HUMOR AND LIFE, MY PERSPECTIVE. By: Manohar Sapre.

DEAR ALL, I am pleased to present the following brief on humor, rendered as per my modest

understanding of the subject. Right from young age I have been a dedicated fan of humor as the only source of my personal joy. May be later on this alone had stimulated my passion for selecting cartooning as a hobby and career. Thus I have been a free lance cartoonist for over forty years. During all these years I laboriously tried to grasp the fundamentals of the compulsive desire to pen down my impressions on it. However, at the outset I must humor with all it's variations, and it is now at the ending phase of life and career I have felt confess the limitations of my mission. My first major limitation is language. English has never been my language of learning, hence I may not be that precise in selecting a proper my surmises are inevitably based on my simple common sense. Therefore, as a novice I entreat you all to pardon me for my verbal and conceptual lapses and erroneous through this text, and educate me by your additive and corrective feedback. THE HUMOR POSTULATE.. comic alternative implicit in it, hence all that a humorist has to do is to ably find a comic All humor involves an axiom or a postulate that every human situation and event has a contentions, if any. From my end I will be extremely delighted even if you care to go idiom of expression. Secondly, I do not have a scholastic depth in the subject, therefore all

substitute for it. Hence in my humble and modest way I have broadly defined humor, as an attempt at restructuring facts and events in a comical way. Therefore, it is a challenge for a humorist to covert an otherwise simple situation in to a comic one with his prowess and manipulative skill. Here is an example that shows how a humorist, by a little twist, metamorphoses the whole situation in to a mighty comic scene. For instance in one political gathering a politician throws a monotonous harangue at an already bored audience by saying " I want social reform...I ,want political reform...I want cultural reform...I want industrial reform...I want religious reform and afterwards suddenly fumbles for further whereby exploding the whole gathering in to a peel of teasing laughter! Such and qualification of humor alone! words, a bored voice from far behind of the gathering unexpectedly barks, "Chloroform!", instant reversal of the whole context of a situation in to a comic one is an unmatched skill

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From the above axiomatic postulate, quite logically follows the ubiquitousness or pervasiveness of humor in all life. Normally a particular manifestation of humor is relevant to the given event or occasion, yet humor as such lies dormant beneath all life events, even in the most undesirables like misery and death. For example Viktor Frankle in his celebrated title "Man's Search for Meaning" says,"To discover that there was any semblance more astonished to hear that one could find a sense of humor there as well; of course, only the faint trace of one, and only for a few seconds or minutes. Humor is one the soul's else in the human make-up can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any weapons in the fight for self preservation. It is well-known that humor, more than anything situation, even if for a few seconds." He gives an analogy of gas to prove the point. For example when even a small quantity of gas is pumped in to an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber is.The same way humor pervades all life and all events and situations in it. That is why one finds the spread of humor from shrines to cemeteries. Years back I had seen a cartoon in Punch, in which are depicted two near death seniles hospitalized. Out of them one vehemently debates with better and lasting material for tombs, which both of them will shortly be needing! the other by saying "I think granite is better than marble!" Obviously the hot debate is about The ubiquitousness of humor in life logically makes it all pervasive and all inclusive, so of art in concentration camp must be a surprise enough for an outsider, but he may be even

that whole life becomes it's subject matter. Genetically being a social, or a gregarious creature, man necessarily creates an intricate web of human relationships around him, which in common parlance is called society. The conglomerate comprises of several functional systems, which further are divided in to smaller sub-systems likes circles within a circle. They all act and react within themselves, and at times create such quaint and odd situations so as to become a ready fodder for the humorists. DISTINGUISHING FEATURES OF HUMOR EMOTION 1.'Amusement through Surprise' is the basic character trait of all humor. Normally we all

are prone to accept all facts on their face value. Hence we unwittingly tend to eliminate all novel comic alternative, that instantly stimulates fun. For instance Traditionally "Love one rarely works all through life. To highlight this reality, the humorist merely changes the original word order to "if not, love another one!" and instantly renders a naughty laugh! 2. Surreality is yet another prime characteristic of humor. It always floats in an

other interpretations of a given situation. In such a scenario humor attempts to provide it a another" is an age old common counsel given to married couples, knowing though that this

imaginative contextual space, and at times stretches so far as to appear almost bizarre. But

