Can anyone define a metaphysical humorist? Humour and humourist are two common words in literature. Even the word metaphysical is a known word. But how can one interpret a term that includes two words ‘metaphysical’ and ‘humorist’?
In simple language, humor means the manifestation of laughter. And a humorist is a person who is an expert in using humor with his intellect. From the literary perspective, a humorist usually uses his sense of humor in writing comedies, novels, and others. In short, humor unlocks a fresh new way of looking at things.
On the other hand, ‘metaphysical’ is purely a literary term with a philosophical impression that defines and questions certain things regarding their physical existence. The understanding of the physical existence shows how the said existence sometimes goes beyond description. It often illuminates an idea about the basic nature of existence, either in physical or conceptual form. At the same time, the said illumination, no doubt, creates a scope of argument to define the emotional and intellectual state through which a human passes.
Several authors, primarily poets, prefer to consciously insert the metaphysical impression to compel readers to think about things they never anticipated in the past. It is undeniable that this is a reasonably calculated approach to make writings more appealing for the readers.
Now, the million-dollar question is whether the term ‘metaphysical humorist’ really exists in literature or it is just the pronunciation of two words together. The biggest reason behind this argument is can a humorist be identified with the philosophical concept ‘metaphysical’?
The term ‘metaphysical’ actually consists of two specific words, “meta” and “physical.” And, when these two separate words unite together, one specific meaning emerges that describes things existing beyond the commonly known physical world. So far, the metaphysical texts are mainly visible in poetry. Famous poet George Herbert is one of the most prominent personalities whose poetry is recognized highly for containing metaphysical texts.
George Herbert’s famous poem “The Pulley” is an example of a metaphysical poem. In addition, due to his solid religious concept, the poem is also categorized as a religious poem. The poet has mentioned the mechanical tool pulley in the poem to unveil the reasons behind the painful situation of humankind. In other words, “pulley” here stands as a metaphysical tool that uncovers the poet’s thoughts about God. It shows how God has bestowed so many blessings like wisdom, pleasure, honor, and many others on humans, and how humans are now losing them bit by bit when they are at rest. And depriving of rest is the only way for humankind to get back those blessings again. This concept is, no doubt, absolutely personal and exceptional too. Because no one can ever think or believe that taking a rest can be a cause of losing God’s blessings. It is the poet’s thought that compels the readers for the first time to think this way.
The fact is George Herbert is truly a metaphysical poet. But is he a humorist? Is there any sign of humor in his words in “The Pulley”? To be a humorist, one needs to possess a sense of humor. And, this sense can help the person to deliver amusement by provoking laughter among other people. He can do it through his writing or by speaking. But, Herbert’s poem can’t provide any element of laughter. It can be considered a valuable and significant piece of religious belief, although the ‘hard to understand philosophy’ doesn’t offer any amusement.
In most metaphysical texts, authors have tried to raise serious questions regarding God’s existence. They have been attempting to portray human lives depending on the perspective of the said existence. They have less time to laugh. Perceiving life with a fresh new way is not their way to tread. However, some opposite views are also available. Some readers think that several metaphysical poetries have discussed significant issues with a light brushing of humor. The reason behind this action is to make the subject matter reader-friendly.
These people also believe that metaphysical texts contain irony like the way a humor-content does. Also, both of them unfold intellectual approaches, although humor provides a more realistic viewpoint. That means a thin line of similarity between the “metaphysical” and the “humor” exists. But the query persists – who should be called a metaphysical humorist? Moreover, is it possible for a humorist to become real metaphysical? And, can an author of the metaphysical texts be a true humorist? The honest answer is “not clear.” More and more discussion is necessary to solve this issue.