Henri Bergson'S Essay Laughter

Henri Bergson'S Essay Laughter-57
For example, if a minister is giving a sermon, and there is a fly that keeps bothering him – our attention will be caught by the minister’s hand trying to chase the fly away, and the whole little scene will be funny.When it comes to intentionally causing laughter (i.e.

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telling jokes), Bergson says that the main issue here is building up tension and providing the audience an unexpected ending, and having a sense of right timing.

Bergson begins the work with a brief introduction in which he clarifies that his aim is not to define “comic” as a term, but rather to better understand the role of comedy in human life and how it relates to the individual and societal imagination.

Bergson’s famous principle of , the vital life force that underlies all living things, leads to the central motif of his theory of comedy, that “the mechanical encrusted upon the living” promotes laughter.

Any time a living thing takes on attributes of death or mechanization or rigid automatism, it ceases to be wholly alive and inspires social laughter.

So, Bergson’s texts are very diverting and useful, including his essay . The reasons are deeply rooted in the society in which we live, and laughter is connected to cultural norms, tradition, history, and many other factors that are difficult to understand.

One of Bergson’s main theses in this essay revolves around the question of what a human being is, what is so special about him and what causes him to laugh. Some critics (such as the Russian Vladimir Prop) have even offered some insights as to how humor differs accordingly, among various races and people.This is true in the physical sense, as uncommon types of clothes are funnier than common types, and in a behavioral sense, as uncommon kinds of walking are funnier than normal walking.Whenever our minds, which usually humanize the people around us, see others as physical things instead, this is cause for laughter.Bergson looks to Aristotle for a definition, saying that a . Laughter is controlled through social norms, and its mechanisms work completely unconsiously: Were man to give way to the impulse of his natural feelings, were there neither social nor moral law, these outbursts of violent feeling would be the ordinary rule in life.But utility demands that these outbursts should be foreseen and averted., Henri Bergson’s profound essay on the nature and source of laughter, grows out of his concern with the nineteenth century mechanization of life.For Bergson, life is ever in flux through time and space, and any divergence from this principle of flux, any attempt to fix or concretize life, is removed from life.Someone’s posture, gestures, or movements that are too mechanical and far from natural, human behaviour – will cause laughter for sure, Bergson says.Laughing will cetainly occur when our attention gets shifted from something that is connected to the soul or something that is sacred, to something completely of this earth and material.That would mean that laughing is, in fact – a malicious act, with mockery in focus.Truth is, laughing is something that connects us all, and it can be completely harmless, even well-intentioned.


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