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this is done merely to install in it the required humor charge. In fact, to give the real an unreal feel is the real skill of humorists, and they prove to be superb and unparalleled in he is more than true! 3. Compactness is another salient feature of humor. For creating an instant explosive effect humor compulsively has to be flashy, and for this it needs a trigger sharp focus like a war head. This becomes possible only when the context is squeezed up to a needle sharp point. In other words the rule is to say maximum in minimum! This is necessitated because the humor core of a situation is always molecular by nature, and this nascent core needs just a calibrated expanse to explode. Even a minimal excess, or indulgence in this weakens it's comic thrust. In this context an ideal example of compactness is as this- when someone asks "How is your headache", the shot back reply is "She is o.k. now!"-Thus, it can be rightfully said that laughter is an instant finale of the measured compactness of the context. this craft! Hence when Charlie Chaplin says that "Fantasy takes the real and then brights it"

4.That humor does have a therapeutic function also may sound a bit quaint, as this serious mental health business is reserved for clinical psychology and philosophy. However this is a proven fact that it can also fruitfully act that way. For instance even a bit of mimicry by elders can instantly make a wailing child laugh. John Lane in his celebrated title "The Art of Ageing" very aptly says " The gift of humor is one of the most important we can hope for. It can liberate us from the narrow prison of our ego, act as lubricant in relationships and lightens occasions and conversation. Laughter also helps us physically. Scientific studies reveal that it reduces stress and triggers the release of substances called endorphins, which can elevate one's mood. A recent study of Roma Linda University in California suggest that laughter can unleash the same changes in the body chemistry as a quick bout of physical exercise. Prolonged laughter, it is claimed, can lower blood pressure and boost immune activity." Of course, commonly seriousness no doubt plays a more significant role in life, hence conventionally a few inconsequential matters are permitted for lighter humor. This contention seems wrong, as it is already proved that even a sad and sober subject like death can also become a subject matter of lighter vein, as shown below:An epitaph in a cemetery in England: Remember man, as you walk by, as you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so shall you be, remember this and follow me.

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(Someone added the lines below) To follow you I'll not consent until I know which way you went.

In the above context, therefore, it can be rightly said that " Imagination was given to us to compensate for what we are not, and a sense of humor was provided to console us for what we are" When once I stumbled across a quote saying that, "when you laugh, you are one with God that all is good!", I was just stunned because It made me instantly aware of a very novel purpose underlying all forms of Humor. May it be a company, or a crowd, whatever passes as humor, the resultant laugh necessarily marks the end either of a monotony, or some depressing anxiety, or a prolonged anticipation. Thus humor covertly assumes a cathartic function. In precise words of Desmond Morris "laughter is really a kind of relief- cry" This must be so,or else how we can explain the fact that the best of humor in human history was born in the worst humiliation and tribulations of the Jews under Nazi and Stalinist regimes? 5. Personally I am enthralled by a rather queer feature of humor. That is the anonymity of

it's creators. Although there is ample humor whose authors are known and recorded, yet remains shrouded and unverifiable. Historically enormous quantum of such anonymous humor was floated during the Nazi and Soviet regimes due to coercive censorship. In contemporary times much of the internet humor too belongs to this category of the unknown.

there remains an overwhelming quantum of class of the unknowns whose parenthood just

6. Yet one added queer feature of humor history is that in far past there were no career humorists barring court jesters, but that does not mean that humor was not a part of life in general. In fact, it was very much existed as it is to day, simply because laughter is an integral part of human psyche designed as an indispensable thermostat to maintain

emotional balance of society. However, though creation of humor needs a special talent, or an aptitude, in every society we find even ordinary people by propensity can act as master humorists, when occasion demands! For instance, when one such citizen in U.S.A. is vexed by a persistent problem of roof leakage, instead of lodging a violent protest just shoots a comically thorny letter to the Senator as below:

