Osho Speaks about Laughter (part 2)

If you ask the question, "What is the meaning of it?", you will feel meaningless. And when meaninglessness is felt, one will be bored. Animals are not bored. Trees are not bored. Rocks are not bored. They never ask what the meaning and purpose of life is. They never ask; so they never feel it is meaningless. As they are, they accept it. As life is, it is accepted. There is no boredom. Man feels bored. And laughter is the antidote. You cannot live without laughter; because you can negate your boredom only through laughter. 

You cannot find a single joke in primitive societies. They don’t have any jokes. Jews have the largest number of jokes. And they are the most bored people on the earth. They must be bored; because they win more Nobel Prizes than any other community. During the whole of the last century, all the great names are almost all Jews – Freud Einstein, Marx. And look at the list of Nobel Prize winners. Almost half the Nobel Prize winners are Jews. They have the largest number of jokes.

And this may be the reason why all over the world Jews are hated. Everybody feels jealous of them because they win every competition. When you cannot compete with someone, hatred is the result. Jews must be feeling very bored. So they have to create jokes. Jokes are the antidote for boredom.

Laughter is needed for you to exist. Otherwise, you will commit suicide. Now try to understand the mechanism of laughter and how it happens. If I tell a joke, why do you laugh? What makes you laugh. What happens? What is the inner mechanism? If I tell a joke expectation is created. You start expecting. Your mind starts searching for what the end will be. And you cannot conceive the end.

More from Osho coming up…

Osho Speaks about Laughter (part 1)

"This is worth considering. It is significant. The first thing to understand is that except for man, no animal is capable of laughter. So laughter shows a very high peak in the evolution of life. If you go out on the street and see a buffalo laughing, you will be scared to death. And if you report it, then nobody will believe that it can happen. It is impossible. Why don’t animals laugh? Why can’t trees laugh?

There is a very deep cause for laughter. Only that animal can laugh which can get bored. Animals and trees are not bored. Boredom and laughter are the polar dualities, these are the polar opposites. They go together. And man is the only animal that is bored. Boredom is the symbol of humanity. Look at dogs and cats; they are never bored. Man seems to be deep in boredom. Why aren’t other animals bored? Why does man alone suffer boredom?

The higher the intelligence, the greater is boredom. The lower intelligence is not bored so much. That’s why primitives are happier. You will find people in the primitive societies are happier than those in civilized ones. Bertrand Russel became jealous when for the first time, he came into contact with some primitive tribes. He started feeling jealous. The aboriginals were so happy, they were not bored at all. Life was a blessing to them. They were poor starved, almost naked. In every way, they had noth-ing.

But they were not bored with life. In Bombay, in New York, in London, everybody is bored. The higher the level of intelligence and civilization, the greater the boredom.  ”So the secret can be understood. The more you can think, the more you will be bored; because through thinking you can compare time as past, future and present. Through thinking you can hope. Through thinking you can ask for the meaning of it all. And the moment a person asks: ”What is the meaning of it?” boredom enters, because there is no meaning in anything, really."

Osho's satsang on laughter continues…  Stay tuned for part two.

Solo Performer and Comedian Bill Santiago Interview

image from assets.nydailynews.com Alicia Dattner> I remember you'd been performing for a year when I first started and we met… How did you start doing comedy?

Bill Santiago> I had friends that were interested and got me hooked. But it appealed to me right off. Say what ever you want to say. Use your wits. Get people to see things your way. Laughter. Applause. What's not to like?

AD> What was your motivation to write a show about dancing?

BS>Whenever I'm dancing I have this inner monologue going on, about about how well it's going or not, all the characters out there that you see and meet and dance with, whether I just nailed a move, or someone's foot, the constant frustrations and occasional moments of unparalleled joy, and the simple human interaction of being that close to someone you don't know and trying to synchronize. Plus how obsessive people can get about their dancing, and how far it's come, the Latin dancing, from the way that my parents danced, how people are taking it now to a ridiculously Cirque du Soleil level that is frankly laughable. 

And the way the different people dance the different dances, and how each dance has its own tricks and personalities, salsa, versus tango, versus bachata, versus samba, versus flamenco, versus cumbia, versus merengue, and on and on. And the teachers, my God, they're all such crazy gurus! And the whole process of learning, how you have to train yourself to absorb these movements into your own being, and how thrilling it is to be learning. There's a lot there. 

