Humor: Our capability to maintain social notoriety
Humor, as it is used today, is a generally positive connotation for anything that people do or say that evokes mirth and laughter out of others. This general concept of humor has developed only recently in modern day society. Interestingly enough this word has developed over centuries and has completely changed in meaning with new connotations for invoking laughter. Humor initially began as a Latin word (humorem) meaning fluid or liquid. As of today it still pertains to references of physiology such as bodily fluids, and aqueous and vitreous humors of the eye. It was the Greek physician Hippocrates who thought that good health depended on proper balance of four fluids or “humors” of the body, namely blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. This idea of humors possessing life-like qualities lead to the observations of the Greek physician Galen, who stated that these humors were associated with specific psychological traits, and therefore having an excess of any one of these 4 humors could change your temperament entirely. These views of humor are still noted in common colloquialism today when we speak of someone being a “good-humored person” or “in a bad humor.” Because the idea of humor was initially tied to physical substance, humor gradually developed psychological connotations relating to both enduring temperament and temporary mood. Until the sixteenth century, however, it still did not have any association with connotations of funniness or laughter. As time progressed through history, some people were viewed as the object of laughter, and therefore were labelled as a “humorist” whereas a “man of humor” was someone who enjoyed imitating the peculiarities of a humorist. Humor then came to be seen as a talent involving the ability to make others laugh rather than just being the object of laughter itself. It wasn’t until the 19th century, however, that the term humorist took on the modern meaning of...
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