Anecdota

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Humour: Funny things, laughing, and jokes (Earthlings 101, Episode 8)


Greetings, fellow aliens! Today, I will explain
something that puzzles many alien visitors: Funny situations, jokes, and laughing – in
one word: Humour. My videos are usually based on a mix of earthling
literature, alien sources and conclusions drawn from my own observations. Humour, however,
is a tricky thing which puzzles alien and earthling scientists alike. So, this episode
is entirely based on an earthling book released one solar cycle ago: “Inside Jokes – Using
Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind”. It provides the most convincing theory about humour I’ve
seen so far. You’ll find a link in the description below. Let’s start with a typical funny situation:
An earthling crosses a river, a body of hydric acid, by walking on stones, when one of the
stones turns out to be an animal. This mistake triggers a peculiar reaction: The earthling
produces strange rhythmic noises, called laughing. The whole phenomenon is called humour. Early alien visitors of earth thought that
laughing is an artificial respiratory distress induced by the brain, in order to punish mistakes.
However, this can’t be right, for earthlings actually enjoy laughing – which is very strange. Anyway, humour seems to be triggered by mistakes,
based on false assumptions. To understand what is going on, we have first to understand
the important role of assumptions for the earthling mind. Earthlings are often compared to levy drones
of the tax authority. Like drones, earthlings create a model of the environment in their
mind, in order to make decisions. This model is called “mental space”. Unlike drones, an
Earthling is even capable of handling several mental spaces simultaneously. For example,
one mental space for the present, one for last night, one for the near future, and one
for a video game he is currently playing. However, drones perform continuously full-spectrum
scans of the environment, whereas the earthlings’ rudimentary senses provide very incomplete
data. In consequence, the earthlings have to fill the gaps by making educated guesses.
In other words: Assumptions. A second problem is time. No matter whether
in an airplane or in a bar, Earthlings have often no choice but to make decisions in a
limited amount of time, based on incomplete data. So, assumptions are unavoidable, but
unfortunately, false assumptions can have fatal consequences. That’s where humour comes in. Let’s try to
define what humour actually is. Humour seems to be triggered by the discovery of a false
assumption – like the assumption that the thing in the river is a stone. But not every
false assumption is funny. For example, if the earthling is just sitting
at the shore of the river, sees what might or might not be a stone, but doesn’t decide
what to believe, it’s not funny. He has to commit to the false assumption; he has to
take it as truth rather than a mere possibility. Secondly, if he commits to a false assumption
which leads to fatal consequences like losing his legs, it’s not funny either – at least
not for him, right now. More generally, it’s not funny if the discovery of the mistake
is loaded with negative emotions. So, humour only occurs when the earthling commits to
an assumption which turns out to be false, but harmless. Thirdly, if the earthling wonders consciously
whether the thing in the river is an animal, then decides it’s a stone, it’s not funny
either to discover it’s an animal. It’s necessary that the assumption has entered the mental
space covertly. Let me explain this in a typically earthling manner: With a metaphor. Let’s say, this is the earthling mind. Many
assumptions enter the mental space by the font-door, are examined and analyzed, before
the mind accepts or refuses them. But some assumptions enter the mind by the backdoor
and establish themselves without having been thought over. Such sneaky assumptions are
vicious, if the mind trusts them, as they can do a lot of harm. Now we can define what humour is. It’s the
discovery of those sneaky false backdoor assumptions before they can do any harm. So, humour occurs
when : A) An assumption enters the mental space covertly. B) The mind takes it to be true. C) The assumption is revealed as false. D) The mistake is discovered without causing
harm or strong negative emotions. To be exact, the earthling book this episode
is based upon doesn’t speak of assumptions, but of active beliefs, which is a bit more
precise. But as often, I had to simplify some things in order to keep the video accessible
to anybody. There are two other species in the galaxy
which have a similar sense of humour. The difference to earthlings is that they hate
it. Both species live in the Aronian system and have been supervised by the same bio administrator.
Apparently, this administrator thought it would be a good idea to have their mind punish
them for discovering false assumptions. The result, however, was a disaster. One of the species, the Cunctators, became
obsessive with double- and triple checking everything before making the smallest decision
– even when they were, for example, chased by a hoard of furious enemies. This way they
avoided some mistakes, but they became incredibly slow and unable to make decisions under pressure.
Their world eventually became a planet of bureaucrats. The second species, the Schildarians, became
masters of not recognizing errors. The guildhall of the planetary capital, for example, has
no windows because the builders forgot to build them. But everybody pretends that everything
is fine. The cities of the planet are full of such architectural errors, which makes
it a popular destination for tourists. The earthling humour works much better: Instead
of punishing false assumptions, it rewards defusing those sneaky false assumptions before
they can do any harm. The goal is probably to avoid such mistakes in the future without
discouraging the earthling from making assumptions. But what about other peoples’ mistakes? Well,
watching someone else committing to a sneaky false assumption is equally funny – even more
if the observer discovers the mistake before the actor falls for it. It’s even funny if
the mistake is harmful, as long as the observer doesn’t care. However, death is rarely funny, except for
fictional characters or people the observer doesn’t care about at all. That’s because
earthlings consider death as something tragic, even when someone dies of old age. This is
strange, as earthlings and virtually all creatures on earth are biologically programmed to die
some day. Except for the microbes. Now we understand why earthlings enjoy humour:
It’s a reward for defusing false sneaky backdoor assumptions, before they can do any harm.
