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Philogelos
Can jokes be telltale of human evolution?
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2013/11/06
2:15am
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Robert
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Do jokes become less funny as they age ? My opinion is yes, as, oftentimes, an old show or film will only make me remember how I was so floored by it, or were it older, only inspire a tender respectful feeling for the arts of a different time.

To go way way back, there was the Philogelos, a compilation of jokes passed down from antiquity. With few exceptions, the jokes therein seem to inspire not so much of chuckles as a sense of how the working of the mind has so profoundly changed with time, so that those jokes might just as well be a kind of benchmark that tells how we humans have truly evolved, today a race quite distinct from our forebears.

2013/11/09
12:08pm
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deaconB
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There is an argument that says humans don’t evolve.   When a   species reaches a certain stage, they protect the less fit members, and thus they survive to procreate.

Not everyone agrees – but they have a novel definition for evolution.

2013/11/10
2:07am
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Robert
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I’ve seen that too. But while the ‘less fit’ procreate, the ‘fit’ just stop and watch ?

Regardless, the coming changes in human thoughts and methodologies will be so fast and furious they will be tsunami compared to any puny genes-based evolution that our experts have spent so much ink and hot air over. These big changes will happen within individual lifetimes, and will practically make new species out of us even as we watch.

Where the future is concerned, Evolution à la Darwin won’t be worth debating any more; it’s not right or wrong, just moot.

2013/11/10
3:46pm
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deaconB
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Robert said
I’ve seen that too. But while the ‘less fit’ procreate, the ‘fit’ just stop and watch ?
 
Where the future is concerned, Evolution à la Darwin won’t be worth debating any more; it’s not right or wrong, just moot.,

The “fit” use birth-control; the disabled can’t afford it.

Everything I learned in high school and most I learned on college is now wrong.   Genetics is only half the story as we have eugenics,   And I was taught there were only three states of matter, that faster-than-light was impossible, that matter and energy were conserved, and time was one-way.   I’m moot.

2013/11/11
6:46pm
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Robert
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Beg to differ on the moot part. Learned is one who unlearns.

2013/11/12
4:38am
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deaconB
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Robert said
Beg to differ on the moot part. Learned is one who unlearns.

My genes are not going to be propagated by myself, nor do I have sufficient contact with my herd to affect their ability to survive and breed.   Unless, of course, I spot a Powerball Lottery ticket on the ground, and it turns out to be the winner.   Young ladies of intelligence would obviously realize that their children would benefit from a wealthy father.   But the odds of winning the Powerball are not improved by holding a ticket. In terms of evolution, I’m as moot as any winner of the Darwin Awards.

2013/11/14
10:08pm
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Robert said: To go way way back, there was the Philogelos, a compilation of jokes passed down from antiquity. With few exceptions, the jokes therein seem to inspire not so much of chuckles as a sense of how the working of the mind has so profoundly changed with time, so that those jokes might just as well be a kind of benchmark that tells how we humans have truly evolved, today a race quite distinct from our forebears.

You know, I always wondered what jokes were like thousands of years ago. So after looking up this site on the Philogelos I read the 45 entries cited. And I have to disagree that there’s any evidence of “evolution” therein. Sure, the words are different, but the themes of the jokes are much the same as today: wordplay, sex, racism, and health/sickness/death. Same as today. Any culture, any era, same themes.

So are we that much different from our ancestors in the content of our humor? I think not.

 

2013/11/16
9:42am
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Robert
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I am sure there are computer software out there that concoct from hopes, fears, exaggeration, absurdity, everything known to tickle man, and every shade in between. But they will still be short of the secrete sauce. Why is it that a word misspelled tickles? If you can figure out why man laughs, you have figured out man. It seems to me those ancient jokes suggest at least some alterations in that sauce, whatever it is. I do grant some are still quite, well, good.

2013/11/16
11:31am
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deaconB
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Robert said
If you can figure out why man laughs, you have figured out man.

In Ringworld, Larry Niven created a species without a sense of humor.   A “Pierson’s Puppeteer” never had to choose between fight or flight; they were great cowards.   Laughter is the result of the release of tension when a defense mechanism is interrupted.   No same creature would ever interrupt a defense mechanism, explains a puppeteer.

I note that ‘inappropriate” humor is a symptom of mental illness.

2013/11/17
6:50am
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Robert said

If you can figure out why man laughs, you have figured out man.

That is apparently what the extraterrestrials are attempting in Isaac Asimov’s Jokester.

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