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Gratis
Henri Bergson

Laughter : an Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

In this great philosophical essay, Henri Bergson explores why people laugh and what laughter means. Written at the turn of the twentieth century, Laughter explores what it is in language that makes a joke funny and what it is in us that makes us laugh.
One of the functions of humor, according to Bergson, is to help us retain our humanity during an age of mechanization. Like other philosophers, novelists, poets, and humorists of his era, Bergson was concerned with the duality of man and machine. His belief in life as a vital impulse, indefinable by reason alone, informs his perception of comedy as the relief we experience upon distancing ourselves from the mechanistic and materialistic. “A situation is always comic,” Bergson notes, “if it participates simultaneously in two series of events which are absolutely independent of each other, and if it can be interpreted in two quite different meanings.” The philosopher's thought-provoking insights (e.g., “It seems that laughter needs an echo. Our laughter is always the laughter of a group.”) keep this work ever-relevant as a thesis on the principles of humor.
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    Nastya Kurganskayahar citeretfor 5 år siden
    must make a distinction, however, between the comic EXPRESSED and the comic CREATED by language. The former could, if necessary, be translated from one language into another, though at the cost of losing the greater portion of its significance when introduced into a fresh society different in manners, in literature, and above all in association of ideas. But it is generally impossible to translate the latter.
    Nastya Kurganskayahar citeretfor 5 år siden
    In Moliere's plays, on the contrary, it is the moods of the persons on the stage, not of the audience, that make repetition seem natural.
    Nastya Kurganskayahar citeretfor 5 år siden
    the living from the merely mechanical. Let us take the counterpart of each of these: we shall obtain three processes which might be called REPETITION, INVERSION, and RECIPROCAL INTERFERENCE OF SERIES.

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    Мария Савиных
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