Humour or comedy is the tendency for humorous experiences to elicit amused response and offer edification. Humor is a powerful vehicle in which messages can be transmitted without the intervention of words. The word derives from the Greek term humors, which meant the interchange of fluids in the body, related to emotions and bodily health. In the light of modern medical knowledge, it is unclear why humour is of critical importance in regard to maintaining optimal health. While medical knowledge supports the view that emotional health is influenced by humour, it remains an enigma as to how humour relates to the physical world.
The first step in answering this question is to consider what the relationship between humour and health is, in relation to emotional well-being. One of the tenets of contemporary medical philosophy is that illness is caused by a breach in the continuity of the immune system. A concept of incongruity presents itself in this context. When the normal processes of immunity are disrupted, the body’s natural defence mechanism tries to defend against the invader; in this case, pathogens.
Theories of humour have their roots in classical mythology, with an account of a creator laughing at the creation of a monster. It is a common myth that the laughter of the creator represents the triumph of good over evil, and therefore represents the overcoming of incongruities within nature. Modern scientific theory proposes that this aspect of mythology is the product of an evolutionary developmental process that has favoured the survival of robustness in competitive environments. In the light of this theory, it can be suggested that laughter is one of the means through which the strong can overcome the weak, and hence, the prevention of the development of pathology, through contagion.
It has been suggested that humans may derive some benefit from this process. It has been proposed that understanding humour is important in building interpersonal relationships, in promoting teamwork, and in changing attitudes and behaviours. In light of this, it is a surprise to observe that research into humour has been increasing in recent years. As a result, a unified theory may now exist to explain the phenomenon. It is proposed that the evolution of human laughter evolved as a means to reduce or avoid the transmission of a contagious disease through association with strong facial gestures. This leads to an association between humour and the strengthening of social ties and attitudes, the promotion of trust, and the maintenance of a sense of balance.
Understanding the role of humour in our lives is also important for several reasons. First, understanding the evolutionary and developmental history of human kind will allow us to appreciate that, at certain times, it appears that we have been genetically predisposed to respond to humour, making us laugh, and laughing makes us smile. For example, if we hear someone crack a joke, we can respond with genuine enjoyment. Second, studies have shown that when we watch funny movies or television programs, we tend to mimic the funny characters, expressing our own enjoyment through imitation of the traits that they show.
The third factor that helps us understand the role of humour is that humans need outlets for their laughter. This is why there is a general need to share funny things with others. When you are with friends, you can share jokes or stories. Furthermore, when trying to understand the development of humor through the ages, the answer to the original question “how do people get so funny” is that they find and use different ways to express their enjoyment of everyday life.