Re: What is intelligence (Was Re: neuro mods.....)

From: Robert Owen (
Date: Fri Feb 25 2000 - 13:21:02 MST

Our QueenMUSE wrote:

> I understand that as one definition of *laughter*, yes. A burp or hiccup type
> response to the neo cortex's expected rational thought paths being hijacked
> by the less astute amagdala. Yes. But. Humor is entirely another and more
> complex set of responses, and comes in many hues.

I can't argue with the "complexity" -- I suppose this is why its never
been well-defined. I think Kierkegaard, the first existentialist, grasped
it when he spoke of "contradiction" and inspired the existentialist theme
of "the Absurd", e.g. Sartre and Ionesco's "Theatre of the Absurd".

Tertullian said: "Credo quia absurdum est." Why is his famous "credo"
infamous? Because it evokes cognitive dissonance, the judgment that
it too is absurd, and (in those with a sense of humor) provokes some
expression of amusement. Of course he is making an oblique reference
to the premier mode of demolishing an argument -- "reductio ad
absurdum" -- this is an archiac response of rationality to cognitive
dissonance. And that's the point: humor presupposes rationality,
which is embedded in the sardonic and satiric as well as the whimsical
and zany. So, returning to Aristotle, "homo sapiens" IS "homo risibilis".

"Your argument, madam, is a joke." Just kidding, just kidding.


Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA

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