by Gary 'Z' McGee
The Guardians of Happiness by Robert Bowen
is allowed to
the law of
A robust character hinges on the Seven Core Virtues:
This article is about the
last and most powerful core virtue:
So how do we attain high
By climbing up the
ladder of Virtues.
From which a healthy
character leads to a healthy sense of wonder which leads to a
healthy sense of humor.
This healthy sense of
humor launches us beyond rightness and wrongness, beyond good and
evil, beyond self-seriousness and egocentrism and into the open
vistas of high humor.
It's rocket fuel
And it's in the
meta-paradigm where we discover the genius of levity.
Here, we are free to
To think largely.
To think audaciously.
To think magically.
To think - full stop
- rather than merely believe.
When we think
rather than believe, our thinking becomes sincere
rather than serious.
It becomes laced with
levity, inflicted with irony, pierced with a sense of play. It's the
last and most powerful of the Seven Core Values because it
subsumes them all.
subsumes all values
is superior to
any religion so far devised."
Where courage frees character, moderation balances character, wisdom
guides character, justice stabilizes character, creativity grows
character, and honor unifies character, high humor overcomes
It's the only virtue that
It sees how character is
a character caught
within a tragicomedy, strutting itself across an all-too-mortal
It sees the character's
feet of clay.
But it also sees the
character's wings. It honors both through a laughter born from
Where pretend humor is a temptress, high humor is a tempest. High
humor is not slapstick. It's not comedy for comedy's sake like
pretend humor is.
It is never serious, but
it is always sincere...
It is always seated
at a great table for play and mockery...
High humor is the only
core value that can bluff God and the devil at the same time.
This is because high
humor subsumes the other six core values. It absorbs them,
cultivates them, synthesizes them, and then creatively engages them
as a whole.
It does it through the
use of insouciant daring and devil-may-care nonchalance.
This type of humor is
high because the stakes are high:
live greatly through
high humor or die slowly without it.
There is no condition
that cannot be surmounted by high humor.
It takes a good sense of
high humor to endure the realization that we are the butt-end of the
cosmic joke. But nothing is more important toward making the
darkness conscious than cultivating a good sense of high humor.
Especially when our goal
connects the finite with the infinite
to be able to live
he must either
not see the infinite
or connect the
finite with the infinite."
The high humor that we absorb in the cosmic waters of levity
gives us one of the most powerful tools known to man:
detachment, we see how everything is attached.
We see how everything
is connected to everything else.
We see the
interconnected cosmos as a giant web of frequency and energy, of
which we are but a tiny drop of dew.
But we are a drop of
dew that can reflect the entire web.
And through such
reflection comes the power to create meaning where it
otherwise doesn't exist...
It is through high humor where we discover our inner looking glass,
our primordial mirror, our vital contribution to Cosmos:
High humor engenders
presence by prompting us to search for hidden meaning. Not in a
codependent way, rigid and clinging, but in a detached way, open and
Meaning becomes an
act of creation rather than an act of belief...
When we are
codependent on meaning, we are taking ourselves too seriously.
When we are detached
from meaning, we are free to create or destroy meaning as we see
We're not anchored to
Truth, rather, we are flowing, swimming, and navigating the
turbulent waters of Truth.
It's through the mirror of high humor where we see that Truth is
never fixed. It is always moving, ever tempestuous, always
A good sense of high
humor is skill in swimming through such unforgiving waters.
As Alan Watts said,
"What one needs in
this universe is not certainty but the courage and nerve of the
gambler; not fixed conviction but adaptability; not firm ground
whereupon to stand but skill in swimming."
gives us permission to play
when they are a
person in the full sense of the word,
and they are
fully a person only when they play."
A sense of high humor is vulnerable armor.
High humor is radicalized
virtue. It radicalizes courage, moderation, wisdom, justice,
creativity, and honor.
virtue comes high humor, a sense of play so powerful it gains power
over Power itself.
It's so fulfilling
that it infuses our life with boldness, authenticity, presence,
joy, and passion...
Armed with the vulnerable
armor of high humor, we become fearless.
fearlessness, we are free to experiment.
We are free to
transform tragedy into teacher, pain into professor, labor into
For we realize that
life itself is but a grand experiment and we are the
We are the mad scientist,
and our life is our crazy invention.
Those who experiment
with life, those who take risks, tend to live a life well-lived
Those who don't, tend
to live a prescribed life, a stagnant life, a life half-dead
The humorless tend to
fall into the latter category, whereas those with high humor tend to
fall into the former.
Those with fearless
high humor see how important it is to work hard but play harder.
For not only does a sense
of playfulness create levity it also creates good morale.
It creates a creative
environment, a space for thriving, a space for cultivating, a
space for self-improvement.
It creates a sacred
place for unapologetic action, Nietzschean insouciance,
and Promethean audacity.
"It is better to act
and repent than not to act and regret."
High humor is radical
humor, voracious and fearless, primal and priceless.
It's unforgiving in
It's the animal of
our highest appetite.
It feeds on meaning -
high meaning, Meta-meaning.
The kind of meaning
that fills the belly of the soul to bursting.
It transforms the animal into a God, the God back into an
It does this forever,
again and again, laughing at the fragility of the human
condition and thumbing its nose at the cosmic joke.
It's a Phoenix smoking
the pipe of its own ashes...