TED Conversations

Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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Let's talk about humor

What is humor to you? How important is it in your life? How many kinds of it you came across? And lastly, what is that 'cultural' sense of humor?
I am asking because I have seen people requiring to explain it to others.


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    Dec 2 2013: There are many things that we laugh at and not all of them make sense. Perhaps our humour acts as the measure of our maturity. Maybe when we stop laughing at some guy getting hit in the crotch and writhing in agony, perhaps then we will finally find our humanity.
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      Dec 2 2013: Humor is the non-aggressive way to deal with the apparent inconformities. Humor will exist till the time one sees the guy getting hit in the crotch as something out of the ordinary, when the laughter continues with the realization that the guy is in obvious pain, humor has already left place and cruelty has taken over.
      Humor in humans is the remnant of the million year old evolutionary playfulness - a trait of creating higher functions of brains by non-aggressively confronting situations that are not routine.
    • Gord G 50+

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      Dec 2 2013: William - You're sending a mixed message. Your avatar is Yosemite Sam. Warner Brothers cartoons are often criticized for their level of violence. Personally I think the animators at Termite Terrace elevated the genre.

      I find it interesting you mentioned maturity...it almost seems humour has to have a puerile sensibility. I think often a good chuckle is our inner child rebelling against our encroaching social responsibility.

      (Chuck Jones was a literate man who seemed to have an intuitive understanding of our relationship to our inner child)
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      Dec 2 2013: William, Pabitra and Gord.....interesting thread you have going!

      William, I must say that when you and your avatar first appeared on TED, I wondered what your message might be with your choice of an avatar. Is that how this person communicates? With guns drawn ready to shoot? I find your comments to be intelligent and well articulated. So, I agree with Gord that there seems to be a mixed message, because your avatar and your comments do not seem to fit together for me.

      I agree Pabitra, that when the laughter continues, with the realization that someone is in pain, whatever emotion a person is experiencing does not feel at all like humor to me. There is a candid camera type show on TV, and I've only seen bits of it (can't stand to watch it), where real people are in horrible situations which can cause a LOT of damage to the body, the audience is laughing, and apparently experiencing the horrible situations as humorous.....I don't get it! I cannot imagine how a group of people see humor in accidents that can cause bodily harm, and it amazes me that it has enough support to be produced!

      Perhaps as Gord says, humor can be caused by our inner child rebelling against our social responsibility? Perhaps at times, laughter is a release of tension in a situation where we don't feel we can do anything?

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