Brief research about origin of humor, satire, definition / elements of humor, i.e. joy, happiness, entertainment, smile a laughter and relief against stress. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Defining humor is considered an elusive exercise by many humorists, but there is no harm in making an attempt to get as close to the goal as possible, or at least to find a way to the destination on the basis of past and present material about humor in the simplest way.
Humor has been part of the behavioral repertoire of man for thousands, possibly a few million years as evident from the available record and data. Seen from whatever angle or side, Greek appears as the place where humor originated in its earliest form. Dramatic comedy is found to exist before the Classical Age. Komoidia, the word from which we get "comedy," the earliest form of humor found existence in Dionysia and short humorous plays called satyr plays used to be composed at Dionysia. These plays were full of noise and satyr (forefather of satire). The first writer of this genre was Aristophanes (c.448 B.C.–c.388 B.C), a late classical comic poet whose plays generally relate to politics and current affairs. One of the earliest historical figures associated with humor and laughter was the Greek philosopher Democritus. Known as the “laughing philosopher,” he not only had a reputation for his mirthful disposition but perhaps also for his tendency to “[laugh] at the stupidity of his fellow citizens” The use of word "humors" for the first time is found in medical science. Although surprising, but understandable and gives it an authentic importance. It was Hippocrates Of Cos ( 450 BCE to 380 BCE.) a Greek physician and a contemporary of Plato , for the first time postulated that four bodily humors or liquids existed in the body corresponding to the four elements existing in matter. These four liquids determined a human's health and psychology. An imbalance among the humors--blood, phlegm, black bile (or tears), and yellow bile (or choler)--resulted in pain and disease, and good health resulted through a balance of the four humors". When imbalance occurred, then the physician might intervene by making a correction to bring the body back into balance. For example, if the individual were too full of phlegm (making her phlegmatic or lethargic), then the phlegm must be countered. Citrus fruit was thought to be a counter-acting agent. Thus, if one felt lethargic, increasing ones citrus intake would re-create balance. For many centuries the theory of the bodily humors was held as the basis of medicine. Medical theory held an imbalance among the humors could cause both physical ailments and mental disorders in the victim. After Hippocrates, Galen(AD 129 - 199/217) Greek Physician considered second only to Hippocrates of Cos in his importance to the development of medicine introduced a new aspect that of four basic temperaments reflecting the humors: the sanguine (buoyant type); the phlegmatic, (sluggish type); the choleric, (angry and quick-tempered type); and the melancholic (depressed type). Like Hippocrates theory the balance among humors was found necessary for healthy life. In present times humor has been depicted as: - The quality that makes something laughable or amusing; funniness. - That, which is intended to induce laughter or amusement: - The ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is amusing, comical, incongruous, or absurd. - That, which puts people at ease. Builds rapport and reduces tension. - That, which provides a form of entertainment and a form of human communication. On the face of it, humor considered as something funny , inducing laughter or out of ordinary or routine which tends to make people enjoy its content. Although humor as taken now is supposed to represent only one side, i.e. the so- called lighter side, the origin of the word humor clearly stipulates that humor represented a balance in a person's physical and mental being. There is no doubt that at present also humor has been started to be looked upon as something very serious, which is essential for a healthy personality and whose absence can create serious imbalance. Thus, while Hippocrate gave the theory of four bodily humors or liquids existing in the body, Galen of four basic temperaments reflecting the humors, according to both all four elements were to be present in the required quantity for a healthy body and mind. The modern fast and complicated life patterns have resulted in enhancement of sanguine , choleric and melancholic and dilution of phlegmatic parts of humors. In the present context we see the abundance of stress in the form of pressures, worries, anxieties, frustrations, and problems and there is a need to balance their negative outcome. The concept of new Humor should be seen in this background. We know that humor acts as a parachute to take us away from our stressful lives to the safety of tranquility. So while the earlier humors was the combination of four factors in the required quantity to make a balance required for a healthy body and mind, the modern fast- paced life has made it necessary to make a balance by introducing the modern humor taking the place of phlegmatic, which could not be tolerated. The Pattern Recognition Theory of Humour by Alastair Clarke which declares Humor "To Be Fundamental To Our Success As A Species" has also put a stamp on the value of humor as a great quality. The humor thus may be depicted as: The quality that brings a balance to the physical and mental health of people by diluting the stressful effects of the life through release of tension by making them see the world from a comical angle. Sense of humor may be depicted as: The seventh sense, which visualizes or understands the situations, things and people based on non-established, incongruous and funny ideas causing satisfaction, joy and relief from harsh realities of life and provide life-balance.