AN ELEPHANT IN MY PAJAMAS
By the age of 2, I began noticing comedy was a verbal violation of LOGIC.
In fact, Groucho Marx taught me an important way of applying my thinking in terms of LOGIC and HUMOR. It was a “subversion of context.”
By the age of 2, I had been taught to develop a bias toward “what was obviously logical” and to omit ALL ELSE.
That was a social bias.
Look at what Groucho Marx said following his first statement...
"Last night I SHOT AN ELEPHANT IN MY PAJAMAS (pause)
What he was doing in my pajamas I'll never know."
Groucho subverted the rule of social bias.
Aha - a new paradigm for Terry! A whole new world opened up for me.
A private world with more possibilities lay ahead.
We have an emotional reaction to a violation of non-contradiction implied because Elephants do not wear pajamas.
Our natural bias is to understand Groucho to mean "Last night, I was wearing pajamas when I shot an elephant."
When Groucho contradicts that bias of understanding the LOGICAL truth about elephants we react emotionally to this violation by LAUGHTER.
By the time I was an adult I held a secret power. A well-trained student is c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y taught BIAS toward logical thinking.
My secret power gave me a certain edge.
I understood that humor came from pulling the rug out from under expectations.
GEOMETRY MATH and SCIENCE, of course, require the use of AXIOMS.
An axiom is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments.
Without a bias toward axioms, Western civilization could not have developed in advance of the rest of the world.
HUMOR violates axioms! Humor infuriates Authority. Humor is a great leveler.
Humor was my self-defense against bullies and a special way of determining
Intelligence in other people. If a person laughed at my wit - they were automatically a playmate!
Tyrants, Authoritarians, and Sociopaths have NO sense of humor and will never tolerate criticism or being made fun of.
Carried much further, humor challenges the bias inherent in everything else as well.
If carefully applied - a sense of humor is a wonderful TEST of people, institutions, and faulty premises!
SATIRE, for instance.
SATIRE challenges every form of bias using, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Satire tears away the curtain of bias exposing the "truer" truth inside.
A self-important person automatically thinks they understand what they know but
Jokes require a “different” understanding.
Here is an example of very dark humor which upsets a basic understanding of the phrase:
" I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather…""
A natural and logical understanding of this set-up puts us in the frame of mind that is about to be shattered with the punchline.
" I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather…
Not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car."
This should make us mindful of the reason why a Judge in a courtroom setting requires a witness not only to:
"Tell the Truth..."
(But even more is required…)
The Whole Truth...
And Nothing but the truth."
We suddenly understand that grandfather was driving the car when he fell asleep and everybody died in a crash.
Like I said at the top …
When I was 2 years old I discovered absolutely EVERYTHING can be seen as a matter of bias, interpretation, and "possible" misunderstanding unless we have ALL the information and proper contexts.
Take Christianity, for instance.
The World Council of Churches tells us there are over 40 thousand “Christian denominations”!
Each one “thinks” they own the Truth exclusively! How is that possible?
It is possible when the members keep to themselves in a closed echo chamber
disallowing criticism, debate, or challenges to authority.
However -Jesus was constantly debating with the leaders of Judaism, critical of their teachings, and challenging their thinking - and even his apostles and disciples bickered about all sorts of matters. Paul had to challenge Peter at one point on a matter of doctrine even though Peter was given “the keys of the Kingdom.”
Is it any wonder there are 40 thousand differences of opinion calling themselves “Christian?”
And then - there are Puns!
PUNS require that you deliberately apply alternate (and absurd) meaning to ordinary words.
"I have a split personality", said Tom, being frank.
"Will glass coffins be successful?" Remains to be seen.
"I lost my job at the bank on my very first day. A woman asked me to check her balance, so I pushed her over"
We can sum that up this way:
It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things ...literally
Finally, is it any surprise that when I was 12 years old I became involved with a religious organization that provided alternate explanations and interpretations to practically everything in mainstream religion and the Bible?
I think not!
Once you develop a secret power: (being open to alternative bias and seeing contradictory contexts) the world you live in is a MUCH MORE INTERESTING place.
We tend to think of bias and discrimination as BAD but both must be applied with experience, wisdom, and comprehensive awareness of other possible interpretations.
After all, all things consist of BEING what it is - as opposed to what it IS NOT.
Some things can be viewed as automatically self-contradictory.
Happily married and Military Intelligence, for instance.
Let's end this with a laugh using famous people who violate the logic of sense-making bias...by making an alternative sense.
I am a deeply superficial person. - Andy Warhol
Of course, I can keep secrets. It’s the people I tell them to that can’t keep them. - Anthony Haden-Guest
I distinctly remember forgetting that. - Clara Barton
You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap. - Dolly Parton
The budget was unlimited, but I exceeded it. - Donald Trump
I have a terrible memory. I never forget a thing. - Edith Konecky
I hate people but I love gatherings. - Edna St. Vincent Millay
Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history and that man can never learn anything from history. - George Bernard Shaw
Always be sincere, even when you don’t mean it. - Irene Peter
Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so. - Josh Billings
We must believe in free will. We have no choice. - Isaac B. Singer
I can resist everything but temptation. - Oscar Wilde
It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. - Mark Twain
I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible. -
The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep. - W.C. Fields
I always avoid prophesying beforehand because it is much better to prophesy after the event has already taken place. -
I never said most of the things I said. - Yogi Berra