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Mr. XXX, Housing Committee, Senate Gentleman, Please do something about our house. The roof leaks. leaked so bad that I finished my soup three times. Yours, XXX 7. During one of my lectures on the art of cartooning I Was asked a question whether I had encouraged my wife to be a cartoonist, and in a lighter vein I replied, "she did attempt that way and during it showed me one of her cartoons, and when I laughed over it, she was wild with anger and stopped the work." This mere fun apart, since then the question that has been haunting me is-why the quantum of female humorists is negligible as compared to men? Why as yet there is no feminist movement in this arena? I dare not call this situation a humor speciality, but venture to say that as a fact this surely is a negative one! FUNCTIONAL TYPES OF HUMOR Obviously the universal function of all humor is to distort reality in such a way as to I was having dinner during storm last night and the roof

deliver at the end a comic entertainment ranging from mild smile to a bursting laughter. However, in this the humor genre seems to fork in to two primary directions.Though character wise both types are entertainers, at a certain point they do fork in to two divergent directions. While the one primarily aims at mere momentary frivolity and thereafter quickly withers off, the latter after the initial entertainment continues to deliver some well calibered and long lasting message.This species is specifically known as satire.That is why it is defined as a value bearing statement, and thereby alone is respectfully treated as a classic variety. Here is a class piece , which though mild in

entertainment, yet enlightening a lot!. It is a short tale of two angles straying in to a cemetery. While strolling one goes on reading the scripts on the epitaphs of all the tombs, and when stupefied by finding uniformly overblown praise for one and all the virtuous dead, exclaims "Gosh! I wonder where they bury all the sinners these days!" After a bit of

instant smile the reader's mind immediately skies on towards an implied message, that turns out to be a pretty serious one. In this instance the inscriptions on all the tomb stones universally declare the dead as virtuous, though the facts are totally otherwise, i.e; every one of them is a sinner in some or other quantum, or in the context. So thereafter the questions come up as to why such blatant hypocrisy is universally committed and perpetuated? Is it

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because everybody ardently and deliberately wishes to be buried as a virtuous individual for eternity? Or, is the tradition calculatedly customized by people to suit their collective ego? BROAD SPECTRUM OF SATIRE.... Human life in general seems to be absurd meaning abound with anomalies and contradictions, and this exactly is the raw material for satire. As a lasting fan of this variety my curiosity has been to search for it's basics. Interestingly I found it in the thesis and anti thesis of the normal and the abnormal. In this context, what we call group normalcy is, in reality, an oddity or an abnormality itself, though we Homo sapiens painfully struggle to shroud it under a superficial veneer of normalcy. Satirical humor's all attempts are to expose this odd and grotesque synthesis. In common parlance these are called hypocrisies, or more plainly deliberate compromises. To expose them by a little touch of the comic is the very aim and skill of a master satirist. Charlie Chaplin has been a maverick in this craft. Therefore he is very right in saying that "The professional comedian is paid large sums of money by audiences, who enjoy the assurance of checking their group normality against his assumed abnormality." any given context:Following two samples will mightily show how sharp and pungent a satire could be in The subject of the first is the rabid consumerism of our times. These days we are totally governed my market economy so much so, that every human value has become a commodity itself, including even religious faith. Backed up my boundless enormity of adds sales are being pushed up by various incentives through ingenious freebies. I saw one suburb cartoon that has exposed this mechanism par excellence. The drawing is set in a jubilant atmosphere of Christmas celebrations. It shows the vicinity of an illuminated church crowded around with billboards offering free gifts on purchases. In between there is a huge bill board raised by the Church depicting the 'Ten Commandments'. The cartoonist Any two commandments Off!" craftily just added a novel text on the top of the bill board saying "Special Christmas Offer! The second one is from Irish humor text. Exploitative legal profession therefrom is the

subject matter of it. The wit says that a very famous pleader got his huge full portrait drown by a celebrated painter and hung it in his vast office. It showed him standing erect with his hand in his waist coat jacket as per prevailing western tradition. While cleaning the office one servant saw it and commented to his companion that the painting seemed flawed. The surprised fellow raising his eye brows questions "How?". On it the first one quietly retorts "Have you ever seen a pleader putting his hand in his own pocket?"