The quest to become the dancer you'll never be and enjoy yourself as much as possible along the way. It's a comedic gold mine, really. And combining standup so closely with dance is new for me, allows me to be physical on stage, and look for the humor in the physicality as much as in the words. And I get to work with super musicians, and invite people from the audience to come up on stage and dance with me. It's very interactive. It's always a different show, you know.

AD> What's your favorite thing about dancing?

BS>My favorite thing about dancing is the connection that you have with where you come from, this music stirs that in you, and the escape that you have from everything else in your day, in the periphery of the present. I love that when you're dancing nothing else matters, and if you're lucky you can let go, and maybe connect with someone else in a very unique and beautiful way. But it's high stakes because there is a lot of pride on the line, that's the stuff of funny. 

image from www.speakoutnow.org  AD> What's your favorite thing about comedy?

BS>My favorite thing about comedy is whatever latest the line I am working on to perfect, or idea that I am trying to get traction on. When it works, when I finally get it to gel and I hear the laughter, it's very satisfying. I like that bulls-eye feeling. It's also nice when people remind you that you are doing good work, that it has affected them, that it matters, that they want to see more and that you are appreciated. 

AD> How would you classify what you do? Is it standup? Is it solo performance? Is it something else?

BS>It depends on the project that I am working on, the particular show. The "Funny of (Latin) Dance" show is way beyond standup, but standup is the basis of my approach, I apply that skill, those chops to this new topic, and hopefully renders an entirely new kind of show. 

AD> Anything else you'd like to share with us?

BS>I'd love to share some of the spontaneous magic that happens on stage when I invite folks from the crowd to come up on stage and dance with me in this show, but you are just going to have to come out and experience it for yourself.

Bill Santiago performs all over the country.  Go see him. 

-Alicia

Michelle interviews me on Laughter Yoga

So I got a call last weekend when I was in LA from a youngster named Michelle doing a report on a topic of her choosing: laughter.  She was charged with interviewing an expert on the topic, and it was fun to talk together.  I asked if I could post the paper she wrote, and she said yes:

I slowly walked into the hallway and turned the knob on the door leading to the teacher’s lounge. I was tightly clutching my cell phone as I sat at the table rearranging my papers again and again. I got up and started pacing as Michelle, my classmate, reassured me that it was going to be fine. The blend of leftover pasta, soup and banana filled my nose as I nervously looked around for any excuse to put this phone call off.  I finally came to the conclusion that there was no excuse and I just have to conquer my fear and get it over with. My fingers shook with terror as I carefully typed the ten digit phone number wondering if it was a cell number or office number. This number belonged to Ms. Dattner, a laughter yoga instructor and comedian in San Francisco, who has toured the world bringing smiles to people’s faces. I figured she would be the perfect person to talk to for information on laughter.

After we got the introductions out of the way I started to breathe normally again and I relaxed my tensed up shoulders. She started by telling me about her laughter yoga class. Ms. Dattner started her own club that has breathing exercises based on yoga techniques but also laughter incorporated into the class. When people told her about laughter clubs she was so intrigued that she immediately wanted to become a laughter yoga instructor. Since she is also a comedian, laughter is in her blood and it comes very naturally for her.

Laughter yoga is used for relaxation as well as relieving pain. “When I have a really good laughter session, I feel more present and I feel way less pain and stress. … [Laughter is] way more effective than taking an Ibuprophen.” Ms. Dattner believes.

Ms. Dattner claims that laughter has changed her life. She finds herself laughing just for the sake of laughing. Laughter gives us adults a feeling of playfulness that you lose as you grow-up. The way she keeps that feeling in her daily life is by doing her job. Her comedy and laughter yoga reminds her to laugh. To incorporate laughter in her daily life she is even thinking about holding a daily class on the internet.

By this point I was completely relaxed and comfortable with talking on the phone as she started to explain that at first most people think that laughter yoga is just plain weird. Although that is just a first impression, for most people that is their only impression. Ms. Dattner admits that it is a little challenging finding pupil but once someone goes and tells people how great it is, the word gets around. She says that a lot of interest is attracted over the internet. Laughter yoga originated in India and is a huge thing there. Some schools have even adopted it into their morning assembly. It won’t be long until laughter yoga takes over the world as the universal way to relax and release stress and tension.

This was the first time I got to hear one person’s opinion about laughter. I could tell that she genuinely loves what she does and she truly wanted to help me. At every pause in the conversation she would fill the space with either laughter or some sort of noise to let me know that she was thinking of more to say.

