Have you ever been in a ridiculous situation that you found funny or dangerous that then became a sublime experience?

 


The longer I live, the more I feel that every waking moment is only filled with the ridiculous — and it’s getting harder and harder to laugh.  

We have a war in Iraq that no one really wanted — except for the military-industrial complex.
We have political arguments over flag pins instead of waterboarding
What disconnects have you found in your life when reality creates chaos and the ridiculous becomes the sublime?
Are we hiding behind our laughter because our lives have become too brittle and too harsh and too cruel to confess to others and recognize in ourselves?

14 Comments

  1. We do live in the sublime, ridiculous, Anne, and I wonder how we got here? Is this laughing a protection from the cynical? When politics become damaging and unhelpful, how do we get out from under it without risking being labeled “unpatriotic?”
    Belief in religion seems to come with political prerequisites. That’s always dangerous.

  2. I think we’re tired of trying to pay attention. So we zone out in front of the TV with our families and cross our fingers that hopelessness will fade in the idle chortle.

  3. It brings to mind Samuel Johnson.

    I called on Dr. Johnson one morning, when Mrs. Williams, the blind lady, was conversing with him. She was telling him where she had dined the day before. “There were several gentlemen there,” said she, “and when some of them came to the tea-table, I found that there had been a good deal of hard drinking.” She closed this observation with a common and trite moral reflection; which, indeed, is very ill-founded, and does great injustice to animals — “I wonder what pleasure men can take in making beasts of themselves.” “I wonder, Madam,” replied the Doctor, “that you have not penetration to see the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”

    It’s almost like you have to sometimes become a different person just to survive in weird and perilous times.
    I don’t see religious belief as necessarily coming with political baggage. Where I go to get my prayer on in Seattle you can find a diversity of political opinions. Probably the only commonality is that we are all for Israel’s existence. 🙂

  4. That’s right, Anne! When we let others dictate what interests us we give up our right to vote and to have a say in righting the wrongs. That’s what the last 8 years have taught us.

  5. Love that scene you paint, Gordon! I think, lately, there has been more of a coming together than a separation of Church and State and it hasn’t been a good winnowing. I think they are both now inescapably bound together in purpose and seizure.
    You can’t run for office in the USA without pledging your allegiance to a flag, a wife and a church. You also can’t really be a Christian in America without agreeing to express your religious wants in the ballot box — or you risk being ostracized from those from which you require spiritual comfort.
    I wish we could vote our bests interests without invoking God and I wish we could legislate our religion without needing to check it against the morality of our public leadership.

  6. I’m not sure if I’m answering your question or not, David. Lately though, I’m just not getting the kind of joy I used to get out of life.
    It’s hard to enjoy a meal out when you know so many people are suffering, especially our soldiers. Even if you have the money to travel or redecorate or whatever, it seems almost obscene to go and do those things.
    I don’t know how people can still get caught up in the excesses of life with all that’s going on. It’s ridiculous and trivial.
    The future is so uncertain. And yet we have to go on if not for ourselves for our children.
    Remember that movie Life is Beautiful. It sort of feels like that sometimes, although I am in no way directly comparing that situation to mine or anybody else’s. Those were God-awful times.
    But I just feel like there’s a lot of “pretending” and getting on with life amidst very disturbing times.
    So let me break here. I have my daughter’s soccer game to go to. Lots of joy to be found there on the field.

  7. I think you’ve hit upon an important trend that is growing even as it is being repressed, Donna.
    There are a lot of sad people out there trying to forge a happiness out of their lives that they once knew. We’ve been forced apart by politics and some religious fanaticism over the last 8 years: “You can’t be for the soldiers and against the war; you cannot believe in Christianity unless you believe we’re in a Holy War in Iraq” and people are getting tired of pretending to go along with that they know, below the surface, is a sickening and growing truth: We’re in more mortal danger now than we were before 9/11. We aren’t safer. We’re dangling alone over an open precipice with no one left below to help us break the fall.
    There is now revenge brewing against us the world over and it’s reaching a boiling point from which we may never recover. That news trumps gas prices and interest rates and credit cards because people have spent the little joys in life and replaced them — not with terror — but with not wishing to care anymore because they’re too tired of living scared.

  8. Well said, David!
    I don’t know what else has to happen for our government to take action!
    Our bridges and infrastructure are falling apart!
    Our borders are still unsecured after 911!
    New Orleans is still a disaster area!
    Big business continues as usual and unregulated while destroying the lives of individuals and our economy!
    The mentally ill have nowhere to go and so Virginia Tech will soon be coming to your town!
    The list goes on and on …
    And then they try and shut us up with a tax check rebate. What an insult! Fix our bridges and roads and levees! Rebuild New Orleans and make sure that never happens again! Secure our borders! Police big business and protect the public! Bring our soldiers home and take care of them when they return!

  9. That’s it, Donna! I don’t understand why we don’t have a revolt in the streets. I guess people are too depressed to bother. They are beyond caring. They’re more worried about losing their homes than their bridges.

  10. Susan Sontag once said (I was in the same room) that philosophers become solipsists, persons who are very much like the star of the movie _The Truman Show_ but who are aware that they have such a role (as the protagonist did in the closing scenes). Jean-Paul Sartre once said that his greatest wish was to masturbate the universe. My experience leads me to seriously imagine myself as the star of a real-life _Truman Show_, with my masturbations having been shared with everyone like that French twin’s scene in _The Dreamers_ (a Bertolucci film) — how ridiculous can it get? Jim Kerrey’s character in the Truman movie opted, at the end, to exit his role, raising the suicide issue that Albert Camus nominated as the foremost question of the 20th century. I’ve been hospitalized twice in my 71 years for suicidal displays — rather ridiculous stuff, no? But I think a permanent peace has set in, in which living as an example of moderation in a world with chaos and extreme stuff (read Iraq etc) is maybe letting a light shine that can be of use to someone. Part of being an example is giving up the search for suicidal exits — ala Sartre’s play, _No Exit_, while at the same time anticipating with curiosity the inevitable mortality exit ahead (dig that reincarnation, man).

    Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego