The Joker’s Laugh

It is unhuman to expect to always be fine.

The jester is a character that became popular in Europe in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. Those who offered banquets in the royal courts, also wanted to offer jokes and laughter. That’s why someone was often hired to liven up the events.

This work meant that the fool always had to show a state of mind in accordance with what he intended to provoke in his audience. He had to display continuous happiness, to the point of reaching euphoria, so as to make it contagious. Pretty much what one expects from someone who wins a card game when everything seemed to indicate the contrary. Maybe that’s why the jester has become the image of a valuable card in the deck: the Joker.  

If we manage to imagine ourselves in this permanent state of happiness, at first glance, it may seem for us like a stroke of luck. Like the prolonged excitement of an unexpected victory, the unsuspected end of a game which seemed to have been lost, but which, after a better look at the result, gives us joy and laughter. But, in reality, a permanent state of joy is only a worthy condemnation of a villain.

It is unhuman to expect to always be fine. It implies denying or downplaying negative emotions: the feeling of loneliness that encounters each one of us at one point, the concern that arises when faced with matters dear to us but which we cannot control, the disappointments that accompany us in the face of destroyed hopes, the guilt that arises when we cannot deny a mistake, the anger which envelops us when we suffer an unjust situation, the limits that remind us what we cannot reach, the shame that keeps us in check and all those feelings that we don’t consider when they make life difficult.

However, rejecting all this creates a limiting self-centredness.  Forcing ourselves to show what we don’t really feel is a brake that blocks the ability to grow. It is ridiculous to deny oneself the right to have a bad day, because even these days are fruitful.  When the difference between encouragement and fertility is such that, becoming aware of it (the negative situation) invites us simply to welcome it as the best gift received.  To carry it as a treasure that reminds its owner of his/her fragility. And there we can discover a hope that we don’t find simply in the words “weather the storm”.

This may sound outrageous or absurd, but on the other hand we recognize that we want to be saved from that timeless laugh of the Joker. Our salvation will not come from a superhero, nor from an extraordinary event, but from an everyday evangelization of ourselves until we are able to honestly look at ourselves and admit our being humans.

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