Irony was invented by the universe. It turns out that originally it was just another mutation – something intended to be one way turned out differently. Apparently, the universe had, and probably still has, a sense of humour.
Things plodded along for about 9 billion years until life forms started to appear on what is now called ‘The Earth’. Before that, stuff was flying around banging into other stuff, sometimes getting stuck to it, sometimes blowing it up. And then something called H2O was discovered and living forms appeared. That’s when irony came along.
You see, life forms evolve because their main goal is to survive and to reproduce. The problem with reproduction is that, in most cases, it requires a male and a female form. So now the reproduction has to come from two sources - it’s not cloning, and it’s far from perfect. Roughly fifty percent comes from each parent. But, and it’s a big but, sometimes the cells get confused and don’t always go where they were intended to go. Sometimes hidden stuff pops up. This is called mutation, and it is mutation that drives evolution forward. Simply put if a mutant is better that its parents at surviving and reproducing, it will produce a new form in its offspring. By the way, if it isn’t better, it will simply disappear over time. That could happen to the parents as well.
Now irony was happily doing its thing unobserved for another 448-449 million years until the creatures we call humans appeared on the scene. These brainiacs eventually started to think they understood what was going on – “The gods are doing it!” Before you could say Jesus, Buddha, Allah, and Mother Earth, a plethora of gods were created to explain everything including the best place to find smokable weeds.
From that time on, the whole ‘explaining the universe’ thing just got out of hand. People started to believe that things should go a certain way. They thought bad things happened to bad people and good to good, but that argument broke down as well. People started to notice that sometimes the opposite was true, so they decided this was a legitimate argument for the existence of an all knowing, loving god. One little mistake and you could end up in his or her bad books. It was very confusing.
Then during the time of the Greek civilization, the word ‘eironeia’ was created. It meant feigned ignorance and the feigner, or really the liar, was called an ‘eiron’. Thus, our lovely and meaningful ‘irony’ was born. It had always been there, but now it had a name.
Why did I put you through all this dear reader? Well, I thought you deserved to know the truth. But the real reason is because I believe that irony is the most important invention ever and the best part is that it wasn’t invented, it just happened. It is the nature of the universe to seem to be ironic. I say seem because, it is human culture that thinks things should be a certain way, and of course culture is the product of human minds, and it’s a faulty view. Life simply is, depending on decisions we make within the circumstances in which we find ourselves. There is not necessarily a right way.
I am an ironic person; my mind seems to be wrongly connected. When I look at something, I often see the opposite; when I hear words, the opposite meanings pop into my head. This ability/curse has been with me for as long as I can remember. As a result, some people may call me a ‘wry or droll wit’, while others have no idea what I am saying and think I am an idiot. I prefer ‘mysterious idiot’.
I do have a message here. I have learned that expecting only good is useless because bad things can be our best teachers. Have you ever learned anything from being happy? Yes. It’s called laziness. Challenges make us better. Hard times make us tougher. Coming back from an apparent disaster is like being reborn. Without irony, our lives would be a drag. Happiness is over-rated and it’s just as boring as sadness over the long haul.
Finally, if you understand irony, you will be able to laugh – a lot - because life is f-----g ironic!
I am the author of The Summer of the Ennead and I want to use this blog to engage readers in a dialogue about what this book means to me and what I think it has to say to others.