Rosicrucian Writings Online

Concerning Humor

By Soror Eloise Myrup Olsen
[From The Rosicrucian Digest December 1941
“You must laugh if you would be released."  Such was a telepathic message a student received from an Adept-friend at a time when the student was fighting against personal troubles which she seemed almost helpless to overcome.  The message puzzled her greatly and she gave much thought, not only to the manner in which it was given, but also to its meaning.  During the months that followed, as she gradually attained a fair degree of mental balance, she came to see how much she had needed this advice.  As she pondered she also made many general observations regarding the great value of this attribute in human lives.  This is what she says:
"Love may be the power that makes the world go ‘round, but humor is the oil that keeps it turning smoothly."
When a man is well-nigh overcome by hardship and disappointment it may be faith and hope that enable him to face the future but it is his sense of humor that makes the present bearable.
As long as man is human he will be torn by the tension caused by the difference in his ideals and in reality as he sees it.  Humor is the great prophylactic against this tension which would otherwise become too great for human endurance.
The reason we make jokes about many of the most pathetic things in life is because it would be unwholesome always to view these things in the hard light of what we call reality.  Yet, enigmatically, it is humor that best enables us to face the "realities" in our own lives, to keep our feet on the ground, as we say.
If a man about to become insane could be innoculated with this great tension-reliever the tide of his trouble would be instantly turned.  Conversely, a woman who wrote a book about her experiences while she was insane tells how she at last knew her recovery to be a certainty when she regained her lost ability to laugh.
Anything less than the ability to laugh at self cannot be called a true sense of humor.  The aspirant on the Path needs this ability more than others in order that he may better have the courage to see himself truly; that he may be honest in his thinking and understand his own motives and responsibilities.
Do you consider yourself to be superior to your fellows?  If you do you had better look to your sense of humor; it will be sure to be underdeveloped.  Cultivate it, for it is a fine weapon in overcoming self-deception and the unconscious attempts to evade the stiffer demands of life.
True humor goes hand in hand with the original virtue, humility; together they can offset the dangers that lie in pride, vanity, desire for power and in so-called "self-respect," which is really self-love and self-admiration.
A conceited man is always guarding his precious "self-respect," for though he has little sense of humor himself, his vanity and self-deception cause much amusement to others with consequent misery to himself.  On the other hand, the natural clown, the perpetual joker, with a heart of gold, is a beloved figure in every community as well as among more famous personages.  How we all warm to his natural modesty and brotherliness.  And who can say that his is not the truer philosophy?
It has been said that humor is irreverent.  True; reverence is for things Divine while humor is essentially a part of human-ness.  Yet a high Initiate has said that if God possessed no sense of humor neither would man, and anyone can discover for himself that the sayings of the greatest Teachers fairly sparkle with wit, even gaiety.  And who among us does not have an instant increase in confidence in a great leader, even a spiritual leader, if we discover an occasional homely twinkle in his eye.  And we are right, for a true sense of humor and sincere honesty and selflessness of purpose go together.
The more we are inclined to be idealists, or the more sensitive we are, the greater our need for the tension-reliever.  Indeed, as we go along our way, living, loving and learning, it behooves us all to sprinkle in plenty of laughter, also, to ease and illuminate our journey.

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