Humor…”The Saving Sense”

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is”. Francis Bacon

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing”. Mark Twain

Humour or humor… is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoural medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours (Latin: humor, “body fluid”), control human health and emotion.

“I think that the tendency for most people is to fall back on a comic interpretation of things – because things are so sad, so terrible. If you didn’t laugh you’d kill yourself. But the truth of the matter is that existence in general is very very tragic, very very sad, very brutal and very unhappy”. Woody Allen,

“Humor is reason gone mad”.Groucho Marx

People of all ages and cultures respond to humour. The majority of people are able to experience humour, to be amused, to laugh or smile at something funny, and thus they are considered to have a sense of humour.

The hypothetical person lacking a sense of humour would likely find the behaviour induced by humour to be inexplicable, strange, or even irrational.


Though ultimately decided by personal taste, the extent to which a person will find something humorous depends upon a host of variables, including geographical location, culture, maturity, level of education, intelligence and context.
For example, young children may favour slapstick, such as Punch and Judy puppet shows or cartoons such as Tom and Jerry. Satire may rely more on understanding the target of the humour and thus tends to appeal to more mature audiences.

“Humor is just another defense against the universe”. Mel Brooks

Ancient Greece: Western humour theory begins with Plato, who attributed to Socrates (as a semi-historical dialogue character) in the Philebus, the view that the essence of the ridiculous is an ignorance in the weak, who are thus unable to retaliate when ridiculed. Later, in Greek philosophy, Aristotle, in the Poetics (1449a, pp. 34-35), suggested that an ugliness that does not disgust is fundamental to humour.

“If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor”. Jennifer Jones

“Humor is by far the most significant activity of the human brain”. Edward de Bono

India: In ancient Sanskrit drama, Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra defined humour (hāsyam) as one of the nine nava rasas, or principle rasas (emotional responses), which can be inspired in the audience by bhavas, the imitations of emotions that the actors perform. Each rasa was associated with a specific bhavas portrayed on stage. In the case of humour, it was associated with mirth (hasya).

“Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that Humour excites in those who lack it”. George Saintsbury

“Let me assure you that the humourless as a bunch don’t just not know what’s funny, they don’t know what’s serious. They have no common sense, either, and shouldn’t be trusted with anything”. – Martin Amis

In Arabic culture: The terms “comedy” and “satire” became synonymous after Aristotle’s Poetics was translated into Arabic in the medieval Islamic world, where it was elaborated upon by Arabic writers and Islamic philosophers such as Abu Bischr, his pupil Al-Farabi, Persian Avicenna, and Averroes. Due to cultural differences, they disassociated comedy from Greek dramatic representation, and instead identified it with Arabic poetic themes and forms, such as hija (satirical poetry). They viewed comedy as simply the “art of reprehension” and made no reference to light and cheerful events or troublesome beginnings and happy endings associated with classical Greek comedy. After the Latin translations of the 12th century, the term “comedy” thus gained a new semantic meaning in Medieval literature.

Does humor belongs to music? Frank Zappa

As with any form of art, acceptance depends on social demographics and varies from person to person. Throughout history, comedy has been used as a form of entertainment all over the world, whether in the courts of the Western kings or the villages of the Far East. Both a social etiquette and a certain intelligence can be displayed through forms of wit and sarcasm. Eighteenth-century German author Georg Lichtenberg said that “the more you know humour, the more you become demanding in fineness”

“Humor is richly rewarding to the person who employs it. It has some value in gaining and holding attention, but it has no persuasive value at all”. John Kenneth Galbraith

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour
And when I die I expect to find Him laughing

Caribbean: Mento star Lord Flea, stated in an 1957 interview that he thought that: “West Indians have the best sense of humour in the world. Even the most solemn song, like Las Kean Fine [“Lost and Can Not Be Found”], which tells of a boiler explosion on a sugar plantation that killed several of the workers, their natural wit and humor shine though.”

“The man with the real sense of humor is the man who can put himself in the spectator’s place and laugh at his own misfortunes. That is what I am called upon to do every day”. Bert Williams

She’s got a fine sense of humour when I’m feeling low down And when I come to her when the sun goes down
take away my trouble, take away my grief
Take away my heartache in the night like a theif

“The more I live, the more I think that humor is the saving sense”. Jacob August Riis

One thought on “Humor…”The Saving Sense”

  1. Pingback: Humor…”The Saving Sense” Fleainator

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