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article imageOp-Ed: Using quantum theory to explain humor? It’s dumber than it looks

By Paul Wallis     Mar 21, 2017 in Science
Vancouver - For many years, people have been saying that analyzing humor is pointless. That hasn’t stopped people trying, and failing, regularly. You also have to wonder why humor, of all things, needs an explanation.
The story of using quantum theory to analyse humor is interesting, in a funny way. The University of British Columbia is trying to “decode the complexity of humor”. The findings from research include the fact that the whole of a joke is funny, but not necessarily the components.
Then (prepare for an epiphany) they discovered that there’s a “cognitive” aspect to humor. Meaning that you also understand the jokes. You ruthless swine, you. Instead of leaving the jokes to be understood by future, much smarter generations, you figure them out for yourself. How unethical.
Another staggering finding is that it’s what happens when you get the joke that relates to quantum theory. A word like a pun, a research subject, will have two meanings, and it’s the double meaning that’s funny.
OK. Enough bleating about the burning bush. No more harmonious half-witted homonymic hoedowns. Let’s cut curiously to the choices of humor. Another consideration is that to be humorless is to lack empathy, wit, intelligence, and sensitivity. It’s a sort of spiritual and intellectual death, in effect.
There have been so many attempts to define, categorize and analyze humor and explain it, presumably to those who don’t know. To save you some time - A few pointers for the hopelessly lost but hopefully well-funded:
1. Humor is logic.
2. Absurdity is a product of logic.
3. Rational thought is a product of logic.
4. Therefore absurdity and rational thought are very similar.
5. To be unable to see absurdity is to fail to see faulty logic.
6. “Funny” doesn’t necessarily mean “social”. People make up their own jokes, too.
7. Sarcasm is called the “lowest” form of humor; which is also why it rarely misses its target.
8. “Wit” is advanced humor, based on objective logic, to make a joke or comment.
9. Therefore advanced logic requires wit.
10. Are you sufficiently terrified yet?
Now – Can you analyse logic? Sure. You can drone on infallibly until people start dropping dead, and many pedants have done just that. Can you prove that logic itself is often illogical, because logic can be wrong, and is therefore potentially useless? Easy.
Can you analyse humor on the same basis? Logically, no. Humor may contain multiple elements, extended logic, and multiple interpretations. Therefore you can make a different joke out of the same joke, meaning the analysis of the original joke would be totally wrong. So the logic is variable, almost as if the person using it was alive in some way.
Suggestion: Do NOT analyse humor. Analyse the lack of humor, wit, or logic. Analyse the fact that humans have been laughing for untold generations. Analyse the proven fact that humor helps where few other things can even try to help. Leave quantum theory in peace to get on with its entanglements and other things that keep people guessing, and laughing.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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