I. humor is crucial, or “How many Lew Rockwells does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

I’ve had this tab open in my browser for a week:  a video of John Cleese, the famed Monty Pythoner, giving a talk on creativity. It is filled mostly with light bulb jokes, but I learned some things:

Solemnity on the other hand, I mean, I don’t know what it’s for. I mean, what is the point of it? The two most beautiful memorial services that I’ve ever attended both had a lot of humor and it somehow freed us all and made the services inspiring and cathartic. But solemnity — it serves pomposity, and the self-important always know at some level of their consciousness that their egotism is going to be punctured by humor. That’s why they see it as a threat, and so dishonestly pretend their deficiency makes their views more substantial when it only makes them feel bigger [blows raspberry].

There are numerous requirements to culture creativity, including proper space and times, but humor is the big finale. It is manadatory to laugh, even in serious situations, if anything is ever to get done. Cleese offers some advice for those who want to stifle creativity:

Allow subordinates no humor. It threatens your self importance, especially your omniscience. Treat all humor as frivolous or subversive. Because ‘subversive’ is of course what humor will be…as it’s the only way that people can express their opposition.

To any libertarian, that sounds sort of familiar doesnt it?

What was that Lew Rockwell ramble I wrote down? Oh, here it is:

Anything government and politicians can’t stand is people laughing at them. It’s very important to laugh at the government. Laugh at government officials. Laugh at the creeps at the airport. Laugh at the cops and so forth. [laughs] Of course, in our police state, [they] can tase you for what they call ‘Content of Cop.’ You know, you have to be prudent, you have to be careful.

So, how many Lew Rockwells does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, if the lightbulb is a CFL.

Is this thing on?

II. Using humor to share ideas, or “Speak up!”

I’ve always admired the Monty Python group, as they clearly demonstrate what free-thinking individuals can accomplish when unbound by the chains of central planning. The Flying Circus series itself was cutting edge for television, as the skits passed on in a style known as “stream of consciousness.” Literally: freely thinking.

[I had to Wiki this “stream of consciousness” thing, and I read a quote by the famed psychologist William James: “consciousness, then, does not appear to itself as chopped up in bits … it is nothing joined; it flows. A ‘river’ or a ‘stream’ are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In talking of it hereafter, let’s call it the stream of thought, consciousness, or subjective life.” Since rivers run wherever they want, so does the free mind.]

You Tube is kind of creepy and seems to know what I want, so it suggested I watch some videos of John Cleese and Michael Palin debate a religious scholarly guy and a bishop. The topic? The Life of Brian, a Monty Python film.

The Life of Brian is not a film about Christianity, but a film about how messages can be easily distorted. The very first scene is someone yelling “Speak up!” at Jesus’s sermon on the mount. “Blessed are the Greeks?” they ponder from the back row. Cleese and Palin made this point, but were largely ignored by their debators.

I marvelled not only at Cleese’s glorious moustache, but also Palin’s smackdown history lesson. The scholar asserted that the “crucifixion musical” at the end of The Life of Brian is blasphemous. You see, said Palin, crucifixions were a regular thing in those good old days. None of the thieves getting “some sense nailed into” them in that particular scene happened to be Jesus. The Romans crucified every person they found to be undesirable. Truth is, Jesus only plays a small role in The Life of Brian (he is in that very first scene where someone yells “Speak up!”).

The scholar in the BBC debate pondered, what will young viewers, empty-minded of the rich and worldly history of Christendom, conclude upon watching this silly film? He even sympathized with Cleese that Catholic school is kinda dumb (and the man bishop lectured at Cleese’s school! They all shared a laugh). Cleese proposes the obvious: the viewer of the film will come to his own conclusions. In fact, it is stated clearly in the film to come to your own conclusions (it’s right after the part  where we see Graham Chapman’s junk. Pay attention!).

I decided to watch the film myself. The fact was, crucifixions happened every day. Why is that, really? Well, most of those dudes getting nailed to the cross were self-proclaimed messiahs. According to Reza Aslan, in his book Zealot, Jesus was just the most hardcore and most famous. His message was carried out of town and his story was written down. We can make our own conclusions from there.

I want to share my favorite scene in The Life of Brian. The main character in the film, Brian, doesn’t want to be a messiah, but gets mixed up in a world of many messiahs. He says some stuff, then realizes a horde of followers are FOLLOWING him. He runs for his life. His sandal falls off. Someone picks it up and they worship it. Someone else insists they worship some other aspect of Brian. These groups run off in different directions. Lastly, there is a gentle old man. He looks to the sky and clasps his hands: “Let us pray,” he says. Then he shrugs and walks away silently.

III. humor is how we got here, or “Ramble Tamble!”

duck meredith

The entire time I watched The Life of Brian, I wondered why a certain Stephan Molyneux video was reccommended to me. It is titled, “The Dangers of Dating A Single Mom.” Since I am young bachelor in the cloud, here on L.me, I’ll have to watch it sometime. I think You Tube just knows me too well.

I’ll get around to it, though. I decided to crank up some CCR and take a walk in the glow of the setting sun, here in Raymond, New Hampshire. I really like this Creedence song; it sidesteps out of the norms for a “rock song.” Somewhere in the middle of jamming this ditty out, I bet someone in the band started laughing as he played some good stuff on his guitar. The rest of the band followed and Ramble Tamble was born.

I thought about this on my walk, as I watched a mallard float along the lazy Lamprey River. I laughed, a lot. Mostly because ducks are funny. Let’s never forget that humor got us this far. Us humans, the silly animal, taking home these otherwise useless observations and turning them into wonderful collections of letters and punctuations. All the better for preserving and promoting the infinite number of ideas we have.