Henri Bergson's Theory Of Laughter As A Necessary Social Norm

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Henri Bergson Why we laugh has become one of life’s biggest questions, having been pondered by everyone from ancient Greek philosophers to college students taking a philosophy class. As I took a step back to think about what makes me laugh, I found myself agreeing with French philosopher Henri Bergson who attributes laughter to the incongruities that arise in a social context. In my research I learned that Bergson saw laughter as a necessary societal function that is defined by ridiculing those who lack an understanding of societal norms. By providing examples that define humor in our modern society and adjusting a few aspects of this theory, I will prove that Bergson’s theory of humor is the closest theory that both aligns with the Universal…show more content…
Bergson believed that laughter was derived between the relationship of tension and elasticity. He found that these two idea where intertwined as they displayed the “living pliableness of human beings” (121), claiming that humor arises from situations of mechanical inelasticity, defined by those exhibit a lack of “inadaptability to social life” (124). Also, Bergson found that laughter often arises from an inability to adhere to social norms and by laughing at our incongruous actions, we are being invited to correct them. With the Internet acting as a conduit for the zeitgeist of humor, I found a plethora of examples that prove Bergson’s point of humor mocking the mechanical inelasticity of others. The most glaring example’s can be found in our current political climate in which decisions that would go on…show more content…
Bergson introduces the idea of humor being used as a positive tool that encourages individuals to grow and learn from their mechanical inelasticity through which we view society or one another. Through a slight alteration in the context through which we perceive jokes, Bergson’s theory perfectly encapsulates the reasoning behind humor, which can be used to either poke fun at things that don’t meet societal standards or your own personal standards. So next time, whether you find yourself laughing at a meme about soda or find yourself amused by a child’s laughter, just remember
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