Humor, Creativity and Compassion
Edward De Bono once wrote that “Humor is the most significant activity of the human brain”.
He also proposed the idea that humor, creativity, generosity and compassion all stem from the same area of the brain. This has recently been confirmed by MRI brain scans and the recent neuroscientific research and it is not very difficult to that humor offers us an opportunity to adjust our perceptions of the world around us and a related thought process enables us to perceive another’s need or suffering, to “feel their pain” sufficiently to take some action to alleviate it. The creative process enables us to search out alternative solutions to problems or difficulties as well as thinking of “non-lateral” ways of communicating ideas or impressions.
We don’t expect everyone to be blessed with perfect pitch or a “musical ear”. In fact, the ability to reproduce a piece of music after hearing it only once is a fairly uncommon talent and the simple ability to draw a straight line without a ruler or compute the the total of a series of five digit numbers is again a special talent. Some of us have been born with brain formations that enable us to accomplish difficult tasks easily but many of were not. However, we can use rulers and calculators in our daily lives but if some one is born without the necessary brain configuration for humor and compassion he probably has no way of even knowing even what they are.
The world’s Great Teachers: Buddha, Jesus and some of the Prophets, frequently taught their followers the primordial importance of compassion because they knew that it was not in the hearts (or minds) of everyone. To some, the golden rule or caring for those less fortunate was an obvious duty but others found the idea bizarre or perhaps even incomprehensible. “Taking care of number one” is for many, the only “rule” they obey.
They would probably consider the Golden Rule just another one to be broken.
Our political and religious leaders have an important responsibility to teach compassion and objectivity by their speeches and example. However, in the current era it seems that our leaders lack the very qualities needed to over ride the basic indifference of the majority of their subjects and followers. The new Pope seems to be rattling the sword of the Crusades, while George W. Bush continues to pursue his own “Holy War” against the enemies of Capitalism, Christianity and Imperialism. Coincidence that the two share the spotlights of the world or as Sidney Hook wrote in “The Hero in History”
“The more troubled the times and the more conventional the education, the stronger are vestigial patterns of dependence and the easier it is for the leader to slip into its frame”