All the people who watched Joker at least once confronted that golden question – why does Joker Laugh? Despite the fact that the move explains it with PBA(Pseudobulbar affect), a gelastic seizure could also be suitable for elaborating Joker’s behavior. The term gelastic is founded on the Greek word “gelos” which means laugher.
What is Gelastic Seizure?
Gelastic seizure, also known as gelastic epilepsy, is a sudden burst of energy released through uncontrolled and intensive laughing or crying. The syndrome can spend a long time under the cover of normality. This is due to the fact that both laughing and crying might seem normal if occurring intermittently. That is why it is so hard to diagnose lighter forms of the disorder. However, when it comes to Joker, we have a pure example of highly developed gelastic seizure. Multiple times on a daily basis, he laughs for no particular reason. Joker’s bursts of energy are not only strong but also enduring. Most of the time, gelastic seizure attacks are fast. Ten to twenty seconds is their lasting range which rarely exceeds one minute. However, when it comes to Joker we see that they can go on for multiple minutes. These attacks have no consideration for time and place either. Joker had them on stage during his performance, on-street, and inside public transport. He even carried a piece of paper on which his condition was described. This is due to a fact that laugh caused by gelastic seizures can seem sardonic and therefore provoke individuals who find themselves believing they are the target of mockery or some other malicious intention.
What Causes Gelastic Seizure?
Temporal and frontal lobe lesions, tumors, atrophy, tuberous sclerosis, hemangiomas, post-infectious foci, and hypothalamic hamartomas can all be causes for the appearance of seizure attacks. This fact is another suitable argument for diagnosing Joker with gelastic seizure. According to move, the sad clown destined to become the leader of the rebellion grew up in a very poor neighborhood. In such city areas, fights happen on a daily basis. Skinny and with the lack of self-confidence, with a dream of becoming successful in the profession of making people laugh, he was a perfect match for the victim of physical violence. It is very likely that during one of those oppressions, things got out of control and beating he was receiving led to the permanent damaging of the brain. However, since we speak of Joker who is featured by a very deep and disturbing personality, it is possible that the disorder was self-produced.
Delusions of Joker
Joker is highly delusional. He imagined a whole relationship with the pretty lady who was his neighbor only to later find out that she doesn’t even know his name. Joker’s delusions go in the direction of hyperbole. If we chose to believe in Wayne’s side of the story, being delusional could be his mother’s genetic heritage. The same is with his mental condition. Both gelastic seizure and PBA are featured by exaggerations regarding emotional expression. But between the two disorders, Joker could have chosen PBA due to its higher intensity. In a move, we can see that Joker is a simple man tending to achieve big things. His goal is to become a successful comedian. While there is a big amount of nobility in his wish to make people laugh, ambition cannot be denied. And that ambition could be the exact reason for his condition regarding both laughing and delusions.
Ambition, Depression, and Psychopathy – Joker’s Truth
For years, Joker is persistently trying to rise in the world of comedians. Despite numerous strings of failures, every day, he spends hours and hours in a hard effort to create new jokes. However calm your nature may be, failures will lead you to a certain degree of frustration. If the amount of tension is too high and lasts for too long the permanent consequences will be curved in the psychology of the burdened individual. That is exactly what might have happened to Joker. Despite his life and personality being intriguing, dangerously funny and fascinating, in the movie, Joker is just a lousy comedian. But his wish to succeed is so strong that, over time, it transforms into an obsession. And no obsession is healthy. Since its presence prevented him from giving up, new attempts to achieve the goal prolonged and raised the intensity of tension. That led to depression. Psychopathy was already present and even hyphened with the obsession. The social system, which is featured with high numbers of cruel acts and a lack of respect towards human lives would serve as a perfect cover for the plot started in his subconscious.
Joker’s Way of Righteousness
Being average for a long time despite numerous attempts to rise created the need for sharing the burden of failure. Blaming the third party is the most often way of releasing the tension. In Joker’s case, the social system was proclaimed for a culprit and prominent personalities as its symbols were eligible targets for punishment as all that destructive energy needed to be unleashed and justified. It is very interesting that the quarrel Joker has with society started with the employees of Wayne company long before the possibility of Bruce being his father entered his life. As a man who strongly wishes to rise, he has a need to associate with what is considered for top success, and there is no better tool for that, than Wayne enterprises and its highly ranked workers. We saw Joker was delusional. The key point of such a condition is that while some delusions are broken, many remain perceived as the truth until death. Therefore, the whole fight in the train preceding murder which the clown committed by shooting and killing Wayne’s employees after being beaten could be his imagination. They might have not attacked him at all. It is highly possible that, after his laughing started, the group attempted to move to the other part of the train. This act insulted and hurt Joker who wanted to be both acknowledged and respected which is why he decided to kill them. But he needed an excuse. Joker had to remain a good guy in his own eyes. Delusions came to help and created the scene in which the beating started. This way, since his condition triggered the violence, he was a sick and helpless victim who, at some point, decided to stand up for himself.
Wayne Blood Intrusion
In later parts of the movie, Joker finds out he is adopted and the whole drama with Wayne’s family goes on the loose. If we chose to follow the theory in which ambition led to obsession, depression, and delusional psychopathy, a whole part about tracking Thomas Wayne as his genuine father is his attempt to escape mediocrity through connecting with the most successful person in Gotham city. And is there any stronger connection than the one relating to blood.
Joker Kills Mother
This is the part where we can witness the revealing of psychopathy curved deep inside his personality. The reason is not important. It is the woman who gave birth to him and raised him. There is no excuse that could justify the murder of a mother. Exactly this scene where the poor old lady is choked with the pillow shows that Joker suffers from a lack of emotions. This can be a consequence of long-lasting depression that led to turning and focusing all of the empathy he had on himself while others were completely excluded. But it is more likely that he was born this way. On his face, while pushing the pillow over the mother’s head, there are barely any movements. No rage, no sorrow, just a cold, cloudy expression he always carries.
Joker Kills Murray
Murray is a top comedian. The king of laughter, we could say. Crown, the culmination and the ending of Joker’s origins is the scene in which he kills Murray after admitting he murdered Wayne’s employees and giving a brief lecture about social inequity. It is the manifestation of his obsessive ambition to become the alpha male of the comedian world. Since he couldn’t achieve it with his jokes, he moved the conflict to the physical dimension and used a gun to achieve victory. Again, the truth regarding the social system feature of not respecting and enslaving the lives of average humans was a mask for the real nature of his acts – Joker couldn’t achieve his goals and cope with being defeated. That mask allows him to become an icon of the rebellion.
Back To Smiles – Why Did Joker Laugh?
Joker laughed in order to make the distance from reality he wasn’t able to accept. With time, this attempt of making a distance evolved into permanent mental disorder. Both gelastic seizure and PBA are known for lack of connection between emotions that are displayed and felt as well as the fact that relation may be based on the completely opposite manifestations. Since Joker was, due to his obsession, highly depressed, which made him sad most of the time, laughing was what occurred. It might be, that on the subconscious level, all of the time, he actually laughed at himself. Before killing his mother he stated that after a long time spent in believing his life is a tragedy he came to a discovery that it is actually a comedy. However, the gelastic seizure could also be part of his delusion.
Joker Laughed Because He Wanted the Attention
We could also assume that Joker had no laughing mental disorder. He was a spirit who wanted to be noticed. Joker may have laughed because he wanted to draw attention. But he needed an excuse for that which is why he acquired the diagnose. PBA seemed suitable for his story and it wasn’t so hard to convince psychiatrists to note him the appropriate mental disorder.
If this topic is interesting to you read more about laughing and brain mysteries.