Jovial Chaos: Humorous Heroism and the Power of Crazy Wisdom

“Real compassion kicks butt and takes names and is not pleasant on certain days. If you are not ready for this FIRE, then find a new-age, sweetness and light, perpetually smiling teacher and learn to relabel your ego with spiritual sounding terms. But, stay away from those who practice REAL COMPASSION, because they will fry your ass, my friend.” ~ Ken Wilber

Forget “I think, therefore I am.” That’s old hat. Embrace “I think, therefore I laugh.” Now that’s where the gold’s at. That’s where sacred alchemy is brewing, transforming lead into gold, demons into diamonds, imps into impetus, and fear into fearlessness.

How? By launching us out of the box of fixed thinking. Why? Because a good sense of humor is the ultimate liberator. What emerges? A kind of jovial chaos, a heightened state of humor, a crazy wisdom that upsets all dogmatic apple-carts.

In short: the Humorous Hero emerges, full-frontal, full-throttle, with the Golden Ratio in one hand and a red herring in the other, wearing a cape stitched out of material torn from the Golden Mean, donning and discarding the Mask of Enlightenment, dissolving all crowns, dismantling all high-horses, melting all pedestals, and burning down all thrones only to dance in the ashes of power, while intermittently skipping through the puddles of tears cried-out by the powerful who have been usurped.

But there are steps to be taken before such carefree and courageous dancing can take place, and they are not for the faint of heart. They’re not baby steps, but God steps. They are leaps and bounds. They are headfirst dives that may or may not crack open the head.

Not leaps of faith, mind you, but leaps of courage. The kind of courage that stands the spine bolt up inside you. Not bounds as in limits, but bounds as in transcendence, self-overcoming, and transforming boundaries into horizons. The kind of bountiful energy that one feels balls to bones, ovaries to marrow, humerus-bone to funny-bone. Let’s dive in…

Step 1) Spit in Satan’s mouth (extinguishing fear):

“If there is a devil in history, it is the power principle.” ~ Mikhail Bakunin

a clown2This is the sacred send off, the leap of courage. This is where the humorous hero digs down deep for that first existential laugh, that core chuckle, that ancient teasing that smears out all self-seriousness into humorous sincerity. Here, the cornerstone of the human condition gets fully tapped, revealing the cosmic joke for what it is: there is no permanence.

But rather than fear, rather than death-anxiety, rather than nihilistic angst, the humorous hero decides to laugh, and laugh hard, thereby transcending impermanence and achieving providence through a heightened state of humor. The cosmic joke still stands, but no longer is the humorous hero the butt-end of it (victim) – She is the one laughing (hero).

If, as Sun Tzu said, “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting,” then the humorous hero is the one settling the ultimate score between love and fear.

For the enemy is first and foremost the Self, especially the part of the self that allows fear to dominate love. The humorous hero solves this equation, not by fighting, but through imaginative laughter and a heightened state of ruthless humor.

Reveal to the humorous hero the most devilish devil, the most demonic demon, the most supreme evil, and he/she will fearlessly piss down its throat of false power, smear shit on its throne of pseudo authority, burn down its temples of deceit from the sparks of a thousand and one Jack-in-the-boxes.

Because the humorous hero realizes that it’s all just a cartoon in the brain anyway, and to survive it, one needs to turn the tables on it, trump fear with love, and then laugh wholeheartedly, spinning into radical dance and sacred play.

Step 2) Dare the Cosmos into apocalyptic dance (reconditioning conditioning):

“But the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests. Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Now that fear has been extinguished the new enemy is the conditioned state. More specifically, cultural preconditioning. This can be an all too tricky bramble, a psychosocial knot that only we can untie for ourselves.

But with our newfound fearlessness we can handle it. It’s an unlearning of what we have learned, an unknotting of what an unhealthy society has knotted up inside us. It’s a self-overcoming at the developmental level, an unwashing of the brainwash.

It’s Nature versus Nurture with Nature winning out by sheer will. We have a crucial decision to make: dance or decay; truly live in freedom or remain a zombie in chains; cultivate a good sense of humor or remain a victim of self-seriousness; become overwhelmed by the conservatism of the tribe or liberate the tribe by creating new more adaptive tribal values?

If, as Hunter S. Thompson said, “Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used,” then humorous heroes are the ones being proactive with their freedom by leveraging it into an unfree world. They do so by becoming a living, breathing, dancing example of change. They are catalysts of the first order.

Their art is love. Their medium is humor. Their canvas is life. They are the ones daring the cosmos into apocalyptic dance and taunting the gods into naked vulnerability. Through epic play, radical art, and irreconcilable dance, they free the unfree, disturb the comfortable, and majestically decondition conditioning itself through radical and creative reconditioning.

