Re: Humor and Intelligence

Robert Owen (
Tue, 19 Oct 1999 15:34:33 -0400

Damien Broderick wrote:

> At 03:40 AM 18/10/99 -0400, Bob Owen wrote:
> [standard cognitive glitch analysis nicely summarised - then: ]
> >Occidentals rest their sense of ego-integrity on the belief that the
> >World is, beneath all appearances to the contrary, really logical --
> >things DO make sense after all.
> Oh. So it's only staid two-valued whitebread westerners who laugh at jokes
> and pratfalls? Not!

I don't understand the Oriental "sense of humor" Damien, so I did not want to overgeneralize Kierkegaard's nor my own analysis. This may be purely idiosyncratic. For example, the Zen Koan:

                         Nothing will do. What do you do?

strikes me as extremely funny. But in a Japanese home I would suppress an overt response. And that is just the difficulty for me -- a culture that to an extent much greater than our own tends to conventionalize all behavior. This is deep conditioning, and I am inclined to believe it does succeed in extinguishing some responses which are to us spontaneous.


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