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    Beral Khan

    As has been pointed out, Yoda had a sense of humour.
    So do I, as do most people.

    Some would find this to be in conflict with “Be of a serious mind.”

    Michael Valentine in the book “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A Heinlein was born on Mars to human parents but rasied by Martians who had not concept of humour.

    When he is brought back to earth as an adult he doesn’t understand why people laugh.  It wasn’t until he was at a zoo and watched one Monkey being mean to another monkey in a funny way that he began to laugh.  He laughed so hard it put him in the hospital.

    I will never forget the day I read that.  I knew what humour was:  It was always at the expence of something or someone.  Sometimes it is ourselves, sometimes it is an object, sometimes it is others.  The worse the calamity or embarrassement, the funnier it is.

    So, I challenge anyone (as I have since this discovery) to find something funny that is NOT at the expense of something or someone.  I truly wish to find that humour.


    Ah, it’s so easy to observe people moving to extremes with Jedi philosophy. As with all things, I think it tends to be contextual. Yes, be of a serious mind, but when one must be serious, and when humour or outward emotion is inappropriate. Beyond that, of course you have to laugh! Laughter is our way of never taking ourselves or the world around us too seriously, and of appreciating the positivity and beauty in everything around you. It makes no sense to me not to laugh at times, and that’s coming from someone who can be incredibly humourless at times ;)


    Humor reminds us to not take things so darn seriously.  People can be so serious all the time.  Lighten up!  Life is not meant to be lived so seriously.  Humor reduces stress, lightens us up.  If I have fallen, and someone laughs, it is because the situation is unexpected and obsurd.  People are rarely laughing when they know someone is actually hurt.  So, if my feelings are hurt by someone laughing, it is my own issue to address.  There’s no need to be embarassed by a fall.  It happens when we don’t pay attention to life.  No big deal, just an experience to wake us up.  The more we can laugh at these situations when they happen to us, the better off we are.

    Jedi, like all humans, should not be so heavy.  It means you aren’t connected to your spirit.  Everything is funny from the perspective of the spirit.  This is why the most spiritually evolved around us are always smiling and laughing.  It’s a matter of perspective.  The higher the perspective, the less negative reaction you will have.

    Kol Drake

    Weather forecast for tonight:  Dark.  Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.


    Kol Drake

    The future will soon be a thing of the past.


    Beral Khan

    I have a sense of humour. :D  I really do.  My question is, is there any example of humour you know that ISNT at the expense of anyone or anything.  I love laughing and making people laugh. ;D


    Expense means you are harming someone else with your amusement.  I didn’t make it clear enough, but what I was addressing above are situations that aren’t meant to harm anyone else.  When you say expense, that’s a rather negative sounding word, and that’s simply not the situation with much humor.  I think the difference is simply whether something is mean spirited or not.  When jokes, for instance, are mean spirited, then that is a different situation from what I’ve been talking about.  It’s all a matter of feel. 

    But if you’re talking simply that there is always someone else involved, well, I laugh at myself all the time.  That’s what I was talking about with the higher level perspectives, where everything is amusing.  But I guess I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at.  It seems like you’re trying to show that humor is a negative thing with this, through the connotation of your question.  And that confuses me a bit.  I’m interested in any clarification you can give as to why you are asking this.

    Kol Drake
    My question is, is there any example of humour you know that ISNT at the expense of anyone or anything.

    My first ‘one liner’ is not at the ‘expense’ of anyone or negatively contrasted against ‘anything’. 

    What is the ‘basis’ for humor?
    Humor is context-dependent. It depends, among other things, on the listener’s beliefs.
    Humor is experience-dependent.  It depends on the education and experience level of the audience.

    For the most part, for a joke, word play, situational ‘joke’ to be understood and reacted to, the listener must be of a level of comprehension where — given, say, a word play joke — they must understand both meanings so they can process the ‘humor’ of the switched / double meaning of that word or phrase. 

    In Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift portrays the Lilliputians as preparing for conflict to the death because their neighbors open their eggs from the “wrong end.”   Swift’s narrative of the imaginary diatribe of political leaders transforms the reader’s understanding of matters of state.   We come to realize that, although countries have probably not gone to war for this particular reason, they have doubtless pursued war for equally silly reasons.    And that, of course, was Swift’s intention.   He used humor not to entertain, but to change the reader’s political views.

    Of course not all humor appears in linguistic garb.   One may find a cartoon or a silent film humorous. In the silent movie, Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin provides a series of vivid images of a worker tightening bolts on an assembly line.    It clearly showed the ‘poor little guy’ trying to cope with the giant machines which were taking over Industry.   Commentary and slapstick.   However, tribe members from some remote South American or African tribe would never ‘get it’ — due to lack of exposure to machines, factories, and industrial workers/conditions and relevant context which can tie it  to their normal way of life and beliefs.