Our conversation winded down but this was the most powerful and touching moment. One word inspired me, it’s simple yet meaningful. “Kids naturally laugh, and that is one thing that no one can take away from you…ever. “My advice is simply, not to stop laughing when you get older” Ms. Dattner remarks. I came away from that interview with pages of notes but only that remark planted in my brain forever, and it will stay rooted in my head just as a reminder for me when needed.

Because my topic is laughter it has really changed the way I look at life. I laugh at any possible opportunity, and I am more conscious in observing the things that make me laugh. This interview was so uplifting because she (Ms. Dattner) has made a career out of something she loves.”I’m inspired to teach things I want to receive” Ms. Dattner states. I make others laugh in hope to get some chuckles back. The reason why I chose laughter as my I – Search topic was so I could have an excuse for doing something I love for two and a half months and call it schoolwork. I aspire to have the same principals as this very inspirational leader that I got the honor of talking to.”

Ending World War Through Laughter

Babylaughing

 I came across a little blurb in the New York Times a couple of years ago that intrigued me, and I clipped out… I started using it as a bookmark and it would pop up at various times when it seemed coincidentally apropot.  Here is the gist… it’s, well, possible end to the world war… So Yoki Kamuar of Kansai University (Osaka, Japan) believes he might have the answer to ending world war. It’s simple, healthy doses of laughter.

Yoki, an expert in communications, has invented a machine that charts laughter in a unit of “aH”.  He says adults tend to calculate weather it’s appropriate to laugh and in a sense forget how to do it.  Children, on the other hand, laugh more freely and put out almost double “aH’ measures. Yoki Kamura’s goal is to measure laughter and to make the measuring device as small as a mobile phone and sell it as a health and amusement device.  He wants to use this new information to “shift from a century of wars to a century of humor and tolerance.”

I wonder what would happen if we actually started recommending a certain aH for people?  If we had a government-suggested Recommended Daily Dose of Laughter?  Vitamin A 20 mg, Vitamin B 30 mg, Vitamin L 50 aH…

At the doctor’s office, along with weighing you, taking your blood pressure and temperature, they could also measure your aH!

Doctor to man in office, “Ok John, turn your head and laugh.”

I wonder if they laugh much at terrorist meetings…  I’d like to see what a couple of Marx Brothers movies would do to their vengeance level.

So I’m going to find one of these machines and get my laughter up to the RDDL to end some world war here.  You in?

No Laughter Yoga for Fido.

Dog-bedThink us humans are the only ones who need comedy in our lives?  Turns out animals have neural circuits for laughter in the ancient parts of the brain, that predate even the existence of humans! There was laughter even before there was people.

Recent studies are debunking the theory that animals don't feel joy or sorrow.  "Indeed, neural circuits for laughter exist in very ancient regions of the brain, and ancestral forms of play and laughter existed in other animals eons before we humans came along with our 'ha-ha-has' and verbal repartee," says Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist at Bowling Green State University.

A recent study suggests that animals from rats to monkeys partake in joy and laughter that very much resembles a humans joy and laughter. Monkeys chase each other and pant in ways that resemble a humans laugh, even rats, as they play chirp in ways that resemble our very own giggles.  They actually found that–no joke–rats might be into Sid Caesar.

"Although no one has investigated the possibility of rat humor, if it exists, it is likely to be heavily laced with slapstick," Panksepp figures. "Even if adult rodents have no well-developed cognitive sense of humor, young rats have a marvelous sense of fun."

Panksepp says more studies need to be conducted in order to really tell if these behaviors are truly an animal's way of expressing laughter, but laughter could be a deep seeded brian function that not only exists in humans, but in the animals around us as well.

So, no need to take your dog to laughter yoga with you, he's already laughing at you–I mean, with you.

Turns out Laughter is Contagious… Like the Flu, But More Fun.

Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at the University College London, has found that laughter is contagious!  Of course you and I already know that, but now it's been backed up by a real academic study.

Scott says that the sound of laughter triggers the brain to ready our facial muscles to laugh ourselves.  Researchers measures brain response with volunteers in an MRI and found that the pre-motor cortical region of the brain responded to all sounds, but more to the positive cues than the negative ones.  Scott thinks that's because people tend to avoid negative emotions.  Makes sense to me! 

Not only is laughter contagious, but it also makes people feel good.  These two agents in combinations are what trigger dangerous levels of levity, spontaneous mirth infections, and epic epidemics of exuberance.  I wonder what the critical mass of laughing people would be to have the entire world laughing at once?  One giant Laugh In.  Perhaps the better question is, what joke would make it happen?  Probably not a Knock Knock joke, because not everyone has a door.