For the record, Willi is correct about the etymology of humour.
Acc. to the "Oxford English Dictionary", the now-obsolete term "humour"
meaning bodily fluid/s, captured the idea of a prevailing mood or behaviour
in any human being's make-up and thus gave us the notion of "temperament".
There was no concept in "humo(u)rology" (the old term for the theory of the
humours) of "good balance", rather it was concerned with "stability" of a
mix which had one predominating "humour". This is what leads to the concept
of ingrained temperament.
When the stable proportions of the humours fluctuate in a particular person,
you get whimsical/fanciful/unexpected behaviour or moods -- thus derived
"humorous" in the sense of capricious/whimsical/fantastical. From late 17th
century, the modern meaning of "humour" as connected with funny/amusing
seems to derive this way. It's best captured in Lord Shaftesbury's famous
1709 "Essay on Wit and Humour", which distinguishes between the two types of
amusing behaviour, one being a kind of world-view and the other being bon
mots, or constructed language plays. Even as late as 1822, Charles Lamb was
still using "humour" = fanciful/whimsical/fantastic.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Willibald Ruch" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 7:06 PM
Subject: Re: [HUMOUR-RESEARCH] Re; Humor and not humor
> >I think I agree with that. I can think of humor that is neutral, and
> >humor that reveals an unpleasant truth about me (which makes me feel some
> >combination of discomfort and pleasure). However, I cannot think of
> >anything which is currently displeasing to me and still funny to me.
>>Sure, we laugh and death and other subjects that are unpleasant by nature.
>>But I do not laugh at those things while they are currently "getting to
>>me." I guess I am expressing weak Superiority Theory. I think it is safe
>>to say that humor requires us to "enjoy" something, to some degree.
>>Also, humor is a word that had no such meaning before about 1400 AD, so it
>>clearly does not refer to laughter or fun or such things that had their
>>own words for a very long time. Humor, as we know, is a word that evolved
>>from the good feeling of having a "good" balance of various fluids.
> I dont think that this is where it comes from.. "Temperament" is the term
> that evolved from this. (temperare = mix, blend)
> Or if you are sure to know that this statement is correct: Can you give
> me a reference to it?
>> I guess, by definition, it involves some degree of pleasure.
>>Quoting KENNETH CARPENTER <[log in to unmask]>:
>>>Do you agree that if the experience is not pleasant then it is not humor?
>>>----- Original Message ----
>>>From: "Jim Lyttle, Ph..D." <[log in to unmask]>
>>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>>Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2008 2:04:04 PM
>>>Subject: Re: Re; Humor and not humor
>>>Tickling does not count as humor.
>>>A "humourous situation per se" is precisely what we aim to define.
>>>Although the quest is difficult, we all have a sense of what you meant
>>>when you referred to a "humorous situation per se" and that is precisely
>>>what we are here to define: not fun, not laughter, not thrills, not joy,
>>>not dendrite firings ...
>>JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
>>139 E HIGH ST APT 9
>>POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
>>BB: (610) 850-5050