    Now, they might see someone fall out of a tree and laugh their heads off.  Not due to the ‘better him than me’ response of some humorous situations… but because, in their world, folks just do not fall out of trees… it’s goofy to even consider such a thing for them.

    Look at most movies and television work of ‘humor’ frequently used by playwrights and script writers for TV sitcoms.   An event occurs, and then the event is described by different witnesses.   Each redescription reflects the differing alternate perspectives — and hence patterns of belief — of the witnesses.   The humor arises from the viewer’s flickering between the various descriptions of the event.   The viewer, however, does not merely passively consider each alternative pattern.   Rather he/she rapidly and actively oscillates between them.    This speedy and participatory flickering is the humor.   So, one must be mentally participating to ‘see’ the humor.

    While it may be presumptious on my part, I have to say, there has been the trend in movies and television to ‘dumb down’ the results to ‘play to the lowest common denominator’.   It’s a complaint voiced often over the last 30+ years.   And, if one were to only go by the summer ‘teen flicks’ — it’s all toilet humor, sexual oriented humor, and basic pratfalls and getting whacked in tender parts at the worst possible moments.    Luckily not ALL material is made to those low standards.

    Re: Stranger in a Strange Land

    It has been many many years since I first read the book… and probably the one ‘cut’ by some 60,000 words at it’s initial release.  Someday, I’d like to read the ‘whole’ (220,000 words) thing.

    To recap a bit of it…
    Valentine Michael Smith is a kid raised by Martians on Mars… and send back to Earth as a young adult.  Smith demonstrates psychic abilities and superhuman intelligence, which are coupled with a childlike naïveté.   When religion is explained to him, Smith understands the concept of God only as “one who groks“, which includes every living person, plant, and animal.   This leads him to express the Martian concept of the oneness of Life as the phrase “Thou art God”.   Due to his education on a different planet, many human concepts, such as war, clothing, and jealousy are strange to him, while the idea of an afterlife is something he takes as a given because the government on Mars is composed of “Old Ones”, the spirits of Martians who have died.   It is also customary for loved ones and friends to eat the bodies of the dead, in a spirit of Holy Communion.

    Smith is held in medical confinement until snuck away by well meaning friends… a sort of ‘us’ versus ‘the government’ thing … which spoke of the times the story was first released (1961) when the ‘Flower Power’ and ‘Peace and Love’ and ‘Do not trust anyone over 30’ movements were ramping up.

    Anyway, after wheeling and dealing, Smith is free to ‘experience’ the World, so to speak.  Once accustomed to the human race, Smith moves out with his ‘girl pal’ and joins a traveling circus as a magician.   Although his “magic” is real — levitation and teleportation — he is a failure as an entertainer because of his inability to understand people. 

    He eventually learns to understand humanity (“…I grok people!…”) when he comprehends how painful and unjust life is by watching monkeys mistreat each other in a zoo.   He also realizes that most humor is based on laughing at distress or indignities suffered by others.

    Heinlein’s book is similar to Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels in that it is a satirical commentary on ‘the way things are’ in the real world of the late 50’s / early 60’s.    It put situations (Smith and his beliefs) into contrast against … the government, religion/God, and what was considered ‘human nature’.

    Another way to look at the ‘monkey’ scene is… Smith has been raised in a totally alien culture from ‘ours’.  With his superior intellect and powers, ‘we’ must have seemed like ‘shaved monkeys’ in how we act and react to one another.  AND, from his limited exposure to humanity, he would ‘only’ see and process what he had been exposed to … in this stories case, humans being nasty to other humans.. all in the pursuit of ‘getting his power and wealth and stopping him from laying claim to Mars… and messing with the established religious ‘way of things’.  Again, a means, with satire, of making comment on the society and the world of the 60’s.

    I mean, a Martian named “Smith”?
    Heinlein purposefully did that as his response to all those ‘space operas’ where the alien always had a name no one could pronounce!  Usually because the author just pounded a punch of letters on the typewriter (not using any vowels) and claimed it was a name.   :P

    Anyway… yes, in a very limited view of humor… one could say it was ‘only’ at the expense of someone or something.  BUT, there is a whole range of humor which is NOT ‘that kind of humor’.   And if Heinlein wanted to educate his ‘martian’ fully JUST on the idea/philosophy of ‘what is funny/what is humor’… his novel would have been waaaay more than 220,000 words!  It’s a BIG subject to try to grok in one gulp.


    I usually find things the funniest when they happen to me, and am usually the first to laugh about it.


    Beral Khan

    This is why I enjoy being a part of this community.  Intelligent responses to things that hang within my closet of a head.

    I see the correlation between Swift’s work and Heinlein’s work and it makes it more understandable.  Your Forcast humour is but funny and truly not at the expense of any one or any thing.  Thank you!

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