Humour


Humour is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body. Probably it has descended from the Latin umor meaning body fluid, control human health and emotion.

All people are subject to the emotional process that is called humour and the consequent experiences. The triggers, interpretation, or understanding of humour are variable, making it a very difficult phenomenon to measure.

Raphael’s School of Athens

Western humour theory begins with Plato, who attributed to Socrates in a semi historical dialogue character in the Philebus. He attributed the view that the essence of the ridiculous is an ignorance in the weak, who are thus unable to retaliate when ridiculed. Later in Greek philosophy, Aristotle suggested in the Poetics that an ugliness that does not disgust is fundamental to humour.

In ancient Sanskrit drama, humour is defined as one of the nine principle emotional responses, which can be inspired in the audience by imitations of emotions that the actors perform. Each emotional response was associated with a specific emotional imitation portrayed on stage. In the case of humour, it was associated with amusement.

The terms comedy and satire became synonymous after Aristotle’s Poetics was translated into Arabic in the medieval Islamic world. Due to cultural differences, the Arabs disassociated comedy from Greek dramatic representation, and instead identified it with Arabic poetic themes and forms, such as satirical poetry. They viewed comedy as simply the art of reprehension and made no reference to light and cheerful events or troubled beginnings and happy endings associated with classical Greek comedy. After the Latin translations of the twelfth-century, the term comedy thus gained a new semantic meaning in Medieval literature.

When objectively viewed; humour frequently contains an unexpected, often sudden, shift in perspective. There are, however, many who claim that humour cannot or should not be explained.

As with any form of art, acceptance depends on social demographics and varies from person to person. Throughout history, comedy has been used as a form of entertainment all over the world, whether in the courts of the western kings or the villages of the far east. Both a social etiquette and a certain intelligence can be displayed through forms of wit and sarcasm.

Humour occurs when the brain recognizes a pattern that surprises it, and that recognition of this sort is rewarded with the experience of the humorous response, an element of which is broadcast as laughter.

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The Alphabet Effect


The Alphabet Effect is a group of hypotheses in communication theory arguing that phonetic writing, and alphabetic scripts in particular, have served to promote and encourage the cognitive skills of abstraction, analysis, coding, decoding, and classification.

The theory claims that a greater level of abstraction is required due to the greater economy of symbols in alphabetic systems; and this abstraction and the analytic skills needed to interpret phonemic symbols in turn has contributed to the cognitive development of its users. Proponents of this theory hold that the development of phonetic writing and the alphabet in particular – as distinct to other types of writing systems – has made a significant impact on Western thinking and development precisely because it introduced a new level of abstraction, analysis, coding, decoding and classification.

A result of these skills, the use of the alphabet created an environment conducive to the development of codified law, monotheism, abstract science, deductive logic, objective history, and individualism. All of these innovations, including the alphabet, arose within the very narrow geographic zone between the Tigris-Euphrates river system and the Aegean Sea, and within the very narrow time frame between 2000 B.C. and 500 B.C.

The emergence of codified law in Sumer as exemplified by the Hammurabic code actually coincided with the reform of the Akkadian syllabic system and is not directly influenced by the alphabet per se but rather by a phonetic writing system consisting of only sixty signs. Also it has to be pointed out that there was a robust scientific tradition in China but that science as practised in ancient China was not abstract but concrete and practical. In fact the impetus for formulating the Alphabet Effect was to explain why abstract science began in the West and not China despite the long list of inventions and technology that first appeared in China. The Alphabet Effect provides an alternative explanation why China had been overshot by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes.

Another impact of alphabetic writing was that it led to the invention of zero, the place number system, negative numbers, and algebra by Hindu and Buddhist mathematicians in India 2000 years ago. These ideas were picked up by Arab mathematicians and scientists and eventually made their way to Europe 1400 years later.

The alphabet effect hypothesis points out that the alphabet facilitated the rise and dissemination of monotheism, by providing an easy way to write about a deity that is omnipotent, omnipresent, yet invisible. In contrast, monotheism did not succeed when Akhenaten attempted to promulgate it via hieroglyphics in Ancient Egypt, nor did it even arise in places such as China, which relied on an ideographic writing system.

