Essay On Superiority Theory

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Superiority theory is the oldest theoretical approach to humor. The theories which view humor as an expression of aggression have been termed as the superiority theories. These theories are also known as disparagement or aggression theories. According to Plato, laughter originates in malice i.e. one enjoys to see the other person suffering or in adversity. The conception of humor as an expression of superiority is further developed by Thomas Hobbes (1651). Hobbes identifies humor with sudden glory and stated that “The passion of laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising from sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves by comparison with the infirmity of others, or with our own formerly” (Feinberg, 1978; Berger, 1993). This statement on humor formed the benchmark of Superiority theory of humor. Hobbes’s idea of humor built on the ideas of Ludovici (1933) and Rapp (1951). Ludovici proposed that superiority humor results from the awareness and recognition of having adapted to the societal norms in a better way in comparison to the others person who is being laughed at. In other words, it stems from “superior adaptation”. Rapp traces back the origin of superiority theory to human’s primitive self, stating that it is a feeling of pleasure derived from defeating an opponent. Hobbes…show more content…
Sometimes, it can also take the form of self-derision. It is one of the oldest themes on the basis of which humor is analyzed. According to this theory, a person can be found comical is therefore considered to be inferior, if he or she is inadequate according to a set of agreed-upon group or societal criteria. Both Plato and Aristotle wrote about humor as a form of mockery or disdain, usually self-directed, which should be kept at a minimum (Janco, 1984). The expression of humor as superiority can either serve the mechanism of control or a form of
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