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Humour and Play-Fullness

Essential integrative processes in governance, religion and transdisciplinarity (Part #1)

Recognized role of humour in politics, leadership, religion and creativity
Humour symbolism -- the "Laughter of the Gods"
Humour as a playful reactive response to the tragic incongruity of the world
Seriousness and humourlessness
Essential catalytic and dynamic qualities of humour-playfulness
Humour-playfulness and higher dimensionality
Humour as playing with patterns
Humour-playfulness as a characteristic meta-game
Potential of humour-playfulness in the incongruity of dialogue between intractables
Potential of humour-playfulness in methodological reframing of transdisciplinary incongruities
Potential of humour-playfulness in governance of strategic incongruities
Potential of humour-playfulness in reframing interreligious incongruities
Potential of humour in communication with extraterrestrials, aliens and terrorists
Integrative framework of humour-playfulness
Pattern A: Four "humours" in the classical tradition
Pattern B: Pattern of interrelationships
Pattern C: Archetypes
Pattern D: Holistic dynamics
Pattern E: Mathematics of humour?
Playfulness -- the interplay between patterns

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This exploration is dedicated to a friend, John E Fobes (1919-2005), former Deputy Director-General of UNESCO and co-founder, with Art Buchwald, of the Association for the Promotion of Humour in International Affairs (APHIA).

The following exploration follows from a concern that modern civilization is boring itself to death trying to manage change -- and compensating for its inadequacies with respect to the challenge by indulgence in distractions and substance abuse. There is a need for radical reframing -- of a playful nature. Essentially the argument is that "no play equals no engagement" -- at least of any sustainable form. It was previously developed in relation to climate change (cf Playfully Changing the Prevailing Climate of Opinion: Climate change as focal metaphor of effective global governance, 2005).

Both humour and play are taken "seriously" here in the light of their recognized role in transcending the boundaries constraining innovative change processes in government, religion and transdisciplinarity. Given the marginalization of humour in the patterns of such formal contexts, a dynamic vital to their role in society is endangered -- especially with the increasing tendency towards faith-based governance. The emphasis is placed on the nature of the subtle relationships of higher dimensionality that become apparent through humour -- when otherwise they would tend not to be perceptible. As in any creative process, the emphasis is also placed on the ways of playing with patterning possibilities, rather than being excessively attached to particular patterns.

The potential of the dynamic attitude associated with humour is explored here as a means of sustaining the level of playful engagement in innovative change processes. This is contrasted with the tendency to quench enthusiasm through commitment to inflexible patterns that are increasingly unsustainable. The epistemological challenge of this paradox of detached engagement is seen as usefully modelled by the current challenges of ensuring the containment of plasma in a nuclear fusion reactor as the sustained source of energy for the future [more].

ned source of energy for the future [more].

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