If like me you are slightly obsessed with 1970’s Jamaican reggae, then you will surely recognise this classic ‘Everything Crash’, by The Ethiopians. It’s a chirpy little song considering the gravity of the subject matter of economic collapse, poverty and civil unrest. In fact I think that’s what I like the most about reggae music. It turns some of the most horrific aspects of the human condition, such as slavery, oppression and starvation, in to something light-hearted, positive and inspirational. This is probably something we could all aspire to in these strange times.
However it’s not just reggae music that came from times of great difficulty. A lot of the best music ever created came from experiences of extreme hardship. You only need to look at the Blues, Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Disco, even Psychedelic Trance to realise that it is inherent to human nature to try and make the best out of a bad situation and music is a great way of doing that.
Humour is another way and one that we British are particularly good at. Especially gallows humour, who could forget the Monty Python gang singing ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ whilst nailed to a cross! We are also masters of ‘taking the piss’, particularly out of those in power and it seems like a great time for the resurrection of the merciless Spitting Image to help bring them down a peg or two.
Sociologically speaking it has always been important to be able to laugh at those in charge and this has been going on since the days of the court jester, however it is also an important thing to do when we look at it from an energetic perspective. Laughter can be seen as the vibration of understanding, as sure enough you can’t laugh at a joke if you don’t understand it. What’s more if you were to understand everything, the Great Cosmic Joke, then you’d probably become completely hysterical. Look at the people on the planet who have attained some kind of enlightenment or awakening such as the Dalai Lama. Their overriding emotion is never seemingly one of fear or anger. Instead they are characterised with humility and good humour, a constant smile and a gentle chuckle.
There is a reason for this, one that we all may intuit on some level, in that laughter can break the energetic connection to something negative that happens. The great Daoist sage Chuang Tzu literally laughed at everyone and everything and his stories are filled with ridicule and irreverence. This is because he understood the energetic quality or the Qi of humour. Laughter energetically expands outwards and dissipates our connection to dense emotions and thoughts, allowing us to be lighter and freer.
Events that occur are always going to affect us, one way or another and surely it’s better to laugh at them than to cry. After all when we sit back and take a bit of perspective we realise we are only just a bunch of jumped up apes, on a massive rock hurtling through space, arguing about which really old, senile and decrepit ape is going to lead us all to our impending doom! Hahahaaaa, see? I bet you feel better about the second lockdown already!
So if like the great Bob Marley, we can create some ‘positive vibrations’ and spread around a bit levity and humility by not taking ourselves too seriously, we might just make it out the other side of all this madness. And if not at least someone might make some decent music again.