Step 3) Slap God in the face (questioning authority):

“Climb the highest mountain and punch the face of God.” ~ Courage Wolf

a clown3The humorous hero is the personification of self-actualized audacity. With fearlessness in tow and preconditioning reconditioned, the full power of sacred humor becomes manifest.

This is where the insouciant muscle of crazy wisdom flexes itself. It blurs all boundaries. It flattens cognitive boxes, stretches cultural-prescribed comfort zones, and shatters the rigidness of fixed thinking into free thinking through the power of flexible intuition.

So called answers are dissected, turned inside out with their flawed guts revealed, and transformed into questions ad infinitum.

As Chögyam Trungpa said, “We don’t fixate on an answer, we go further. “Why is that the case?” We look further and further. We ask: “Why is this so? Why is there spirituality? Why is there awakening? Why is there this moment of relief? Why is there such a thing as discovering the pleasure of spirituality? Why, why, why?” We go on deeper and deeper, until we reach the point where there is no answer. At that point we tend to give up hope of an answer, or of anything whatsoever, for that matter. This hopelessness is the essence of crazy wisdom. It is hopeless, utterly hopeless.”

But there is a power in hopelessness that the hopeful cannot know: existential freedom. Freedom from seriousness. Freedom from the pettiness of life. Freedom from the gravity of death. Freedom from the need for an answer.

Freedom even from the need to be free. Such freedom gives us power over power: sacred humor and crazy wisdom. And a kind of contrarian nature arises like a self-actualized residue. Contrarianism (made famous by the Heyoka sacred clowns) is a powerful tool used to flip power dynamics, upset apple-carts, and free fixed thinking from its cognitive cage.

What is revealed is the pulsing, hungry, vulnerable undercarriage of the human condition. But passionate and creative art is also revealed as the only way to reconcile the angst of it all.

And so the humorous hero, armed with sacred humor and crazy wisdom, and a contrarian disposition, has the spiritual audacity and existential wherewithal to climb the highest mountain and punch the face of the “highest” God.

Because the hero understands balance and moderation and harmony. The hero realizes that the highest God is just the heroes own superego trying to trip him up.

So he turns the tables on himself, on his own flashy ego, and tricks himself into a heightened state of awareness that goes far beyond the culturally conditioned manifestation of God, and into a state of non-serious, no-minded, laughable oneness with all things.

Step 4) Kill Buddha on the path (recycling mastery):

“The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.” ~ Osho

a clown4Daring to show the world our unique soul-signature takes tremendous courage. Especially in a world unaware of itself. Navigating such a world can be difficult, especially as a fearless contrarian who has reconciled her existential angst and reconditioned her own preconditioning.

So sometimes we need space, a sacred place, where we can dive into the deep interconnected waters of meditation and solitude. A place where we can weigh ourselves against the universe so as to relieve ourselves of unnecessary weight.

Like Edward Abbey said, “We need wilderness because we are wild animals. Every man needs a place where he can go crazy in peace once in a while.”

And that’s it, that’s Mecca for the humorous hero, discovering a sacred space where we are free to go crazy, to flex our contrarian muscles, to expand our crazy wisdom, and to un-convince our ego of its certainty.

It’s all too easy to trick ourselves into thinking that we’ve “made it,” that we’re finally “awake,” that we’ve finally “seen the light.” But we haven’t. Making it, wakefulness, and seeing the light are all relative to the journey. Enlightenment is not a destination.

It is a weaving in and out of heightened states of awareness and lowly states of indifference with (hopefully) humorous dispositions to get us through both. So really, when it comes down to it, enlightenment is having a good sense of humor, coupled with the ability to allow the journey to be the thing.

It’s a going with the flow – with both the overflow of passion and the undertow of pain, and the ability to transform both into information that can make us healthier, more flexible, more humorous, and more robust.

Jovial chaos is the arena where our crazy wisdom is free to dance, where a secret order binds the humorous human to an indifferent universe, and where, somehow, meaning is created out of the paradoxical clash of opposites.

It’s a heightened state of humor where no demon is allowed to be a demon and no god is allowed to be a god, for they are both absolved and subsumed by the overpowering and overcoming contrarian disposition of the humorous hero, and revealed to be nothing more than petty abstractions built up by a scared and ignorant species just beginning to figure out its true place in the cosmos.

But nothing, not even God, and definitely not the devil or cultural preconditioning, can prevent the free, passionate, loving, laugh-out-loud, hug-the-universe, self-overcoming energy of the humorous heroes who are fearless with, and aware of, the power of their own indomitable, unquenchable, humor.

Image source:

Smoking clown
Courage Wolf
Buddha quote

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Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
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