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In praise of silliness

 
Lapin Diabolique
 
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Lapin Diabolique
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05 June 2008 16:38
 

A few years ago I watched an episode of “ Inside The Actors Studio” with that odd fellow James Lipton and Michael Myers (Canadian comedian, not the serial killer) was his guest.

Mike spoke about his family life and he mentioned that silliness was held in very high regards by his parents.
He said that intellect is a fine tool if you want to get from A to B but once you are there you should revert back to silliness as your default operating mode, until the time that you once again need your reasoning skills to solve an issue.
For reasons only known to our sweet lord and savior, and Deepak Chopra of course, I thought of this today and it struck me as very important and spectacularly overlooked.

Silliness, along with (intentional) humor and the consolation and merits of laziness are, as far as I know, totally absent from all ‘holy’ scriptures and most ‘serious’ writings.

I have read enough about evolution to be dangerous and pompous and I have not come across any evidence that intellect is anything else but a ‘trick’, to quote Dennett, to be successful in that grand old game of eating, shitting and multiplying.

If this is indeed so then it seems to me that we use this trick far too often.
Sam mentioned this tendency of people to be continuously lost in thought.

I suppose you could call it “survival skill gone wild”.

Any thoughts, you merry ladies and gents ?

 
 
 
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Aaron
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05 June 2008 18:26
 

If it weren’t for my own routine silliness, I would go mad.  I’m also glad that I’m able to crack myself up when nobody else is around.

 
 
Ecurb Noselrub
 
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Ecurb Noselrub
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05 June 2008 19:13
 

I have decided that it is my civic duty to report both of you to John Cleese, the dreaded Minister of Silly Walks.  He will deal with you appropriately for entertaining such silly notions.

 
 
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JET
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05 June 2008 19:44
 
Sander - 05 June 2008 08:38 PM

Silliness, along with (intentional) humor and the consolation and merits of laziness are, as far as I know, totally absent from all ‘holy’ scriptures and most ‘serious’ writings.

Any thoughts, you merry ladies and gents ?

How does it go now…

If you can’t laugh at yourself, you might be missing the joke of the century.

 
 
 
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mcalpine
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05 June 2008 20:35
 

Sander, I have to laugh every time I see Ol’ Pazuzu. Do you use that in your Christian forums?

 
 
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nv
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05 June 2008 20:40
 

Toward the end of The Hidden Life of Dogs, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas describes how, once all the power-plays are finished and equilibrium has been established, packs of dogs do very little other than just relax, almost reptile-like. I remember being impressed by this when I read it, and it probably helped me feel okay about my own tendency toward laziness as well as extreme silliness. Any seriousness that might be inferred from my words about nihilism, morality, cognitive patterns, behavioral psychology, . . . all began so that I might possibly be able to quiet my thoughts—an attempt to build a future in which only silliness could matter. I’ve a ways to go yet, but certainly on my way, Sander. Actually, I’m closer than I probably should admit to.

 
 
mpbrockman
 
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mpbrockman
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06 June 2008 03:00
 
Sander - 05 June 2008 08:38 PM

Michael Myers… said that intellect is a fine tool if you want to get from A to B but once you are there you should revert back to silliness as your default operating mode, until the time that you once again need your reasoning skills to solve an issue.

I don’t necessarily see intellect and silliness as distinct modes of thought. Silliness, to me, is just where intellect goes to play.

And all work and no play gets you a script for maximum-strength Prozac.

 
 
Ecurb Noselrub
 
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Ecurb Noselrub
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06 June 2008 06:34
 
homunculus - 06 June 2008 12:40 AM

Toward the end of The Hidden Life of Dogs, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas describes how, once all the power-plays are finished and equilibrium has been established, packs of dogs do very little other than just relax, almost reptile-like. I remember being impressed by this when I read it, and it probably helped me feel okay about my own tendency toward laziness as well as extreme silliness.

The Art Of Doing Nothing by Vienne & Lennart has similar insights. For most of human history we had short periods of intense activity (planting crops, hunting), then long periods of inactivity (waiting for the crops to grow, hanging around during the winter eating mammoth jerky). It’s only relatively recently that we feel that we have to cram stuff into every waking moment. We need more sidewalk cafes.

 
 
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eudemonia
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06 June 2008 08:24
 

‘If we could not laugh we would all go insane.’ Jimmy Buffett.

 
 
 
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CalmWind
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06 June 2008 15:27
 

Despite the angry murmurs of scientists around me and the occasional loud suggestion to have my scrotum roasted on a pole, I will say that silliness binds the universe together.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzRH3iTQPrk

 
 
Lapin Diabolique
 
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Lapin Diabolique
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06 June 2008 16:10
 
homunculus - 06 June 2008 12:40 AM

Toward the end of The Hidden Life of Dogs, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas describes how, once all the power-plays are finished and equilibrium has been established, packs of dogs do very little other than just relax, almost reptile-like. I remember being impressed by this when I read it, and it probably helped me feel okay about my own tendency toward laziness as well as extreme silliness. Any seriousness that might be inferred from my words about nihilism, morality, cognitive patterns, behavioral psychology, . . . all began so that I might possibly be able to quiet my thoughts—an attempt to build a future in which only silliness could matter. I’ve a ways to go yet, but certainly on my way, Sander. Actually, I’m closer than I probably should admit to.

