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Laughing Man - Society
Laughing Man - Society

Video: Laughing Man - Society

Video: Laughing Man - Society
Video: How about another joke, Murray? | Joker [UltraHD, HDR] 2023, April

Humor has long been considered the difference between humans and animals. It is social in origin and universal in its functions and manifestations throughout the entire existence of mankind. Ancient playwrights created comedies, over which the audience has been laughing for more than two thousand years, sculptural images of Egyptian pharaohs, ancient Greek kouros and kor, Indian and Asian statues of Buddha, without saying a word, smile to modern people through the thickness of time, and more than one generation of art critics

Humor research

Psychological theories of humor also trace their history back to Antiquity. The earliest is associated with the names of Plato and Aristotle, who considered humor as one of the forms of aggression. Later philosophers of the Enlightenment also agreed with them. And remembering in the context of the bullying topic, which is fashionable today, how cruel the "jokes" of high school students can be, it is difficult not to agree with the relevance of these ideas for modern realities.

In modern psychology, humor is studied in cognitive, age, social, clinical psychology and personality psychology, as well as in related branches of psychophysiology and medicine. And understanding its psychological nature is becoming more and more complicated.

Humor in primates

Modern research has shown that laughter in ape and humans accompanies similar play situations and, apparently, has a common evolutionary origin. To a certain extent, humor is also available to higher primates. Thus, the famous chimpanzees (bonobos) Kanzi and the gorilla Koko, with whom scientists have worked for many years, were able to joke at the level of a two-three-year-old child. However, things have not gone beyond this level yet.

Humor in babies

The ability to laugh is innate. Already in the second - third month from birth, the baby has a "social smile" as one of the first ways to communicate with people who care about him, by the third - fourth month he begins to laugh in response to the "flirting" of adults, and by the year a full sense of humor appears … Further, as they grow older, a sense of humor is increasingly associated with a high level of intelligence and human creativity.

Sardonic laugh

In prehistoric times, laughter was considered the carrier of life. For example, in the view of ancient people, one could get pregnant from laughter. According to mythologists, this motive has survived to this day, for example, in the prohibition of long-term "unreasonable" fun in the women's company, "so that you don't have to cry later." Laughter was also associated with the hope of rebirth after death.

Ethnographers described rituals among the northern peoples, according to which they were supposed to laugh in the face of death, telling her obscene stories, and all participants in the ritual murder of old people on the island of Sardinia, including the killed themselves, had to laugh loudly throughout the ceremony (from where, in fact, the name originated " sardonic"). Laughter tried to protect themselves from death in the situation of childbirth, for which purpose they made women in labor especially amused during labor.

Even today, on the Web, you can find videos with strange for the European eye funeral rituals among African peoples, when those present with might and main have fun, dance and joke, seeing off the deceased.

Gallows humor

Later, during the Enlightenment, the ability to joke in the face of death was reinterpreted as a manifestation of courage. Here a series of brilliant examples were left behind by supporters and enemies of the Great French Revolution, who, it seems, took part in a terrible correspondence competition - who will say a more caustic phrase before losing their heads.

It is not without reason that the memoirs of the French executioner Charles Henri Sanson are full of numerous examples of the dying humor of his clients. This can also include the use of humor as a means of coping with the fear of death, which the combatants are well aware of.

In the face of death

Some people did not leave a sense of humor even in the face of natural death. There is a lot of evidence of this in history. Take, for example, the famous phrase of Oscar Wilde: “Either I, or these nasty floral wallpaper …” - or Somerset Maugham's sarcastic remark: “Dying is a boring occupation. Never do this!"

Black humor

The so-called "black humor" can also be attributed to the defensive types of humor, which, depending on the situation, helps to cope with a number of psychological problems and situations, starting with a general anxiety before life and ending with unbearable conditions of existence. In the latter case, humor becomes a way of survival.

It is not for nothing that almost all authors who have gone through the horrors of concentration camps among the recommendations for coping with the situation, along with a violation of discipline, always indicated humor. The fact is that a joke, at least temporarily, destroys / interrupts the monotonous flow of unbearable reality and, thus, serves as a method of psychological resistance.


Self-irony is considered a sign of high intelligence, healthy self-esteem, and, in principle, mental and personal health. At the same time, one's own physical health may well be the object of ridicule. A good friend of mine, who has a disability since birth, once shared with me what his diagnosis of "residual symptoms of cerebral palsy" means in practice, in the following formulation: "All that remains after cerebral palsy is yours!"

The versatility of laughter

Laughter can perform the function of relieving nervous tension, and in a wide range, from "nervous chuckles" in awkward or exciting situations to full release after severe stress through bouts of uncontrolled laughter. And it can become a way of comprehending reality, part of the worldview. Suffice it to recall the famous aphorisms of Stanislav Jerzy Lec. At the same time, one should not forget that these brilliant aphorisms were composed by a person who had gone through the horrors of a fascist concentration camp.

Laughter and culture

Despite the universality of the phenomenon of humor and laughter in different cultures, people laugh at different manifestations of life. Researchers identify favorite themes specific to each culture. So, in Japanese culture, the subtle philosophical humor of the "rakugo" stories and the rude and sometimes traumatic humor of television shows coexist.

Chinese humor is replete with references to mythological and cultural characters. German is often based on a discussion of the characteristics of the inhabitants of different regions of the country. The British love puns, sarcasm and self-irony. Italians love to play a trick on the government and residents of neighboring regions. The French are not shy about jokes about sexual topics. Americans love to go through their lawyers and attorneys.

By the way, since the Middle Ages in European culture, jokes "below the belt" have been a distinctive feature of the "laughter culture" of commoners. So the massive distribution and wild popularity of this type of humor on domestic television in the last couple of decades can be fully explained by the peasant-proletarian origin of the vast majority of the country's inhabitants. As the saying goes, "a girl can be taken out of a village, but a village can be taken out of a girl …".

Humor and shame

A separate area of application of the funny is the area of sexual relationships. Here, in addition to the function of "suppression of sexuality" described by the Freudians, there is a specific task of overcoming shame and awkwardness during courtship.

Laughter comes to the rescue where, due to inexperience, young people still cannot figure out their drives, desires, reactions and other new manifestations of their own organism and psyche. Isn't that why they laugh so revealingly in teenage companies, muffling the bubbling streams of testosterone with laughter?

By the way, modern research indicates that people are able to enjoy sexual or aggressive humor "directly", bypassing ingenious psychoanalytic constructions.

Humor and psychological well-being

A healthy sense of humor is today considered one of the indicators and components of a person's mental health. Indeed, for a person with personal problems, almost any irony addressed to him turns out to be destructive, any joke can "get to where it is not necessary" and end in a stream of tears, if not hysteria. Conversely, the ability to endure self-teasing testifies to adequate self-esteem and good personality boundaries, and in the case of a quick humorous response, also to the highly developed intelligence of the individual.

While current research does not support a link between having a sense of humor and longevity, the way you live - with a smile or with a sour face - certainly affects the quality of your life

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