When a State Department briefing on ISIS is interrupted by Pokemon Go (because you just never know which Pokemon will appear near you) - http://goo.gl/Q6r54a
, we might be tempted to say “enough is enough, already!” particularly as it has caused other incidents: http://goo.gl/oFWSTP
, and demand that grown men (and women) return to some kind of seriousness and sanity.
And that would be a tragic mistake.
The world is not yet going to hell, but the 21st century is far from a garden overrun by unicorns and lit by rainbows, either. Levity is a Latin word (https://goo.gl/LRUWZ9
) meaning “lightness” and frivolity” and while I can probably hear some of you already saying “there is a moment for everything” I would say that it’s the ability to lighten up that actually allows us to be serious when we truly need to (http://goo.gl/gDGCNQ
). As a matter of fact a little lightness has such an impact on productivity (and sanity) that there is a whole book devoted to it: https://goo.gl/eUj4mt
Laughing seems to aid learning (http://goo.gl/YBj2On
) and when things get kinda heavy (as they are at the moment almost everywhere) a little levity seems to go a long way - http://goo.gl/92KSZZ
Even the TED talks are not immune to a little bit of fun and some tongue-in-cheek indictment as comedian Sam Hyde, proved when he took advantage of some pretty lax vetting at Drexel University’s independently organized TEDx speaker series to pose as a documentary filmmaker and journalist fresh off a trip from war-torn Mogadishu, Hyde hijacked the conference and speak there: https://goo.gl/75Wpjm
And just to prove that TED takes humour seriously there is even a talk on what makes things funny: https://goo.gl/JzSR6T
. Being funny can, apparently, be learnt: https://goo.gl/Y48FvM
and it is when things are darkest that we need laughter the most: https://goo.gl/vmUaCJ
. Incongruity, is at the very heart of funny: http://goo.gl/b8DhwE
We are now beginning to look at the science behind why we laugh: http://goo.gl/od4LZU
(and why Grouch Marx found an elephant in his pajamas), and the funniest joke in the world actually worked may have you, as it did me, in tears. The science of laughter (https://goo.gl/XuPP83
) suggests that laughter is a social tool and that it paradoxically predates “funny” - http://goo.gl/JIWMIe
The neuroscience of laughter is beginning to become better understood (http://goo.gl/Od6Jti
) which explains why we are OK-ish with laughing inappropriately (at least I am) - http://goo.gl/r7rv3j
All of which brings us back to Pikatsu who is about to get his own movie (http://goo.gl/owG7wf
) and the importance of not taking things too seriously even when there is seriousness in things. So, while we laugh (https://goo.gl/mE133p
) there are still those moments which contain their own gravity: http://goo.gl/0kA21B
- when we must trust others.
Laughter, hilarity, jokes, mirth, frivolity, much like shared cat pictures on a #Caturday
form a common framework through which we can come together despite our differences, despite the crushing pressure of doubt, uncertainty or fear. The lightness which joins us says, louder than anything else: there, we are all human after all.
It gives a handle through which we can understand each other and in understanding we can predict the behavioral arcs that transpire from different moments, and because we can predict them (no matter how approximately) we are willing to trust each other. Which is what actually makes the whole thing work.
So, if you have not yet caught any Pokemon (I now have over 80) I’d suggest you give it a go, at least for a few days. To inspire you I present you the Pikatsu song: https://goo.gl/J8otIz
and just so you have a slightly more serious framework to hang everything on, you may want to read up a little on the psychology of Pokemon Go: http://goo.gl/Q3MYvs
I hope, in the meantime, that catching and training Pokemon did not distract you from the task at hand. You have sufficient coffee, donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake, accompanies by that ever precious black liquid that makes western civilization go round: Coffee! Have an awesome Sunday wherever you are.