It's Funny Because It's True: Buddhist Realism and the Dark Comedy of Louis CK


Gautama Buddha is believed to have promulgated four basic truths about the nature of the human condition. In the first of these (the noble truth of “suffering”) he claims that stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction are endemic to life. This supposition is not exclusive to Buddhism. Any good stand-up comedian knows this already because making jokes about it usually gets big laughs, or as they say—“kills.” Like the Buddha, the comic can be a powerful medium for communicating the more disquieting and shunned truths in life.

In this session we will examine the dark comedy of contemporary artists like Louis C.K. in terms of the Buddhist four noble truths: 1) the truth of suffering, 2) the truth of the cause of suffering, 3) the truth of the cessation of suffering, and 4) the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. 




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A Good Friend is Hard to Find: Philosophy and Friendship

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Living Room Salon | Music and Environmentalism

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The Circular Road: Art and the Religious Imagination

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What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

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Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

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May 17

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

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May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

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