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For Henri Bergson, laughter is what keeps us elastic and free

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https://aeon.co/essays/for-henri-bergson-laughter-is-what-keeps-us-elastic-and-free

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For Henri Bergson, laughter is what keeps us elastic and free
For philosopher Henri Bergson, laughter solves a serious human conundrum: how to keep our minds and social lives elastic

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Humour in philosophy

Humour in philosophy
  • Henri Bergson, a Fresh philosopher of the late 19th century, was also an author of a famous essay that focused on laughter. Before Bergson, few philosophers had given laughter much t...

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Humour and respect

Everyone who ever had to explain their own joke knows that comedy cannot survive analysis. Once you take humour apart, it loses its effect and dies in the process.

Henr...

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Conditions for laughter to thrive

Henri Bergson's general observations related to when laughter is most likely to appear and thrive:

  • The comic is strictly human. When laughter is directed at non-...

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Comic captures a lack of adaptability

Social life requires a delicate adjustment of the will and a constant corresponding adaptation between members of a group.

In general, we laugh at people who are either too eccentric or too...

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Why we notice the comical

  • Life never repeats itself. Therefore, when there is repetition or complete similarity, we always suspect some mechanism and are potentially witnessing the comical.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The old Victorian picture style

The old Victorian picture style

If you have a look at Victorian pictures dating from the 19th century, you will soon enough realize that back then people did not really smile. The reason for this involves two elements:

    ...

The picture called 'A playful smile' (mid-1850s)

This picture is one of the earliest proofs that Victorians could also smile in photos.

The model is a young lady who poses typically for the period, however, letting a smile be seen on her face.

The 'Giggling gent' picture (c1889)

The picture shows a family who is captured a bit earlier than expected, fact that allows us to see everybody's natural laughter. This is what used to be known as 'Gigglemug' or 'habitually smiling face'.

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Humor during a crisis

For ancient Greek philosophers, humor was something that had the potential to undermine authority and the good order.

Today, in democratic societies, those in power are mocked and their p...

The power of laughter

  • Humor, in a way, protects us from life's grim reality. We joke because if we didn't, we'd cry.
  • Humor and laughing are also a social vocalization that includes some and excludes others. Jokes establish who is inside the group and who is not. We laugh with people to belong, and at others to exclude.
  • In our current crises, humor is everywhere because fear is too. Laughter binds us together against a common enemy.

When to joke

Poking fun at the ills of the world is only funny if they are considered benign. No one is making memes about child abuse that may increase during periods of enforced domestic isolation.

Observations about people's behavior can be funny if they poke fun at a social norm in a relatively inoffensive way, such as hoarding toilet paper.

Laughter

It is generally considered a positive emotion and is a vital social, emotional and cognitive function. It is a communal activity that encourages bonding, reduces any possible conflict, and e...

Laughter is a Complex Emotion

The complex emotion of laughter has the power to override other emotions. The neurotransmitters (brain circuits) are controlling the facial muscles and vocal architecture, giving priority to positive emotions.

There are several brain pathways that contribute to laughter, like the regions of decision-making, behavior control, and our brains emotional circuitry.

The Underlying Neural Functions

Various studies and research have shed some light on the underlying neural functions of the brain features that result in laughter being expressed by the body.

Pseudobulbar Affect Syndrome is a condition involving an unsettling exhibition of laughter, characterized by frequent, involuntary and uncontrollable outbursts of laughing and crying. This Syndrome is due to a disconnect between the frontal pathways of the brainstem, which control emotional drives, and is associated with several disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and stroke.

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