Comedians as the Premier Oracles of our Times

As a thinker, I am curious of the modern day thinkers who are most accessible, in hopes that I can understand the different ways of thinking that shape the world. While I know there are many more thinkers in many new and traditional fields, some emergent professions have, more than others, been compared to contemporary philosophy. While I have used the word philosophy quite often, I haven’t used the term “oracle” very often. The phrase has had historically theistic connotations, yet it has also been used in nondenominational contexts. Sagacity is commonly understood to be a reasonable skill when demonstrated, yet it is not a common label given to masters of their field. There are similar words- elder, expert, veteran, and chief, but the emphasis is towards authoritative instruction, rather than noncommittal guidance. While there are many guides, the word “oracle” inhabits a special niche in the hierarchy of leaderships. It sounds much more mystical than just a position of elder. All men age, and can easily imitate an elder. But a dedicated oracle, someone who spends more time than most thinking about timeless wisdom to disseminate at timely occasions will travel father than most. Sagacity requires at minimum, one pause reflection. To act and never reflect is something I have never done. In fact, I feel like I am ahead even after I reflect often. Acting and participating is essential for experience, but reflecting and researching allows one to understand wider contexts. Finding relatedness in greater contexts are, ideal, but the time required to determine whether something “new” is actually original or derivative is not always an expense afforded. Thus, it is with great strides that an oracle can guide a lost, blind, and undecided school of followers or devotees. An oracle’s greatest asset is teaching experience. Some experiences are unique, and others are shared or universal. The oracle is a resource for both shared experience, and for the esoteric. The former- shared experience is like one who teaches math at a level used by most accountants. The latter- esoteric experience- is what “oracles in training” seek to learn- the qualities or skills of an oracle that allow them to discover the deeper profundities of being a researcher of truth(s). I feel like comedy is one of the most accessible ways for the blind to find sight –and an oracle to moonlight in a contemporary world.

The comedian is responsible for a laundry list of roles in the public sphere- to mock all- though, the politically correct way is to primarily mock the least meek- and to boost morale among the downtrodden. But the ultimate goal of a comedian should not be to make political prisoners, but rather help conceptualize how to reach a higher standard of living- not that they alone have the means to in economic terms, but as a guidance to those who can implement a sensible reform where needed. The comedian is not recognized very much as a sage, yet in many ways, this awareness needs to increase. The sage, who has been forgotten in explicit or sustained cultural “mentions,” needs to be consulted. Guidance is a flexible term. Authority remains an important term, but its context needs to be limited to balanced roles in society- such as epidemiologists or locomotive engineers. I feel that there are new opportunities for diversity in a new generation of comedians who are more oracles than joke-dispensers. I feel like a new generation of comedy requires an evolved ether- a dramedy of corrections, rather than errors. Errors are not a bad element of comedy and consultation, but there has to be more than one way to teach wisdom- Reliving someone else’s traumatic experience in expository and theatrical form is traditionally the best way to communicate the human condition, but one had to question at once, why did comedy evolve from tragedy? Is comedy an evolution of tragedy, or is it an awareness of something that was not previously domesticated?

What is clear, however, is that today both tragedy and comedy has its followers, and most can comprehend both realms, yet I feel that comedy requires in some ways, a higher faculty to appreciate. Tragedy also has deep insights that require a meek sensitivity to understand, but in many ways they are potentially dependent on the condition of the world-and where one lives. If parts of the world are truly suffering, then it is responsible to understand what one has become alienated from. If parts of the world are not actually suffering, except from the delusion of feeling somewhat deprived of something they have plenty of (e.g. first world problems), then comedy serves a humiliating role while pleasing “the rest of the world.”  This is a “tried-and-true” approach, and is not an improper effect, but can be an overused tactic. It is more important to be conscious of both, yet awareness should also happen naturally. Communicating ideas separated from experience can appear fantasy-like and hypothetical, but firm awareness of concern and optimism as historical absolutes prepares one for events of great magnitude- whether positive or negative. Passivity is a risky position, but true passivity typically becomes devastated and doesn’t last long. Age and experience turns those who appear passive into those who are only preparing for their next life-changing experience- either by hardening their pessimism, or opening themselves to more optimism. I mention this because as I age, I become increasingly curious why some individuals become more mellow and why others become more fiery. It’s an open scandal, and I’m the first person I know to want to write about it. When I was twenty years old, I could have easily encountered an elderly person who left open the answer to that question. But as I age closer to reaching someone who is the type to dispense seldom-questioned adages- I am carefully trying to determine if I’m setting myself up for failure, by making the same exact mistakes as a jaded somebody, and thus, I tend to choose a different approach- one that is not as optimistic or as pessimistic as the previous. Concepts are not always flawed- rather it is the plan of action that is unworkable. A comedian has the ability to re-enact an array of agonizing experiences, and demonstrate, in record efficiency, the common man’s most common mistakes. However, efficiency is not witnessed in traditional format. The medium of stand-up comedy allows many storytellers to fail and involuntarily discover for themselves and their audience what is both funny and tragic. Perhaps the many stand-ups at open mics who are disillusioned with fame and glamour are not intimately aware of comedy’s original role as an uphill struggle against convention- little has changed since the earliest theaters of ancient Greece. The struggle is either implicit or carefully guarded. I for one, am not very tactful, but my image is not a huge concern.

