a losing battle? Sure, we all have. It’s a cruel world and getting kicked in the teeth every day doesn’t feel good. It can flat out be discouraging. But we do have a weapon to help us in this war, humor. In the immortal words of the great American writer Mark Twain “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” Twain was right on, humor is a weapon. Humor’s subversive tendencies rub raw against the bureaucratic and hierarchical nature of any regimented organization or group. People who want to be in control are always weary of humor. “The Man” doesn’t like it when you laugh at his oppression! Humor then, is the weapon of choice against many atrocities of our cruel world. Things like hopelessness, prejudice, depression, hypocrisy, oppression, intolerance, injustice, and bullying. A recent study reported that humor has similar effects on the brain as drug-induced euphoria. Researchers measured the brain activity in adults viewing funny versus non-funny cartoons. The brain scans showed that humor stimulates the reward centers of the brain, leading to the release of dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of the pleasure-reward system.

A good laugh makes you feel good!

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