J for Joy

Talking about joy is fun. Its feels better than just cracking a few jokes, and this is not bad at all. The starting point of much joy can be a simple joke, because of the simplicity of emotions and the bonding between persons. However, laughing about jokes is often abused in the form of laughing at the expense of someone or a specific group of persons (serious publication “L’empire du rire” CNRS, 998 pages). This explains to me the difference between a joke and joy. Joy is the emotion resulting of a joke, but also of many other experiences. The simple joy to meet another person, an animal, the sun, rain, wind, music, art or just less pain is more probably more intrinsic. To receive or to give a present is often associated with a joyful moment, sometimes lasting quite a bit. For some psychologists, emotions can be problematic, if a person can no longer regulate them effectively. Many persons tend towards excessive use of alcohol or other drugs to experience positive emotions like joy. Negative emotions of another person, strangely enough, may also contribute to the joy of another person (“Schadenfreude”), e.g., if a dictator is finally overthrown.
Much more inspiring is joy in connection with religion. As a critic of religious ideas, the attempts of religion to define joy for individuals and society probably explains the success of religions. Representations of Buddha, show the happy or joyful monk, Christians define joy with the advent and the birth of an unconceived child, fighting fiercely any modern forms of contraception and science advances for birth assistance. Restricting jokes and joy to the “carnival” period reflects the Christian doctrine to control and monopolise the definition of joy. Therefore, it is no surprise to witness that many persons feel more inspired by Asian traditions like “Ikigai” or “yoga” in their daily routines to experience joyful moments. I always found it very odd that Christian fundamentalists would not say Merry Christmas before the 25th of December after they have been to church at midnight. The priest or pope as the master of joy is a very strange idea. Affect inhibition or deferral is a powerful psychological tool. As in this blog entry I deferred my joy and laughter until the last line. So now, please join me in a wholehearted JOYFUL LAUGHTER, so the people around you may believe you’ve gone completely mad. It might be the beginning of more lasting joy, just keep practicing. Joy is within us not depending on outside stimuli,  joyful1  although they might help.

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