I like Donald's analogy to fire and that to a cave with many shafts. To my thinking the main shaft refers to what is happening psychologically and physiologically at the moment humor is experienced.
Humor is a specific kind of enjoyable transformation from stressed or unbalanced to relaxed, defused, or balanced. That is the main shaft of Donald's second metaphor. All the other things that we are discussing are aspects of the "trigger" that causes the personal occurance that I will call a humor transformation.
That said, the richness of humor is to be found in the variety and all other characteristics of ways that make the transformation occur.
Does anyone agree?
----- Original Message ----
From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 6:45:29 PM
Subject: Re; Humor and not humor
As someone who is working to understand and model the dynamics
of humor, I appreciate that the matter is complex in one sense,
but simple in another. How many things can start a fire and
yet fire, itself, is one thing? How many shades of fire are
there and yet fire has one essence?
Obviously, a simple firing pattern in the brain is not humor,
but it can tell us a lot about humor. Obviously a single joke
is not humor, but it can tell us a lot about humor.
Humor does involve balance on a number of levels,
physiologically, emotionally, logically, etc. Humor may be a
synergistic process that involves a lot of different responses,
simultaneously. So far, we have found entrances to the various
levels, but we haven't gotten to the main shaft.
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