You could say that humorists see the world as one big joke. And that’s not a bad thing! Humor isn’t just a way to make fun of things, of course, but also to “peer behind the veil” and see what’s really going on. To find humor everywhere is to understand that there is much more to the world than meets the eye. It also means that the Humorist is able to understand and adapt to the changing nature of reality and culture. The flash of insight that comes from a joke is nearly identical to the flash of insight that comes with spiritual enlightenment. Satori and satire are basically the same thing to the Humorist.
If animal studies are anything to go by, laughter and the propensity to play are directly correlated with intelligence. The more intelligent the animal, the more likely they are to show a capacity for humor. Perhaps the same could be said about human beings. Spiritual adepts often show a great capacity for laughter — much of the Jewish, Zen, Yogist and Daoist religious canons contain a great deal of humor.
Modern evolutionary psychology has speculated on why humor might have evolved in the first place, but has arrived at no definitive conclusions. It seems that the human relationship with humor may be as mysterious as our relationship with religion, but that it nevertheless helps to strengthen social bonds and intellectual creativity. One might even wonder if they aren’t the same thing — a cultural adaptation designed to help us make sense of the world together.
Collecting, telling and writing jokes is perhaps the most obvious means for the Humorist to practice their religion. Attending comedy performances, workshops and classes help Humorists become more adept. Finally, studying theories of humor can also provide spiritual insight. The important thing for the practicing Humorist, however, is not to necessarily be funny themselves, but to learn to appreciate humor, that is, to see humor everywhere. To understand the absurdity and temporariness of the human condition is one of the greatest spiritual perspectives we can attain.
The evolution of humor (pdf)
Seriousness, young man, is an accident of time. It consists, I don’t mind telling you in confidence, in putting too high a value on time. I, too, once put too high a value on time. For that reason I wished to be a hundred years old. In eternity, however, there is no time, you see. Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.
— Hermann Hesse
If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.
— Mahatma Gandhi
Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.
— Peter Ustinov