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Unformatted text preview: e of triumph, in part one of pleased surprise.
I shall not attempt an analysis of the psychology of humor, for illustrious writers and thinkers have stubbed
their intellectual toes on this rock for centuries. In later years the analyses of Freud and Bergson are noted, but
there is a list of writers from Aristotle down whose remarks and observations have brought out clearly certain
trends. For us the direction that any one's humor takes is a very important phase in the study of character. CHAPTER XV. 127 Humor is a weapon, and the humorist has two ends in view: the one to please his audience and to align them
on his side, the second to attack either playfully or seriously some person or institution with the technique of
humor. Certain trends are seen in humor, one to seek a feeling of superiority by revealing the inferiority of
others in a surprising way, another to release a burdensome inhibition, a third to play with and in a sense
mock the disagreeable features of life, and the fourth to seek detachment from one's self, to seek relief from
sorrow, disappointment and deprivation by viewing the self as from afar.
 In this way humor is an effort for freedom; through humor one tastes of experiences otherwise forbidden.
So there is a sarcastic humor which points out the foibles and weaknesses of others either grossly or
delicately. Usually these others are those differing from one's own group--the Irish, Jew, farmer, Negro--and
the jokes either deal with their personal appearance (a low humor) or their characteristic expressions, points of
view and actions. The audience is convulsed at their quaintness or folly, though often enough on the stage the
comic figure delivers a sort of wisdom mingled with his foolishness, and this adds to the humorous explosion.
The sarcastic humor in its highest form reaches satire, where under a disguise powerful institutions or the
habit and ways of life of a group are criticized. In polite society people are continually attacking each other in
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11