A Response to Violence

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Is It Really?

Today I am reading entries on Facebook from some laughter/humor colleagues asserting that yesterday’s shootings at an elementary school are proof that we need more laughter. Here’s one, “If we’d laugh more, there would be less violence, wars, fight… and we all laughed… really hard…”

Oh, my!

I am reminded of the man in an early documentary video about laughter in India. His cure for the troubles of the world, “Laughter alone is the solution!”

Oh, my!

A good argument could be made that laughter, humor, and mirth have survival value. But, “laughter alone” is hardly the solution.

What image do such assertions project about the mission, passion, and work of World Laughter Tour, its thousands of members, and others who form the loosely organized laughter movement? Over-simplified short-hand figures of speech can be easily misinterpreted, and portray the movement as seemingly not very thoughtful, perhaps even overly zealous for laughter.

I urge you, my readers and members of the World Laughter Tour, to project a more reflective and considered position. One that appreciates complexity, but is not deterred from ideals.

Situations and events have multiple causalities.

For instance, when we seek to foster a dozen new intergenerational laughter programs next year, or next February, when I present a program of classroom activities and support for caregivers in early childhood education, or when we promote laughing toys for kids, it is not because we believe that laughter is the only best medicine.

A Tool, Not the Whole Toolbox

Laughter is like an electric drill, a tool that delivers a desired result: a hole in the right place at the right time. It is not the whole toolbox. When the Beatles sang “All You Need Is Love,” that was a figure of speech.  We recognize that love is an action verb, not merely feel-good emotion.

What we call laughter programs encompass tools and experiences for more positive emotions and attitudes (emotional education); positive engagement with life and positive relationships, through Good-Hearted Living, for example. We synthesize evidence-based information from science, Positive Psychology, and ancient practices, in clinical, educational, consulting, corporate, and volunteer work.

We help individuals use life energies to choose and modify their life and work directions. We help individuals identify emotional and attitudinal factors, many of which can be self-administered practices that improve health and increase life satisfaction and well-being for clients, patients, residents, students, employee, and others.

And, yes, we have fun doing it.

What’s so funny? Sometimes, we can’t exactly explain why we are laughing. That’s OK. But, my over-riding mission is to give people good reasons to laugh such as a good job, reasonable income, healthcare, adequate food, freedom from pain and fear and chaos. Now, that’s a world you can live with. To get ideas for love-in-action, please re-read “FULL-BELLY LAUGHTER” and pass it on.

We can imagine a better world. And, anything we can imagine we can make happen.

The advice that medical researcher Dr. Lee Berk so generously offered to me at the beginning of the World Laughter Tour, I now offer to you, “Don’t ever get discouraged. You are doing the right thing.”


About the Author

Steve Wilson

Award-winning psychologist, Steve Wilson, also known as The Joyologist and The Cheerman of the Bored, has spent 30 years specializing in applied and therapeutic humor with a humanitarian mission. As Director of National Humor Month, he intertwines science and ancient wisdom with substance and humor to create practical methods to lead the world to health, happiness and peace through laughter. More than six thousand people have completed his unique training in how to create therapeutic laughter, and tens of thousands more around the world have been uplifted by his talks, classes, books, and articles. He established the World Laughter Tour, Inc., in 1998, to be a rich resource and inspiration for improving productivity, health, and well being in business, healthcare and education. For more information https://www.worldlaughtertour.com and http://www.humormonth.com.