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The Philosophy of Humor

Philosophy humor psychology

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#41 Feathers

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 01:03 PM

Are there really this few people who have an opinion about this? If so, I wonder why the word philosophy is actually mentioned in the sub forums title. =B

 

Too bad interest in philosophy has waned...

 

We try to present it somewhat here.


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Posted 24 November 2018 - 11:09 PM

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#43 status - Guest

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 03:52 PM

No one has ever formed a word out of a vacuum, even the first words were probably derivations of grunts and gestures.  That’s why the study of the etymology is pretty  fascinating: we can trace words’ lineage, mutations, interpretations, misinterpretations and most importantly, constant undercurrents of meaning continuing throughout bygone eras.  Consequently, I’d like to start a bit on my blog about etymology – nothing too studious or didactic -but more just an examination of the genesis of  particular words, and how that genesis is tied to their current meaning.
 
Today I’d like to discuss a word that embodies a love of my life other than communication: humour.
 
In Hellenic Europe, and later, Medieval Europe, humours were the four bodily fluids that had to exist within the body in equal balance in order to ensure good health, any disease was a result of an imbalance of these fluids.  They were known  as  blood, yellow bile, phlegm, and black bile.  Our ancestors pictured our innards beautifully, didn’t they?
 
In efforts to form all encompassing theories, as academics still do today, these 4 liquids were attached to other tetrads, such as the four seasons, the four elements, and even the four gospels.
 
However, through the famous Greek physician Hippocrates, humours were also used to describe  temperaments of individuals.  He, and other Greek academics, believed that an over or under abundance of these humours caused certain personalities: Melancholic, Choleric, Sanguine and Phlegmatic.  Too much blood and you were Sanguine:courageous and amorous, too much yellow bile and you were Choleric: bad tempered and angry, and so forth.  We still use choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine to describe personality traits, although not very much outside the more verbose texts.
 
This belief in humours extended through medieval Europe and medieval Islam, yet during the renaissance the word began to take on new meaning.  Humour began to be associated with whim and caprice, and from there, indulgence, and finally, funniness.
 
Of all the personality traits, one wonders how humour got attached to “finding something comical”.
 
I’d suggest that it was related to people who were considered insane, they were viewed as having a case of the “bad humours”.  These people may have understood, or been overwhelmed by, the absurdity, hypocrisy or simple meaninglessness in the world in which they lived.  In doing so, they were branded as creatures whose mental affliction (humour) found comedy in scenarios widely regarded as serious.  A penchant for understanding situations for their utter absurdity may have contributed to the current meaning of humour.
 
It is interesting to examine humour as a sort of meta-perspective, one that stands above all other perspectives and views the how each individual frames the world, because, in essence, this is what humor is.  It is the understanding of expectation and playing to, if not always the opposite, the unexpected, and to do this, an understanding of frames of reference is required.
 
As one of my favourite subjects, I’ll certainly tackle humour again, but I think the etymology of the word is an excellent place to start.
 
 

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#44 status - Guest

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 12:39 PM

Historically, psychologists framed humor negatively, suggesting it demonstrated superiority, vulgarity, Freudian id conflict or a defense mechanism to hide one’s true feelings. In this view, an individual used humor to demean or disparage others, or to inflate one’s own self-worth. As such, it was treated as an undesirable behavior to be avoided. And psychologists tended to ignore it as worthy of study.
 
But research on humor has come into the sunlight of late, with humor now viewed as a character strength. Positive psychology, a field that examines what people do well, notes that humor can be used to make others feel good, to gain intimacy or to help buffer stress. Along with gratitude, hope and spirituality, a sense of humor belongs to the set of strengths positive psychologists call transcendence; together they help us forge connections to the world and provide meaning to life. Appreciation of humor correlates with other strengths, too, such as wisdom and love of learning. And humor activities or exercises result in increased feelings of emotional well-being and optimism.
 
For all these reasons, humor is now welcomed into mainstream experimental psychology as a desirable behavior or skill researchers want to understand. How do we comprehend, appreciate and produce humor?
 
What it takes to get a joke
 
 

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#45 status - Guest

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 01:11 PM

 

The origins of the rubber chicken, it turns out, are mysterious.
 
Getting to the bottom of why (or if) it is actually funny is another matter all together.
 
Lawrence E. Mintz, professor emeritus of the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland and an editorial board member of Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, surmises that the rubber chicken may have its origins in medieval times. Chicken corpses were readily available; therefore jesters could employ them as props. Hilarity ensues!
 
But Mintz says the birds came into common usage on the burlesque stage where “baggy pants” comedians would whack each other with them. Burlesque was a “pretty primitive and gross form of entertainment, not just the comedy part of it but the striptease and all of that,” says Mintz.
 
Maybe the rubber chicken is supposed to be a bit dirty? Maybe even phallic?
 
“I suppose it’s a possibility,” says Mintz, sounding dubious. “Especially considering the body cavities in the chicken. But I never really thought about it that way.”
 
