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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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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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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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