Human beings are innately emotionally driven creatures. In fact, it can be argued that emotion is the most significant distinction between humans and all other animals in the known world. In truth, we are driven by a distinctive desire to have emotional experiences. Strikingly, even emotional experiences that are intimately associated with negative experiences are as craved by human beings as are positive experiences.
The craving for negative emotional experiences is the exact reason that horror movies or dramatic stories exist. Essentially, there is an element inside of us that consciously yearns to be scared or saddened. Now, superficially this may seem strange and downright counterproductive towards the human experience. Why on earth would we desire to feel fear or be sad, since neither of these emotions elicits positive feelings?
The reason we enjoy negative emotion actually has nothing to do with our love affair with negativity. Instead, it is completely influenced by our fundamental and absolute desire to be happy or feel positivity. In order to heighten our own sense of security or happiness, at times we desire to feel fear or sadness. In principle, this is the basic concept, “one cannot enjoy a sunny day without some rainy days.” In order, to truly extract as much happiness as possible from our sunny days, we must know the emotion of a rainy day.
Without negative emotion, positive emotion would not exist. Therefore, whether you realize it or not, your entire existence is comprised of a dualistic balance between negativity and positivity. This dual nature is also why human beings are obsessed with negative or tragic media. Unconsciously, we like to not like what we see on the news because it makes us feel happy about our own lives. The basic foundation of this psychological dance is centered on the ability to mitigate the balance of positive and negative, by experiencing negative emotions towards events that happen to others. It is a pilot that only flies a flight simulator. You get all the sensation, however, you accept none of the risks.
Unfortunately, there is a fundamentally adverse side-effect of using negative perimeter stimulus to satisfy one’s awareness of self-happiness or positivity. The need for negative influence can become an addiction, no different than a mind-altering drug. Similarly, the excessive intake of negative stimulus can overwhelm one’s positive counter balance and therefore bring in more negativity than one’s ability for positive thinking can overcome. This becomes a destructive cycle of consuming more negative information to place on top of the negative condition you have assumed. We become dependent on negativity and it ultimately becomes who we are and encompasses our entire world view.
This unhealthy addiction to negativity has been my biggest concern and complaint of the tone of the entire past year. Basically, for political gain, the perspective is provided that the entire world is one giant shit burger, and relief can only come from the hand of the politician that promises to feed you filet mignon. This tactic is immensely effective because the once the negative world view seed is planted, like addicts, we come with our mouths open craving the remedy. Now, the downside to this is that often the negative world view that has been fed to the people, is an unrealistic view and the solutions are, for the most part, a fallacy. So the people are in a worse state than when they started and no remedy is coming or even exists. The more irreprehensible cure comes when we try to disassociate ourselves from others and therefore transfer our negative perceptions onto anyone who is not like ourselves. Essentially, now our unhappiness is a direct result of “them” and if we can only get rid of or control “them,” then we will magically feel better. This projection negativity is indeed also a delusion and often we don’t realize that until we’ve already hurt “them” in the process.
There is but one emotional remedy to all of this that lacks any negative association and instead represents happiness in its subatomic state. This emotion is laughter.
Laughter is one of the few emotional experiences that encompasses a full collaboration between mind and body. Additionally, laughter is one of the most sophisticated of the social signaling systems. Laughter can help people bond and even negotiate their differences. Laughter has a host of health benefits, including relieving tension, lowering anxiety, boosting the immune system and aids in blood circulation.
Interestingly, Laughter is generally not under any voluntary control. In fact, scientifically little is known about laughter, such as why we do it and what ultimately causes it. What is obvious is that laughter is indeed a necessary emotion to all human beings, and it is the bodies default remedy in any bad situation. Under high stress, or in the midst of tragedy, the brain's default response to mitigate the situation is laughter. Any cop, EMT, firefighter, or military service member, can tell you they know this all too well. It is the very basis behind why many individuals within these professions have what is considered a “sick sense of humor.” Basically, they have to be able to laugh or joke in very bad situations because it is our inherent psychological therapy to deal with significant unpleasantness.
In the modern world, when you find yourself at a point where you have accepted the fact that you hate all other human beings and pray for a giant asteroid to take out the earth, the thing you are missing most in your life is laughter. De facto, in order to truly inspire laughter in one’s life, it is dependent on a person involving themselves in more social settings than solitary ones.
We often think of laughter as a response to something we hear. However, a speaker is 46% more likely to laugh than their audience. Why? Well, the joke is always funny to you. Amazingly, though you need an audience to tell the joke too, and it does not bear the same emotion if you say it to yourself. What makes laughter such an incredible emotion is that it is highly contagious. For example, you tell your corny joke and you start laughing. Your audience finds no humor in your joke, however, the mere fact that you are laughing causes them to be amused by your response and in turn, suddenly they are laughing. However, they are laughing at your laughing. The influence is irrelevant; the most important thing is that you are all laughing.
The concept that we must maintain a balance between happiness and unpleasantness is a HUGE influence on everything that I say, share, or do in my life. If anyone was to pay close attention, they would note, that on any given day I typically share stories of injustice or mistreatment as a means to try to bring awareness to the bad that exists. I do this so we can never become complacent to human suffering in hopes to eradicating it. However, I always mix into the equation throughout the day stories of happiness, humor or positivity.
One of the most significant reasons that I often do not follow other activists such as Shaun King, is not because I don’t respect the significance in what they do. Rather, they are often too out of balance for me, and they only beat one over the head with life’s negatives. Suddenly, the next thing you know you hate all cops, White people, Black people, Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, etc. Basically, any group that is being repeatedly demonstrated to be total shitheads. The reality is that the only group of individuals who are total shitheads are shitheads. Interestingly, shitheads do not have a racial, ethnic, professional, or religious class. Basically, shitheads are a true United Nations of afflictions that can be found in all types of people.
Ultimately, never forget, happiness is the most important pursuit in life. Therefore, it is so important, you should be willing to force yourself to be happy if that’s what it takes. The quickest path towards happiness is laughter. Remember, if you believe that the world can be damaged, then you must also realize that it can be fixed. If you believe people can harm, then you also must recognize people can heal. Most importantly, never forget that things can go from the very worst to the very best… in a blink of an eye.
So go smile and laugh in the face of wickedness. You might not even realize it, but you actually might laugh the world into being a better place.