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POLITICAL SATIRE While we come across abundant satires on every facet of human life, it is the political field where satires roosts most! This is quite understandable because it is the political field that contains maximum compromises that becomes the fodder for the satirists. I myself have been a political satirist hence have been seeking the answer for the why so? As per my self interest and public interest, and the pathological patch up sought between them. I would quote a little punch that makes the point sharp clear. It is a case of a statesman addressing a mass of voters, and it the fit of eloquence declares,"I stand for the greatest happiness of the greatest number!". Thereafter when some one from the audience asks what is meant by greatest number, he coolly says "One!", and the matter ends there. This is the most frank admission of a political reality I have ever found in humor. The aforesaid notoriety finds reflection in political theory in the form of a conflict contention the answer lies in the basic antagonism between the two colliding impulses like

between ideology and power. An ideology is a theme or scheme of values that is proudly projected as an ideal for application in multiple human behavior. Power is a kind of command over people, resources, money, publicity, psyche, faith etc; In the upward ladder of various power structures, political structure is at the peak, because it is the political state that alone possesses coercive power. That is why a state is defined as an ultimate mechanism to solve disputes. Every state has to have an ideology, or in simpler terms a policy. It is this value motto that propels the ethos of the masses coming under its domain. Now whatever may be the spoken ideology, in application self interest of the rulers is the agenda. However, they just cannot afford to make this selfishness overt or open, hence they need to masquerade or circumvent it in an altruistic verbiage. In other words they need to 'we want'. In execution of a program, should there be some resistance from any quarter, they resort to a beneficial compromise to overcome it. These compromises are so skillfully core of the contradiction. drafted as to conceal the inner dichotomy. It is for the satirist to expose or unmask the inner Global history is replete with glaring compromises as said above, and many of them are substitute the epithet 'we' for 'me'. That is why politicians never say 'I want' but instead say

immortalized by the humorist. I am deliberately quoting below two rather old samples simply for their classic worth. Rhodesia, where once upon a time a white colonial regime ruled in the South Africa, where color bar or apartheid was strictly observed as a constitutional policy. The then government badly needed to raise a steel plant. They persuaded the Japanese to provide it, and they agreed to it. Accordingly I advanced Japanese study team of reached The country. Some of these team people while strolling the streets strayed in to a swimming pool, which was

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strictly reserved for whites only. Seeing them the personnel there quickly kicked them out. Outraged by this humiliation the Japanese vehemently protested to the government and threatened to quit the country, unless they were honorably admitted to the same swimming club. It was a great dilemma before the rulers, as neither could loose the Japanese, nor could they legally compel the private club to admit them. At last an ingenious compromise was hatched in which the government issued an ordinance declaring the Japanese as legally white! This comic reality is more than any humorist can boast! The second old satire is from the famous columnist Walt Buchman, who had

metamorphosed a then political event in to a great satire! The event relates to the American invasion of Dominican Republic. The a republic then was riddled with severe internal strife, in which the American stooges were on the run. There was no way left except sending American forces there to boost them. Such a decision therefore amounted to a blatant violation of international law of non interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. The action therefore needed a justifying platitude, which America did invent. In result American forces invaded the country under the pretext of locating the American tourists and bringing them back home. In the scenario one American Joe hearing this news rushed to the airport to go back home. He was stopped at the entrance of the airport and was told that he cannot fly back home because he was the only American tourist left then. RATIONALE OF HUMOR IN GENERAL In surmising my inferences on humor I am inclined to say that the seed of the comic lies in the basic existential contradiction that pervades all human life. It is an inevitability because a human being is at root an amalgam of an animal and man. Correspondingly his world too is binary, i.e. genetically he inherits all the instinctive make up as an animal, and

concurrently, as a human being he has a value universe too! These being antithetical every one is perennially at war with himself or herself. This is inevitable because man's thought world of reason requires orderliness or mathematical consistency and in contrast his world of animal instincts continues to push him towards behavioral anarchy. Acting unilaterally as per rational consistency is simply impossible so also an all time submission to his wild an unhappy compromise between the contradictory ends.The tactical acrobatic emotions also is unbearably embarrassing. Hence mostly people take the route of hatching undertaken in this are by nature comic, The satirist simply turns such covert situations in to obvert ones by his satirical treat. In short, being an animal species a human individual is primarily driven by the principle of self interest,which in fact is an off shoot of his instinct too. This dilemma needs to be resolved at every stage of life. To resolve it he often takes recourse to a subtle compromise by masquerading self interest in to some form of altruism. for survival. However, simultaneously his instinctive sociality pushes him towards altruism

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Though historically politicians are known to be notorious for all sorts of ambiguities, self contradictions and hypocrisies, ironically by the same logic individuals too do not escape these sins! That is why whole life with all it's multi shades becomes the subject matter of humor in general, and satire in particular.

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