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By Dr. Uladzimir TRATSIAKOU
The evolution on Earth was going under sufficient high pressure of elimination. Because of cruel requirements on rapidity of reactions, animals' field of consciousness, human beings' as well, while they went out of dangerous situations, might be only narrow. The same cause “made closer» to the operating organ, i.e. brain, the main «givers» – organs of seeing, hearing, senses of smell and taste. Let us mark: narrow field of consciousness (NFC) for long time was undoubted advantage for surviving.
However the pressure of eliminative natural selection had not been lying beyond the bounds; it permitted under-fitness, radiation adaptation (i.å. the opening up of new areas), didn't exclude mutations and then creation of new species. So, a chance to appear for a species ‘Homo sapiens' had been given, and the chance was not omitted. The species had especially expressed the reflex of novelty giving stimuli for transformation of the environment, and all that gave as a result creation of the human civilization.
The rule of contraries permits to see: if people were living under conditions more cruel, let's say as a slalom-skier on a trace, there would be no abstract thinking, no science and no invention. The smallest distraction of thought from ruling – and the slalom-skier would get not ruled biomass going down.
On the modern human level, we can think up for the “narrow-mindedness» more correct term “the shortage of panoramic thinking» (SPT) and for continuous attempts to overcome this shortage, i.e. to jump over own evolution predisposition, a definition “the interest to new». Just owing the last factor sprung up all human science as well as its “application to life»», i.e. the inventiveness.
Overcoming SPT obviously appears in learning and teaching, in communications and concerted activities, in looking for problems and their persistent solution, in general, in the need to gain the life experience once and again. We can guess that one's act of a joke's creation (spoken or written) is firstly an attempt to overcome SPT by the one who secondly counts on understanding and good evaluation by others.
Divining from SPT point of view which human humor's forms might be
The points of departure for argumentation:
1) there is SPT, an evolution inherent property;
2) the modern world's complexity is much more than in former times;
3) SPT now is more frequently a defect than an advantage.
Then we can conclude that people have expressed wish to overcome their SPT. Imprinting inside us instinctive behavior “heating» us to be overcoming our SPT in any way – learning, studying, researching, inventing; it is impossible that such widespread among people humorous behavior be out of the process SPT overcoming.
So there is a hypothesis: jokes are existing as a phenomenon because it helps to overcome SPT, at that in agreeable way, both as for those who joke and as for those who apprehend jokes. The cause of this agreeableness is rooted in prehistoric times when to smile meant to feel themselves in guaranteed security. Don't believe? Did you try whenever to guffaw or even if simply to smile when you are in unsafe situation? Maybe so, but your ha-ha-ha or smiles were likely to notice by others as rather forced. Then it is said or thought about “wry smile».
High velocity of reactions as the evolution inherent property is correlated with apprehension of a joke at once, with no long thinking. Otherwise humor would not get a social phenomenon “for all at once». Btw, a joker is especially much rewarded (and encouraged to joke farther) just when there is a common grateful reaction of laugh.
Now I tried to divine the common structure of a joke. It should contain of course any elements of novelty (otherwise why to present it to people?), but not too many (otherwise it may not be grasped at once). You as a humorist should exceed the boundaries of any usual and simultaneously not to have gone too far. So, any new and any already known should unite first time in the hearing's (the reading's) perception. Taking this into account I prognosticated that humorists saying/writing any new comic thoughts either “remember the known» or “play on failing to mention».
Now, you are proposed to make certain of this general regularity's appearance in all kinds of wordy humor happily selected.
Let us put away jokes on shelves of a classification
Play upon words
Not evolution but alas evilution. Andrey Knyshev.
I'm on a seafood diet – I see food, I eat it. Dolly Parton.
I'm not so think and you drunk I am. John Squire.
Pas de deux: father of twins. NN.
Better clash than lash. Mine.
Snobleness obliges. Mine.
A publisher who writes is like a cow in a milk bar. Arthur Koestler.
Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves. Brendan Behan.
Many people are such as sausages: what they are stuffed with, that they bear in themselves. Kozma Prutkov.
«The Turned Over»
The hardest task in a girl's life is to prove to a man that his intentions are serious. Helen Rowland.
Reality is for people who can't face drugs. Laurence Peter.
A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don't need it. Bob Hope.
«Haimovich, you are accused in contumely of a person. You said your neighbor is a donkey». –“«Excuse me, but who of them does complain?» Anecdote.
Celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized. Fred Allen.
Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat. Oscar Wilde.
Behind every successful man stand a surprised mother-in-law. Hubert Humphrey.
Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat. Oscar Wilde.
As if Definition
Rich widows: the only secondhand goods that sell at first-class prices. Benjamin Franklin.
Adultery is the application of democracy to love. H.L.Mencken.
Love: a temporary insanity curable by marriage. Ambrose Bierce.
Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. George Bernard Shaw.
Egoist: a person more interested in himself than in me. Ambrose Bierce.
Prison is shortage of the space filled in by expense of the time. Iosif Brodskiy.
Woman is the only self-packed present. Jean Paule Belmondeau.
Impatience: waiting in hurry. Julian Tuwim.
As if Misunderstanding
Never go out to meet trouble. If you will just sit still, nine cases out of ten someone will intercept it before it reaches you. Calvin Coolidge.
The theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline baggage. Mark Russell.
Trousers are more importer than a wife as there are many places where possibly to go without the wife and where impossibly go without trousers. T.Ghitsgher.
We owe to Thomas Edison – if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight. Milton Berle.
Cities are built along streets. NN.
Likeness of banality
Sleeps depend on the sleeping's position. Stanislaw Jerzy Lec.
Whichever your health is, it will be sufficient till your life's end. L.Borisov.
To give up non-smoking is rather easy. Leszek Kumor.
Women are living longer than men, especially widows. George Clemensot.
From One Sense to Another
We hold out our hand to West, but for some reason the palm is up. Nikita Bogoslovskiy.
Englishmen never will be slaves; they are free to do whatever the government and public opinion allow to do. G.B. Shaw.
A jury consists of 12 persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. Robert Frost.
We must belief in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like. Jean Cocteau.
The most fairly divided is common sense: nobody complains what he was done out of his share. Rene Descartes.
It is necessary to count up to a three, maximum till half past three. Remedy for insomnia by Rina Zelenaya.
Political influence of women at day is very low. Mikhail Zhvanetskiy.
The worst part of having success is to try finding someone who is happy for you. Bette Miller.
Nothing needs so reforming as other people's habits. Mark Twain.
Some 90% of politicians ruin the reputation of all other ones. Henry Kissinger.
What they call ‘heart' lies much lower than the fourth waistcoat button. George Lichtenberg.
Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger. Franklin P. Jones.
A serious political party condemns any baseness if it is not included into its party program. NN.
Don't go into the policy if your skin is not so thick than that of rhinoceros. Franklin Roosevelt.
There is nothing leaser that to give up smoking. I myself did it hundreds times. Mark Twain.
Life on other planets is not existing as their scientists forestall ours. NN.
When you debate with a foolish, that usually does the same. Shkurowich.
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Fred Hoyle.
Income tax had made liars out of the American people than golf. Will Rogers .
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity. G.B. Shaw.
If you can keep your head while those about you are losing theirs, perhaps, you not understand the situation. Nelson Boswell.
If there are a few your own delusions you may always replenish them with experts' opinions. M.Mamchich.
If a man is deprived of sense of humor, then it had been for what. Danil Rudiy.
The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that cannot believe anyone else. G.B. Shaw.
As long as a woman can look younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied. Oscar Wilde.
Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. G.B. Shaw.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt. Bertrand Russell.
Just only as a fool appreciates us he doesn't appear such foolish. Francois de LaRochefoucauld.
Literacy was thought up by illiterates. Leszek Kumor.
