Advertisement

Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 551–560 | Cite as

Humor as Wisdom for Reframing Life

  • Sang Uk Lee
Original Paper
  • 243 Downloads

Abstract

Human beings inevitably experience anxiety but attempt to avoid facing it through various forms of self-deception. This avoidance can lead to pathological symptoms. Young and middle-aged adults may be especially susceptible to suffering from anxiety because they are often single-mindedly pursuing means of achieving security. For these and others who fail to embrace life with warm enthusiasm, humor can serve to alleviate stress. This article views humor as a characteristic disposition of older adults—their humor signifying a sense of integrity and wisdom that often accompanies the aging process. Humor binds together feelings of despair and joy and contributes to a faithful reframing of faith and life. This article proposes that individuals acquire humor by perceiving the world as if on a journey to an exotic new place, seeing with new eyes even the most mundane of everyday objects and events. This capacity to perceive beauty in the ordinary world reflects a wisdom of older adults potentially available even to the young.

Keywords

Humor Donald Capps Reframing Life as journey 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Moonji Publishing Co. for kind permission to use HyungJong Jeong’s poem, One Little Potted Chrysanthemum.

Funding

This article was funded by the Research Fund of the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, Seoul, South Korea, 2017.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.

References

  1. Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1985). Habits of the heart: Individualism and commitment in American life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. Breuer, J., & Freud, S. (2003). Studien über hysterie. In Complete works of Sigmund Freud (trans: M. Kim) (pp. 5–87). Seoul: Open Books.Google Scholar
  3. Capps, D. (1992). The depleted self: Sin in a narcissistic age. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  4. Capps, D. (2002). Life cycle theory and pastoral care. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.Google Scholar
  5. Capps, D. (2005). A time to laugh: The religion of humor. New York, NY: Continuum.Google Scholar
  6. Capps, D. (2008). Laughter ever after: Ministry of good humor. Danver, MA: Chalice Press.Google Scholar
  7. Capps, D. (2013). At home in the world: A study in psychoanalysis, religion, and art. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.Google Scholar
  8. Capps, D. (2016). Humor us: An appeal for the gospel of relaxation. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.Google Scholar
  9. Derrida, J. (2004). De L’hospitalite. Seoul: Dongmoonsun.Google Scholar
  10. Erikson, E. (1964). Insight and responsibility. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  11. Erikson, E. (1994). Identity and the life cycle. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  12. Erikson, E. (1997). The life cycle completed. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  13. Freud, S. (1961). Civilization and its discontents. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  14. Freud, S. (2003a). Abriss der psychoanalyse. In Complete works of Sigmund Freud (trans: S. Park & S. Han) (pp. 413–508). Seoul: Open Books.Google Scholar
  15. Freud, S. (2003b). Die verdraengung, das unbewubte, das ich und das es. In Complete works of Sigmund Freud (trans: H. Yoon & C. Park) (pp. 347–414). Seoul: Open Books.Google Scholar
  16. Freud, S. (2003c). Hemmung, symptom und angst. In Complete works of Sigmund Freud (trans: B. Whang) (pp. 205–306). Seoul: Open Books.Google Scholar
  17. Freud, S. (2003d). Vorlesungen zur einfuehrung in die psychoanalyse. In Complete works of Sigmund Freud (trans: H. Yim & H. Hong) (pp. 509–601). Seoul: Open Books.Google Scholar
  18. Freud, S. (2003e). Zur psychopathologie des alltagslebens. In Complete works of Sigmund Freud (trans: H. Lee) (pp. 232–372). Seoul: Open Books.Google Scholar
  19. Hong, Y. (2012). The news. Seoul: Lyric Petri & Poetics.Google Scholar
  20. James, W. (1999). The varieties of religious experience. Seoul: Great Books.Google Scholar
  21. Jeong, H. (1999). Thirst and spring water. Seoul: Moonji Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  22. Kho, M. (2011). Dong Eui Bo Gam. Seoul: Greenbee Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kim, S. (2010). The patients of Sigmund Freud. Seoul: WJ Books.Google Scholar
  24. Lasch, C. (1991). The culture of narcissism: American life in an age of diminishing expectations (rev ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton and Co.Google Scholar
  25. Lee, C. (2009). The beauty of being. Seoul: Ehaksa Publishing.Google Scholar
  26. Lee, S. (2004). Constructing an aesthetic weltanschauung: Freud, James, and Ricoeur. Journal of Religion and Health, 43(4), 273–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lee, S. (2009). Aesthetic interdisciplinarity in Donald Capps’ weltanschauung. Pastoral Psychology, 48, 491–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lee, S. (2015a). Research on counselors’ virtues for facilitating communication. The Korean Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling, 25, 241–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lee, S. (2015b). The possibility of hope: Introspective and aesthetical analysis. Pastoral Psychology, 64(5), 711–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McCullough, D. (2004). The consolations of imperfection. Seoul: IVP Press.Google Scholar
  31. Park, H. (2013). Theory and practice of Socratic dialogue. Seoul: KISS.Google Scholar
  32. Rilke, R. (2006). Letters to a young poet. Seoul: Korea National University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Root-Bernstein, R. (2007). Spark of genius. Seoul: Eco’s Library Publisher.Google Scholar
  34. Wiseman, R. (2003). The luck factor: The scientific study of the lucky mind. New York: Miramax.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pastoral Counseling and Pastoral TheologyPresbyterian University and Theological SeminarySeoulSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations