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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Laughter and Creativity

The structure of humor “inherently provides the constant possibility of a new unexpected beginning.” As Mindess (1971) observes,  “the procedure of humor, in short, is the procedure of creativity, for in its construction as well as in its content, the ludicrous continually provides us with new compositions formed out of old raw materials”  (p. 153). Do I hear bricolage?

George Banks was totally wrong when he derided Mary’s outings with the children.  Mary, through her unconventional methods, was teaching the children something far more valuable than they could ever learn in any school or bank—the creative power of the imagination.  Something as small as a joke can have great consequences, since it helps us escape the usual, and celebrates the unusual.  Humor enhances creative possibilities, bricolagically accessing the unconventional side of our imaginations:

From pure absurdity to pointed barbs, the play of wit puts pieces of thought together to create brand new ideas.  So doing, it pries us loose from encrusted ruts of thinking and invites us to skip along novel pathways of the mind.  It is in this respect that humor paves the way for originality on a wider scale.  Silly and childish as it often appears, irreverent and impertinent as it always is, our sense of humor has the power to unlock all of our other creative potentials.  Humor, moreover is not just a key to creativity; it is itself a creative act.  Like a scientific theory, a painting, or a poem, even a lowly joke deals in novelty and originality.  It rejects conventional thinking, makes use of imagination and articulates the unheard-of.  Conceived, like its more illustrious relatives, in a burst of inspiration, the humorous product too may be shaped and refined in painstaking dedication . . . while it may neither glorify nor explain life the better, it arises out of the same dissatisfaction with the status quo and asserts the same right to evolve new forms of thought and imagery. (Mindess, 1971, p. 154)

Laughter is not all fun and games, it also has a shadow side.  While laughter can be creative and liberatory, laughter can also be destructive and be used as a weapon to ostracize others; while laughter strengthens the bonds of a group, it also encourages disaffiliation and distance from others who are felt to be inferior and are the butt of jokes. ∆RC[mp20]

Now that we are done joking around, let us move on to explore the movie Mary Poppins in the "Scene-by-scene-play."


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