Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Response to Violence

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.”



  1. Right on! And keep on doing it!

    Lou Franzini

  2. thank you. I needed to hear this view restated. it helps at a time when my laugh is quiet while my grief sings. I dont need a drill today, I needed a tissue. deb hart

  3. I was sitting in SUBWAY at lunch, and the one college-age worker said to me, in regards to his highschool age coworker: Helen ... make him laugh. I responded: 'I don't make people do anything, I allow them to be.' I became a WLT CLL because of it's mission of Healthy Socialization. If I would have been told I 'HAD' to laugh and 'HAD' to participate in all the activities, I would have said: 'Thank you, but no thank you.' The reason I am able to be a CLL trained/certified by WLT; is beause my trainer, Steve Wilson, ALLOWED me to NOT participate in activities at the training, where I wasn't comfortable. I apply this in my programs. I open all my programs with: I 'INVITE' you to join me in these activies; but you may just sit with your hands in your lap and just stare at me if you wish.' At that point ... I hear the standard STRESS RELIEVING LAUGH ... known as response to humor. I am always complimented when the person sitting with their hands in their lap through the whole program, comes up to me afterwards and says: THAT WAS GREAT! VIOLENCE? I'm not doctor nor a psychologist ... it appears to be a response to anger or frustration held inward ... not feeling or able to BE FREE or THEMSELVES without taking a major action projected outward. *sigh ... I am PASSIONATE about what I do and FRUSTRATED at the same time ... when what I do isn't taken seriously. WLT's mission of HEALTHY SOCIALIZATION and Peace through FREEDOM TO BE when attending a laughter club is - to me - VERY VERY VALUABLE. I never take 'volunteers' volunteered by anyone else - during a program. I let people know - it's freedom of choice and freedom to be - and to stay within one's comfort zone. I have stayed out of commenting on the latest news ... which seems to be more the norm, in the news (shootings from frustration and anger to be seen and heard.) As the song goes ... 'Let it BE let it BE ...' I extend that to - allow people to be - listen - hear - don't force ... and relieve the stress with a health laugh or smile ... FREELY - without being forced. Healthy Socialization - a very key issue in healthy living with others. Helen

  4. Good message, Steve. Like Helen, I invite people to laugh with me in the moment. Not to solve the world's problems, but to engender enthusiasm in our hearts. With enthusiasm, we can move towards good-hearted and full belly living. Shanti.