I will attempt to be prompt.


*The prime symbol (') will be used as an operator for an action's derivative [here, meaning antecedent] (e.g (eating a sandwich)' = (obtaining sandwich)) #Which means that an event can have more than one correct prime equivalency, but we should attempt to look at only very simple cases.

-(encountering a logical fallacy)'= confusion #Here, we have used the ( ' ) operator introduced above; confusion will be disambiguated shortly .

-laughter= (laughter_genuine) # Which means that the individual is not forcing the laughter or laughing from a nervous habit of some sort.

-happiness = (happiness_laughter) #Since there are different forms of happiness

-confusion = (confusion_"not bad") #The things that defy our brain's logic, and induce laughter are assumed to be a form of confusion that is benign in the reference frame of the individual.

# It can be assumed that the functionality of "confusion" will remain constant if it changes states to adhere to proper syntax (e.g. confused, confuses,confusing ect.)

Axioms (A):

-In the reference frame of an individual, if that individual encounters something that appears confusing, it may induce laughter.

-When an individual laughs, they are happy

Conclusion (Axioms(A)):

-Therefore: (confusion) = (laughter)'= (happiness)'' , which means that happiness is induced by confusion.

(Axioms (B (Conclusion (Axioms (A))):

-Happiness is induced by confusion

-Happiness holds intrinsic value, and should be sought after by everyone

Conclusion (Axioms (B (Conclusion (Axioms (A))):

-Therefore, individuals should seek confusion #Of course, we are keeping in mind that "confusion" may induce happiness [from "Axioms (A)"], so we are also assuming that an individual should seek out the special cases of "confusion" that, in their reference frame, induce laughter.


What could this conclusion reveal about human nature? Are we happy when presented with harmless logical fallacies, and should therefore seek them out? #Here harmless = (harmless_(reference frame(individual))

I feel as though simply observing what this argument attempts to reveal, could potentially bring about very enlightening discoveries about human nature. Is it possible that we could use a form of inductive reasoning to relate the "confusion" variable here, to other forms of "anti-knowledge," and figure out that when we know less we are happier (analogous to "ignorance is bliss")?

closed as off-topic by James Kingsbery, Joseph Weissman Nov 15 '14 at 17:47

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  • Your axiom B) is intuitive, because it sounds like a commonplace. But with "happiness = (happiness_laughter)" you get: "Happiness laughter holds intrinsic value ans should be sought after". Traditionally, the happiness we are inclined to pursue has more dimensions (love, health, offspring, ...) With that in mind, your axiom B) is not that trivial: Should I seek for laughter and not for love? I don't buy that! – Einer Nov 14 '14 at 9:00
  • Hi Godel! I'm not sure I agree with all your logic: for example, someone can laugh when they are not happy (eg, when one is nervous), and one doesn't necessarily laugh at things that are confusing. – James Kingsbery Nov 14 '14 at 16:01
  • @JamesKingsbery Thank you for the greeting, it was refreshing. Concerning your comment: I did not really have the leisure to define my variables as well as I would have liked, so your point is appropriate. Consider this: A comedian shares an experience with the audience that the majority of them will be able to relate to. But, if that experience didn’t baffle them in some manner, it would not be funny. The fact that other audience members find the experience enigmatic (which can be deduced from the fact that they are laughing along with you), augments the humor of the entire joke. – Gödel Nov 14 '14 at 19:00
  • continued due to lack of comment space In fact, if one considers the nature of the comical jargon known as "shock value," it seems as though the entire field of comedy can be epitomized as "those who felicitously throw people off guard." – Gödel Nov 14 '14 at 19:04
  • I did mention that: "laughter = (laughter_genuine) #Which means that the individual is not forcing the laughter or laughing from a nervous habit of some sort." [variables] . I know that I left a lot of holes open in my argument by not thoroughly defining my variables. However, the kind of laughter I was speaking of has a very specific demarcation (eg the comedy club culture). – Gödel Nov 14 '14 at 19:10

From a more animal psychological direction, it is less direct than that.

Laughter accompanies a certain kind of dissociation in extreme circumstances. One can have the same reaction to a real, overwhelming situation, or a direct confrontation of one's deep assumptions that one has to an absurd statement. You are trying to take it seriously, but just keep failing. It remains 'trauma', which literally means 'dream'.

I would suggest that is really the deeper impulse behind laughter. Laughter is, at root, a reflexive fear response. It is a marker for others that you are not taking in the situation, and they should either help you, or move on while you recover yourself. But this kind of situation has become much less common for us that it was for our ancestors. So we are more likely to encounter absurd statements than heavy dissociative fears.

I would presume that we enjoy this state for the same reason we enjoy facing down fear in other realms. Why go skydiving? It attaches us to deep reserves of energy, and each second of survival is a relief. People sometimes become almost addicted to dissociative drugs, and what they enjoy is similar aspects of the experience (some even laugh -- the cheapest dissociative drug in our culture is called 'laughing gas'): Surviving weirdness is powerfully relieving. The less silly among us (pardon my condescension) may read Grimm instead or watch horror. Of course humor is a very dilute version of this potentially overwhelming feeling, but the cause, at root, is the same.

I would never suggest we should all seek heavy dissociative trauma! But I do believe that those of us who encounter it naturally and are not damaged, surely gain from it. The same way, to the degree confusion signifies risk, we do all need to learn to take risk and enjoy it. So it may not really be confusion we should seek, so much as audacity in spite of confusion.

  • Only some psychologists would even agree with this. But it fits my observations. I have worked with very traumatized people, and if they are dissociation-prone personality types, reliving their worst moments, they laugh, and they remember laughing at the time, even being immobilized by their laughter. Also, if you confront a fear someone is deeply oppressed by, unexpectedly and with great force, as Fritz Perls often did, some of them laugh uncontrollably, without finding the situation humorous at all. So I believe this analysis. But it is more evolutionary psychology than philosophy. – jobermark Nov 14 '14 at 19:35

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