When I heard you say laughter is a small release from our misery, my mind would not compute. It felt as though hysteria was filling the room as we all laughed, and I am still asking myself, “What happened?”
You can see what happened! It can look like hysteria. When you understand something – for example, laughter as a relief from misery – a great energy is released. Every understanding releases accumulated energies in you.
For example, you are not laughing the whole day – only once in a while. You are not being loving the whole day – once in a while. What happens to the energy in the big gaps? It accumulates, and if you come to an understanding of a certain phenomenon there is a great release, and the release is so strong that it will feel hysterical. But it is not hysterical; it is really getting relief from energy which could have become hysterical any moment.
You can find people in madhouses laughing for hours, laughing so much that tears come to their eyes. They are mad because they could not manage to release their energies in a healthy, in a proportionate way.
Those energies accumulated in you are a potential danger – and your whole society is for repression. Everything has to be according to the manners and the etiquette; you can never have a good hearty laugh. The society does not allow you that much.
It seems there is a fear running in the society from generation to generation that allowing all man’s energies to be expressed is dangerous, because there is anger, there is violence, there is jealousy, there is a suicidal instinct, and so many things. If all these are allowed, everybody will be going mad – he will not be able to control them. So our whole society is based on controlling and repressing. But it has not created a beautiful man. It may have avoided madness, but it is a negative phenomenon – it has not created sanity.
My approach is simple: energies should not be repressed but expressed, and you should find ways of expressing them so that those very ways become creative.
In India I used to visit jails to talk to the prisoners, and the strangest thing that I came to understand was that these prisoners were more innocent than the ordinary people outside. At first it was very puzzling because these were criminals: somebody was a murderer, somebody was a rapist. They had done every kind of thing against the law, against society, against order, but they looked very innocent and had a certain calmness. You could not see on their faces violence, murder, rape – no signs. Outside you can stand on the road and you can see on people’s faces all kinds of crimes that they are repressing.