On Humour and Insight.

Humour as an adaptive, evolutionary important behaviour.


Novelty is that which is new to us, this newness can take many forms, a new skill, a new location. Humans are driven to novelty, we are hardwired to seek out, this is measured in the trait of openness. Novelty is the essence of humour. It feels good to laugh. It feels good to make others laugh. Humour is an adaptive behaviour. The act of laughter, true laughter, is a social feedback mechanism.

(These words have homophones with importantly different meanings, better file that away!)

Laughter can be understood as a means of identifying and conveying novelty to the group. Laughter calls our attention. “What are they laughing about?!” It facilitates learning new and important concepts and teaching them to others. This encourages both the individual and the group.

Positive feelings associated with laughing and making someone laugh are aimed at incentivising both teaching and learning. This needs to happen on a near-unconscious level because otherwise it would be pulled into the complicated world of our other social behaviour. A world that involves deception and confusion. Understanding our world is just too important for us to complicate. It’s too central to our strategy.

(Well that was an unexpected action. I have to keep in mind now that this kind of person in this kind of situation might act differently than I previously believed.)

Humour as communication.

The communication that humans partake in is complex, it is not merely binary on or off signals anymore. There are a lot of nuances, of which add depth to our communication. We are told in presentations and meetings to start with a joke, a lot of dating advice also centres on this focus of humour as a opener, as a way to communicate to the other person that you are friendly and to initiate a familiarity quickly. After all a lot of communication is more than mere verbal communication, there are more things that go into a telling of a joke.

Humans need to know a lot; subtle, complicated things. Humour is not limited to surprise in the natural world. Quite the opposite. Also critical to human survival is the appreciation of subtle human animal behaviour. Social dynamics include tricks of language and important abstracts, these can be considered evolutionary games, that are a form of sorting.

Language, patterns, the social world are natural and in born, we are adapted to play these language games. They can be just as important to our lives as any other environmental factor. And seemingly simple inane jokes often explore these aspects of our worlds and lives.

Laughter as a reaction to novelty.

(Wow, somebody is back there! Didn’t expect that. Is that important?)

Genuine laughter is a largely involuntary reaction. Laughter is a feedback signal lets others know the concept they introduced was novel and important. They don’t have to know why it’s novel; the incongruity must just be apparent in the subconscious mind.

Laughter feels good, it’s important to know new and important things to survive. It feels good to the comedian because they’ve presented something novel that’s been confirmed as important and they feel appreciated on the social level.

Babies laugh when you make an uncommon noise or appear from a surprising place. It’s a brand new concept to them and absolutely hilarious. There are diminishing returns. The 15th time you come out from under the blanket a baby’s laugh will be reduced. A comedian cannot repeat the same joke, an old joke loses its value, its value as a joke stems from the novelty, from the way it is told to what it contains.

In conclusion

Humans seek out novelty, they need it like they need air. Too much rigid and boring scheduling may seem to some like prison. Being bored and monotonous leads to unhappiness. Part of the reason for creating Meditations & Observations. To facilitate this growth of constant renewal of new insights and novel and obscure information, humans will always have a need for this.

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by @MuseRaster & GRITCULT.
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