I don’t think you ought to be bashful about that lofty enterprise of achieving the blessed state of silliness.
And I am very happy for you H.
I have a bit of an idea about the road you have traveled and you seem to be doing fine.
I am always on the look-out for well-adjusted people. The sightings of them are almost as infrequent as those of Bigfoot.

I have these strange moments of perplexity sometimes, no doubt brought about by years of indulgence in good pot and questionable Ecstasy, where I am in a crowded place, stop in my tracks and watch my fellow humans run hither and thither and I can’t figure out what makes these people so energetic and where they all think they are going.

Some dude said that the world will end due to human diligence.

More eloquently and slightly related to the topic at hand, Oscar Wilde proclaimed that industry is the root of all ugliness. 

I am very much encouraged, or at least consoled, that many of you fine people share my preference for laziness and silliness.

Come to think of it, most people I know who are clever and enjoyable company display a fondness for these two virtues.

Alas, the world is run by highly motivated and often psychotic energizer bunnies.

Either that, or I am just seeking excuses for my sloth.

Bruce B.
It’s only relatively recently that we feel that we have to cram stuff into every waking moment. We need more sidewalk cafes.

Amen brother.

 
 
Lapin Diabolique
 
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Lapin Diabolique
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06 June 2008 16:25
 
mpbrockman - 06 June 2008 07:00 AM
Sander - 05 June 2008 08:38 PM

Michael Myers… said that intellect is a fine tool if you want to get from A to B but once you are there you should revert back to silliness as your default operating mode, until the time that you once again need your reasoning skills to solve an issue.

I don’t necessarily see intellect and silliness as distinct modes of thought. Silliness, to me, is just where intellect goes to play.

And all work and no play gets you a script for maximum-strength Prozac.

You are right.
A better way to (para)phrase it would be to follow David Byrne’s advice in his concert movie: ‘Stop making sense’.

I am showing my age here, but I still consider The Talking Heads the highest priests of high-brow silliness.

For those of you who need a video/audio aid here’s ‘Slippery People’ from Stop Making Sense.

A most excellent movie, great music and the two back-up singers are so very delightful and so very fuckable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTnjsNTTz2Q

 
 
 
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zelzo
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16 June 2008 11:05
 
Sander - 06 June 2008 08:25 PM

...... and the two back-up singers are so very delightful and so very fuckable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTnjsNTTz2Q


Whose minding the store on this thread?
You’re slightly off track here…....

....but I do like the topic of silliness because humor is a necessary ingredient to living a pleasurable life. If you observe the animal kingdom it is rampant,especially in the young. Surely it is a biological survival skill.

Personally there are specific kinds of humor/silliness that I gravitate towards, satire and irony (which aren’t always silly but can be very funny.)

And I constantly bear in mind (as a married person) my own mother’s words of wisdom when she told me no marriage can exist without humor. SO I tend to gravitate toward the funny, insanely comical and silly around me on a daily basis, as a preventative measure,  to keep my sanity and my marriage intact.

My experiences have shown me (over and over again) that people with whom I cannot share some silliness or humor with tend to be people I have little desire to spend time with. And likewise, people who have a sense of silliness and humor in their demeanor are people whom I come to enjoy and respect (generally speaking.)

 
 
 
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mcalpine
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17 June 2008 11:53
 

“Whose minding the store on this thread?
You’re slightly off track here…....”

I don’t see how this comment relates to the Sander quote. What males find irrestibly attractive about any particular female is usually silly to other females.  You, for example, probably wouldn’t understand why a skanky hose monster screaming GO JIM DANDY would lead a totally hypothetical male to try to bite his monitor screen….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPsaGPzCHkQ

...nor would I understand why you are dying to spank the guy in the white outfit. Silly, isn’t it?  tongue laugh

 
 
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zelzo
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17 June 2008 12:17
 

“mcalpine”


You, for example, probably wouldn’t understand why a skanky hose monster screaming GO JIM DANDY would lead a totally hypothetical male to try to bite his monitor screen….

Damn, how right you are!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPsaGPzCHkQ

...nor would I understand why you are dying to spank the guy in the white outfit. Silly, isn’t it?  tongue laugh

LOL.
Silliness all around.
So glad I decided to check out this thread today.

 
 
 
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Traces Elk
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17 June 2008 12:48
 
lindajean - 16 June 2008 03:05 PM

And I constantly bear in mind (as a married person) my own mother’s words of wisdom when she told me no marriage can exist without humor. SO I tend to gravitate toward the funny, insanely comical and silly around me on a daily basis, as a preventative measure,  to keep my sanity and my marriage intact.

Yeah, and. What you don’t bear in mind is that you might not exist without marriage.

It’s just an observation, not a judgement leveled on “marriage”.

 
 
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