I'm not sure whether the physiological thing to which you are
referring is laughter or brain firings.
Laughter, of course, existed long before anything that we call humor
and is often non-humorous: as when it is from nervousness,
roar-of-triumph, nitrous oxide, et cetera.
Brain firings describe how humor operates in the brain. That is
interesting and is certain to enrich our understanding of what is
going on. I do not share the reductionist view that those firings
"cause" humor. I really think that we exist, and we do notice
incongruous things (because recognizing patterns has survival value)
and, if that incongruity is not too threatening, that we can find it
funny. I do not think we are puppets, making up explanations for
things that happened "because of" brain firings.
Not everyone agrees with that.
I do think that being "enjoyable" seems to be a necessary condition
for humor (and not for tickling ...)
Quoting KENNETH CARPENTER <[log in to unmask]>:
> Humor is (or one of the things that humor is) an enjoyable response,
> psychological but accompanying or resulting from physiological
> changes. The middle age people got one thing righ; it restores a
> balance. and one thing wrong, the exact things that were out of
> whack. I can't cite that. My opinion is not from research.
> What do you think.
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Jim Lyttle <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 4:27:15 AM
> Subject: Re: Re; Humor and not humor
> I really don't understand the tone of these discussions.
> As far as I can tell, the essence of everything is complex. What is
> the essence of communication? trust? leadership? It is hard to think
> of any phenomenon rich enough to care about that is not essentially
> complex. It is beyond me why anyone would think that this was
> insightful on the one hand, or a subject of ridicule on the other.
> It is also beyond me why folks think humor is too subjective to be
> defined. Humor is certainly not (just) in the eye of the beholder, any
> more than art or high quality food or communication or anything else
> human. If humor was just in the eye of the beholder, then about half
> of the people would find Bill Cosby funnier than Jim Lyttle, and half
> of the people would find the opposite. The fact is that most people
> agree about who is more funny, what food tastes best, and so forth.
> It is entirely uninteresting to note that there are some borderline
> cases. Does the existence of a turban send us into a tailspin,
> doubting the validity of our definitions of scarves and hats? Absurd.
> Everything has borderline cases and grey areas. That is no reason to
> hide under the bed and say "It can't be done."
> In general, it seems inappropriate to assert that humor is "just"
> anything. I thought we just agreed that it was complex??
> And what is the meaning of being on one "side" or the other, when
> seeking the truth? The whole point of the kindergarten tale of the
> blind men and the elephant is to remind us how foolish it is to take
> up sides, to hold debates, and to care who wins. That is how we do
> politics, not science.
> It seems to me that we have, as a starting point, vague agreement that
> humor consists of (at least) some cognitive event, somewhat like
> Raskin has described, and some emotion akin to mirth, joy or
> what-have-you. When these two things meet, we have humor ... maybe ...
> sort-of ... pending exceptions to be studied.
> Admittedly this is a pretty vague and pathetic start. But can we agree
> roughly on this, or something like this, and move forward instead of
> JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
> 139 E HIGH ST APT 9
> POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
> BB: (610) 850-5050
JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
139 E HIGH ST APT 9
POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
BB: (610) 850-5050