The 20th Emergency Clown Nose® pick of the season goes to the George Carlin. In this series I’m exploring the noble as well as ignoble clown. Each day through Christmas look for posts to my blog, www.LloydBrant.com, of a different public figure that either delighted in playing the clown, or that the public has unfortunately chosen to paint as a clown.
Even though I don’t agree with all of what George Carlin believed, it never stopped me from laughing wholeheartedly at his comedy. Carlin was an atheist, and I believe in God, but I’ve always found his comic sketches about religion hysterically funny, and painfully true. Pointing out hypocrisy has been the role of clowns and fools throughout time.
In an NPR interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air in 2004, George Carlin said one of the most spiritually profound statements I ever heard, without a hint of religious dogma.
“If it’s true that we are all from the center of a star, every atom in each of us from the center of a star, then we’re all the same thing. Even a Coke machine or a cigarette butt in the street in Buffalo, is made out of atoms that came from a star. They’ve all recycled thousands of times, as have you and I. So, if that is true, then I am EVERYWHERE in the universe, in an extended sense. And therefore, it’s only ME out there. So what is there to be afraid of? […] The trouble is, we have been separated from within that universe by being born and given a name, and an identity, and being individuated. We have been separated from the oneness and that’s what religion exploits, that people have this yearning to be part of the overall one again. So they exploit that. They call it ‘God’; they say he has rules and I think that’s cruel. I think you can do it absent religion.”
Paradoxically, the Latin root word for religion is “ligare,” which means to link back to the whole. Just don’t let your karma run over your neighbor’s dogma.