 
S3zvJd8.gif

 

 

:Laughing-rolf:  :Laughing-rolf:  :Laughing-rolf:  :Laughing-rolf:  :Laughing-rolf:

 


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#46 Feathers

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 03:31 PM

:chuckle:  :chuckle:  :chuckle:


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#47 status - Guest

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 11:14 AM

There are three competing theories of jokes. The “superiority theory,” which can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle, holds that we find something risible when we feel superior to it. The classic statement of this theory was supplied in the seventeeth century by Hobbes, who declared that laughter expressed “a sudden glory arising from some conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others.” On this theory all humor is at root mockery and derision, all laughter a slightly spiritualized snarl.

A second traditional theory of humor, the “incongruity theory,” was hinted at by Aristotle (in the Rhetoric he observed that a good way to get a laugh was to set up your audience to expect one thing and then to hit them with a surprising punchline) and worked out in detail by Kant in his Critique of Judgment (1790), and by Schopenhauer in The World as Will and Representation (1819). The gist of the incongruity theory is that we laugh when two things normally kept in separate compartments in our mind are unexpectedly yanked together. On this rather intellectualist account, a joke forces us to perceive incongruities: between the decorous and the low, the ideal and the actual, the logical and the absurd.

Finally there is the “relief theory” of humor, which was pioneered by Herbert Spencer and given its most elaborate statement by Freud. Laughter, Freud submitted in Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, is essentially a release of excess energy. Where does this energy come from? From the temporary lifting of an inhibition. Keeping down forbidden impulses, Freud held, requires an expenditure of psychic effort. When the cunning devices of a joke force such a thought or feeling to be entertained (by presenting it in an outwardly innocent guise), the energy used to maintain the inhibition against it suddenly becomes superfluous. It is therefore available to be discharged through the facial and respiratory muscles in the form of laughter.

http://www.cabinetma...ues/17/holt.php

 

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Modern evolutionary theory might offer some support to the Relief Theory. If humor functions as a relief valve for excess energy or negative emotions, it might provide a significant survival advantage. Human beings are usually safer and more prosperous in stable communities than when isolated. Yet human beings also have a tendency to anger and aggression. The Relief Theory argues that humor lessens tension levels; if so, individuals with an appreciation for humor have an advantage over those who don’t, in that it will be easier for them to maintain community membership (Herbert Lefcourt, Humor: The Psychology of Living Buoyantly). As systems of mutual cooperation and coordination of activities, communities confer a survival advantage on their members. So a good sense of humor is survival-enhancing. The theory of natural selection would then predict that such a trait is likely to be pervasive a mong human beings.

Humor also can enhance community cohesion by functioning as an invitation to social interaction (Lefcourt). It can enhance community by acting as a binding agent: playful engagement in humorous activities is pleasant; so individuals who engage in these mutually pleasant activities will associate social interaction with pleasure, and hence be encouraged to spend more time together with others in their group. As Herbert Lefcourt points out, Charles Darwin (The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals), in fact, viewed humor primarily as a form of social communication. If we conclude that a tendency to enjoy humor and comedy is a binding force for a society, then group-selection theory also provides an evolutionary explanation for the persistence of humor in human society. Group-selection theory (a variation on natural selection theory) is the theory that natural selection functions at the level of communities. A more unified community is more likely to coordinate activities and prosper, so that community is more likely to survive and grow. If humor functions as a relief-valve for negative emotions and makes communities more 12 stable, group-selection theory would predict the persistence of humor as a social and cultural aspect of human communities. In conjunction with group-selection theory, the Relief Theory
would imply that, over time, we should expect an increase in both the distribution and population of communities with a good collective sense of humor. ..

http://faculty.swosu... of Humor_1.pdf

For now, I'll just state my own basic definition humor by dividing it into two categories: Comedy and Satire! I'll keep it simple for now and state that I believe comedy to be more benign in its approach. Whereas satire is negative in its approach. Both can illuminate points of keen thinking to an audience, but, in my opinion satire reflects a desire to break down the negative with a sort of violent overthrow of the absurd. Satire is much more destructive in its nature...

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I'll have to think on this some more...and, of course, I'll be adding more links to information on this thread topic.

Your thoughts, opinions, and bias' are welcome. Please don't hesitate to point out the ludicrous for us all to share....\\

 

:dancing-hatching-chicken-smiley

 

Demolish with satire and reconstruct with comedy. Comedy seeks constructive

criticism and is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the

construct.


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#48 Feathers

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 11:24 AM

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Really?  :chuckle:

 

Seems he can't use swift language. :chuckle: :chuckle: :chuckle:

 

What would a dialog between Johnathon Swift & Charles Darwin sound like?

The Battle of the Books

Ancients vs. Moderns

https://en.wikipedia...le_of_the_Books


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Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:03 AM

Demolish with satire and reconstruct with comedy.

 

Comedy seeks constructive criticism and is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the construct.

 

evolution-of-humour.gif


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#50 status - Guest

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 02:01 AM

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