People are united by intention to be separated. Ghennadiy Malkin.
The physician can bury his mistakes but the architect can only advice his client to plant vines. Frank Lloyd Wright.
To have a pleasure of laziness can only who has a lot of absolutely urgent affairs. Jerome Ê. Jerome.
God created the man after own likeness, then the man repaid him in the same. Voltaire.
Indolence of mind appears itself in constant readiness to act. Gennady Malkin.
Psychiatry enables us to correct our faults by confessing our parent's shortcomings. Laurence Peter.
Oh how many people should be at the power that be the power of people! Anatoliy Ras.
Alien stupidity and own achievements appear always bigger. M.Mamcich.
As if Advice
It's better to keep your mouth shut and to appear stupid than to open it and remote all doubt. Mark Twain.
Women's clothes: never wear anything that panics the cat. P.J. O'Rourke.
Never buy anything simply because it is expensive. Oscar Wilde.
It is necessary without pity to tear away the pates of that who discredit the high title of the humanist. Andrey Knishev.
Please don't talk when I am interrupting!!! Todd Rockefeller.
The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means. Oscar Wilde.
We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like. Jean Cocteau.
Many much easier to become clever than to stop being foolish. Vassiliy Klyuchevskiy.
Absence of thoughts does not impede for having like-minded persons. A. Furstenberg.
Horse-shoe brings happiness. If, of course, you are not a horse. ZhannaGolonogova.
To live in human way is impeded by people. Ghennadiy Malkin.
Did you see the man who never lie? It is hard to see him, he is avoided by all. Mikhail Zhwanetskiy.
As If an Argument While Disputing Or Betting
Questa coda non e di questo gatto (This tail is not of this cat). Italian saying.
They were lucky: they had time to be born. Ronald Reagan (about advocates of abortions).
- * - * - * -
I don't pretend in any case that the proposed manners of joking are all possible forms of humor. But I hope as there are sufficient many examples showing the same tendency, we can conclude something about wordy jokes in general. Here are those conclusions:
* All forms of wordy humor, and you can step-by-step to prove it, demonstrate the only mechanism in operation when any known (it may be implied) is compared / confronted with an unknown, giving in result new thought.
* In during of all human history, trying to be more adequately apprehending the reality, people were always in intention to overcome SPT, that their evolutionary inherited property, and luck of those processes appears / appeared as scientific gifts, inventiveness, artistic talents -- and as well as abilities both to joke and apprehend jokes.
* All this have the general evolution origin – the reflex of novelty inherited by our animal ancestors. Its biological ground is heightened attention to any new change in surroundings: “Does it happen something dangerous?»
* Science and inventiveness “hold» on overcoming of SPT, jokes -- on play upon overcoming of SPT.
* A humorist's pleasure is, after hard thinking and selecting, to overcome own SPT and get a news featured by originality, unusual form and/or content, paradoxical counter-position, etc., and a listener's or a reader's pleasure is to have seen and apprehended this prepared product. Social importance of all it is to get more oriented in the world, in human community. Biological expediency of humorous behavior to be in-built into us through genetically fixed programs is for us to feel ourselves in agreeable state of… not simply security, but guarantied, hopefully provided security.
So, to better memorize: the human humor is always both taking SPT into consideration and overcoming SPT . In other words, joking, we are playing up SPT -- own and/or others. Just it is the main secret of the human humor got from evolutionary depths.
_______________________________________________Published (in Russian) in Intellectualnaya Sobstvennost v Belarusi, 2005, #4, p. 36--39, under the title "Secret of Humor from the Evolutionary Depths".
5 years later American scientists reopened such the secret of humor at when a social norme and its intentional infridgement (not dangerous and not bad-tempered) meet to give a comic effect. See about it replying to American secret of the situational humor.
Copyright © IntelTech—V.N.Tretyakov (U.M.Tratsiakou). The present information is intellectual property of the author's site, who would be interested in knowing any usage of his materials. [email protected]