Prior to the written word there was a monopoly of knowledge by priests. This was because literacy was seen to be very time consuming. Therefore all literacy was left in the hands of priests. With the priests monopolizing the content of religious texts there would be little or no dissension among the public. Thus the introduction of the alphabet substantially limited the power of the priests and religious texts were now open to society for questioning.

A social ramification of the introduction of the alphabet was the creation of social distinctions within society. Those who are illiterate within society are seen as being deficient and backward. Consequently, the development of the alphabet allowed for distinctions to be formed within society between the literate upper class and the illiterate lower class.

The development of the alphabet and hence the written word has also affected the impact of emotion. To translate a beautiful picture into words would be to deprive it of correctly articulating its best qualities. Therefore the written word has deprived both images and beautiful objects of the correct level of emotion with which to express their exact appearance.

The fact that the alphabet introduced the idea that a person’s writing could live on long after they died was another social ramification of the alphabet. This argument is also shared by Andrew Robinson. Robinson believes that the need for immortality has always been of extreme importance for many authors. As a result, the development of the written word allowed for the immortality of authors and their written works.

Semiotics


In linguistics, semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of sign processes, or signification and communication, signs and symbols. It is usually divided into the three following branches:

  1. Semantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata.
  2. Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures.
  3. Pragmatics: Relation between signs and their effects on the people who use them.

Semiotics is frequently seen as having important anthropological dimensions; for example, Umberto Eco proposes that every cultural phenomenon can be studied as communication. However, some semioticians focus on the logical dimensions of the science. They examine areas belonging also to the natural sciences – such as how organisms make predictions about, and adapt to, their semiotic niche in the world. In general, semiotic theories take signs or sign systems as their object of study: the communication of information in living organisms is covered in biosemiotics or zoosemiosis.

Mind Map


A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.

The elements of a given mind map are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts, and are classified into groupings, branches, or areas, with the goal of representing semantic or other connections between portions of information. Mind maps may also aid recall of existing memories.

By presenting ideas in a radial, graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps encourage a brainstorming approach to planning and organizational tasks. Though the branches of a mind map represent hierarchical tree structures, their radial arrangement disrupts the prioritizing of concepts typically associated with hierarchies presented with more linear visual cues. This orientation towards brainstorming encourages users to enumerate and connect concepts without a tendency to begin within a particular conceptual framework.

The mind map can be contrasted with the similar idea of concept mapping. The former is based on radial hierarchies and tree structures denoting relationships with a central governing concept, whereas concept maps are based on connections between concepts in more diverse patterns.

Ahimsa


Prabhupada Puspa Samadhi

Ahimsa is a term meaning to do no harm (literally: the avoidance of violence – himsa). It is an important tenet of the Indian religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and especially Jainism). Ahimsa is a rule of conduct that bars the killing or injuring of living beings. It is closely connected with the notion that all kinds of violence entail negative karmic consequences. The extent to which the principle of non-violence can or should be applied to different life forms is controversial between various authorities, movements and currents within the three religions and has been a matter of debate for thousands of years. Though the origins of the concept of ahimsa are unknown, the earliest references to ahimsa are found in the texts of historical Vedic religion, dated to 8th century BCE. Here, ahimsa initially relates to “non-injury” without a moral connotation, but later to non-violence to animals and then, to all beings. Though ritual sacrifice of animals and meat-eating are condoned in the earliest Vedic texts, other texts present counter-arguments against these activities. In the 19th and 20th centuries, prominent figures of Indian spirituality such as Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Swami Sivananda and A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada emphasized the importance of ahimsa. Mahatma Gandhi applied ahimsa to politics, by his non-violent satyagrahas.

Ahimsa in Jainism emphasizes vegetarianism and bans hunting and ritual sacrifice. Jains go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other minuscule animals and make considerable efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible. In accordance to this policy, eating of some foods, whose cultivation harms small insects and worms as well as agriculture itself, is to be abstained from. Violence in self-defense, criminal law, and war are accepted by Hindus and Jains. Though ahimsa is not used as a technical term in Buddhism unlike the other two religions, it condemns ritual sacrifice and violence, and moral codes emphasize the importance of not taking life.

Leviticus 21:16-21


16 The LORD said to Moses,

17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God.

18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed;

19 no man with a crippled foot or hand,

20 or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.

21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God.

See other: Often Ignored Bible Verses