But I have observed real desperation on stage that I seek to avoid myself, except if I am only using it intentionally for comedic effect. I try to gather as many thoughts as I can when I write about comedy, because I still try to loosely identify with it even though I have not done standup nearly as often as someone who even an average effort. Comedy is like a sponge- When I gather so many ideas that I have nothing I can immediately do anything with, I must squeeze a soaked sponge to share a runoff of ideas or (jokes) about comedy. In an average day, I’ll encounter several humorous thoughts- some short-lived, some promising, and thus I will write some, but not all of them down. What I end up doing is sleeping on it, and feeling like some of the jokes are no longer funny. But sometimes I get a theme of jokes that can fit into a longer act, and appear to be a worthwhile routine to practice. It can be exhausting to envision doing comedy every week or every few nights, so I usually, but have not always, needed lots of time in the order of months to do comedy. I do want to do more comedy in the future. It’s impractical to do comedy at this pace, I know. But I’m still in the middle of my life wondering if, I should be trying to do something a little different. I have said before, time and time again, that, when I see something I really want or need to do, that I make plans to do so. Many times it has merely been maintenance plans- plans for basic subsistence rather than development. Having a broad range of interests- from film to comedy to technology and science, I can’t fathom myself making grand plans, unless it logically included all or most of that. Yet, I’m hesitant to adopt “fake it til you make it” ideology. It’s reasonable, but I have no need to- a diverse set of career options fundamentally prevents that from being necessary, even though I could have opted for something like that if I focused on one path. Just 5 years ago, I was pursing science. And now I retain an interest, but my stove has three backburners instead of two. While I have diverged on a tangent on this post, I would like to briefly explain why. I try to write in a way that I feel I will remember when I might want to read this in the future. Much of writing appears to be contextual- Clinical or sanitized academic-style writing is very much what I seek to accomplish here, despite its informal and low-key WordPress posting. But the downside of clinical and sanitized is, it lacks a foreword and an afterword. I guess that can be included, but what kind of blog post needs such formality? I wonder sometimes what is my subject. I am academically lost, and for sometime- have known- the subjects I wanted to study were not easily frameable, and thus I have volunteered for this predicament. I maintain the awareness and soberness of reality that I am on my way to studying something both personally meaningful and both culturally interesting, because I want to. But I know that will alone is not all that is needed. It is persistence and specificity. This post has touched on a broad range of topics, and I’m aware I veered off-topic a few times. I’m always interested in concepts I haven’t read about, so that is part of my thinning focus habits. But I like to weave back to “abandoned” interests of mine, to do more than just dabble. I am like a messy chemist- part alchemy and part scientific method- certain fringes are not entirely understood, even using the method, thus I like to claim the perception that alchemy is like understudied proofs. I’ll end with a play on a profound work by Nietzsche. I haven’t read it, only a summary- the Birth of Tragedy. It’s a very interesting work, because I didn’t know Nietzsche had so much of an interest in theater. But there are many brilliant synopsis or at least interpretations about ancient Greece theater, which, in its largesse, can appear somewhat obfuscated at first glance. Nietzsche, as dense as he may first appear, actually unlocks and makes accessible the even deeper (or obscure) ancient Greek and Latin literature that he was well versed in. While certain philosophies have been often treated as a secondary concern in many of today’s profession, much remaining philosophy is shared incidentally, rather than reflectively. Incidental philosophy is like the opposite of preventative philosophy. Critical awareness of universally-recognized precedents guide preventative measures and philosophy. Incidental philosophy, on the other hand, dominates today’s recognizance of philosophy. It is philosophy on a need-basis, after the fact, and often, too late to recover. If comedy can accomplish anything in a greater way than it is already doing so, it would be to thoroughly galvanize it with deep philosophy.

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