Saturday, 19 July 2008

He who sheds his fear first, LOL

As reported in Wired, science writer Jim Holt explores why we laugh in his book Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes .

'V. S. Ramachandran, the brain researcher, has a theory about the origin of laughter — that when you're in the jungle and there's an apparent threat, the first member of the kinship group to notice that it's not a real threat emits this stereotyped vocalization. And it's contagious, so everyone starts laughing. That's also the basis of the relief theory of humor, that there's a release of the energy you had summoned up to solve some puzzle. Kant said that the essence of humor is a strained expectation dissolving into nothing.'

Talking of which Shedman had his piles banded yesterday for the second time in a decade, and he wouldn't want to enjoy the procedure more often than that thanks. Sitting in damp sheds can't be doing him any good at all.

He appreciates that the NHS is very keen to make sure patients are fully informed and have lots of opportunity to ask questions, but lying bare-bummed in a small cubicle waiting to be interfered with the thought did cross his mind that now wasn't the best time for an explanation of the human digestive system, a detailed analysis of the risks involved in the procedure or a blow by blow summary of what happens to hemorrhoids when confronted by a rubber band. Inside, Shedman was silently suggesting that they should just get on with this please! He was relieved that the consultant (whose name was Mr Ridings, which seemed strangely apropriate) was a real gentle man, although his commentary was more like a fisherman on a river bank finding a particualrly fine specimen of bait in his tin. 'Oh, here's a really juicy one.'

Shedman took a taxi home. The driver decided that the quickest route from the hospital to Shedman's home negotiated every speed bump in Brighton. Thank you so much Brighton Streamline. Isn't something streamlined smooth, fluid and relatively pain-free?

Another book about philosophy and humour is the very amusing and informative Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar . . .: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.

If you enjoy philosophical discussion find your local Philosphy in Pubs

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