But that doesn’t explain the strange noises earthlings make when encountering humour.
Those noises are called laughing. To understand this, we have to examine two other things
which may trigger laughing: Playing and tickling. In episode 5 we have learned that earthlings,
especially earthling cubs, are used to simulate danger situations for training purposes. This
is called playing. Now, bystanders may mistake playing for real danger, especially if the
players emit alert signals such as screaming or calling for help. That’s why earthling
nature developed a “false alarm” signal: Laughing. When an earthling hears alert signals mixed
with laughing, he understands that the alert is not serious and that the danger only exists
in the fictional world of the game. Odds are that this “no danger” signal is the original
purpose of laughing. To understand tickling, we need some background
information. It has to do with two feelings: Pain and itching. Pain is a very unpleasant
alert feeling following an injury. Severe pain usually triggers screaming and calling
for help. Itching is another alert feeling indicating the presence of a parasite on the
skin, it triggers scratching to remove the parasite. Itching is less unpleasant than
pain, except when lasting for a prolonged period of time. But what has this to do with laughing? Well,
serious combat between earthlings, as well as ritualized combat, usually has the goal
to inflict pain. But playful combat, especially between earthling cubs, aims at itching rather
than pain, by touching sensible areas with the fingers. This is called tickling, and
the usual reaction is screaming mixed with laughing, in order not to alert bystanders.
Again, laughter is used as a signal that there is no serious problem. So initially, laughing is a communication
signal, more precisely a signal that indicates “false alarm”. Now, a surprise like the animal
in the river often triggers screaming before the earthling realizes that there is no real
danger, so the earthling laughs to cancel the alarm. That’s possibly the origin of laughing
as reaction to humour. Scientific advice. If you want to examine laughing, it may prove
difficult to obtain it with humour, as your test subjects will probably be terrified by
the situation. You might try out other methods like tickling or cannabis. But the simplest
way of making an earthling laugh is by making them inhale nitrous oxide, known on earth
as laughing gas. The alarm signal of screaming is actually
“infectious”: Screaming earthlings may make other earthlings scream, even if they don’t
know what is going on. This is called panic, and it’s a mechanism to alert a group quickly
in case of imminent danger. Now, if the “false alarm” signal of laughing has the purpose
of cancelling the screaming alarm, it has to propagate in a similar way. That’s probably
why laughter is also infectious. Strategic advice. When you invade earth, panic can be a powerful
weapon. An effective way of creating panic is to terrorize earthlings with mighty war
machines. However, when you hear earthlings laughing at their approach, your war machines
might not be as terrifying as you thought. One reason might be that you have underestimated
the size of earthlings. As mentioned before, funny situations are
rewarded by pleasure. But earthlings wouldn’t be earthlings if they hadn’t found ways of
creating this pleasure artificially. In its simplest form, the artificial humour is called
jokes. A joke is typically a funny story, question
or remark. Most jokes feature a fool falling for a false assumption. Sometimes the fool
is in the joke. Occasionally the teller pretends to be the fool. But more sophisticated jokes
make the listener the fool, by tricking him into making a false assumption. An example for the fool being inside the joke: “How do you get a Polari in a Q3 Mini Saucer?” “Tell him 16 of his kind are already inside.” In this case, the Polari is the fool. Of course,
the joke isn’t funny if you don’t know about the Polari culture’s obsession with the number
17. And even if I explain it, it won’t get funnier: Explaining a joke is like dissecting
an earthling – few people enjoy it, and the earthling dies. Other examples: “How do you get four squids in a Q3 Mini Saucer?” “One on the pilot seat, and three on the passenger
seats.” In this case, the fool is the teller who pretends
not seeing that the problem is the size of the squids, not the number of seats. “How do you get three Andromeda lawyers in
a Q3 Mini Saucer?” “You can’t, because the squids are still inside.” In this case, the listener is the fool, because
he was led into assuming that the two jokes are not connected, or in other words, that
they don’t share the same mental space. “How do you get t(w)o Polaris in a Q3 Mini
Saucer?” “Via hyperspace express line 37, exit Polaris.” Again, the listener is the fool who misunderstood
the question. This is a pun, a joke that plays with the ambiguity between words – in this
case between the plural of Polari, and the star Polaris. Now some more examples for my earthling viewers,
who don’t know anything about Polari culture and hyperspace express lines. “How do you know there is a squid in your
refrigerator? ” “By the tentacle traces on the butter.” How do you know there are two squids in the
refrigerator? You can hear them giggle when the light goes
out.” “How do you know there are three squids in
the refrigerator? You can’t quite close the door.” “How do you know there are four squids in
the refrigerator?” “There is an empty Q3 Mini Saucer parked outside…” Another form of artificial humour are comedies.
Comedies are full-fledged stories full of jokes and funny situations. Like all stories,
they are created in the form of novels, stage plays, films, etc. There is an ongoing discussion among alien
scientists whether the movie “Prometheus” is actually a comedy. On one side it follows
the classical comedy formula: “Some idiots go some place and do stupid things”. But on the other side, earthlings don’t laugh
when watching the movie. My hypothesis is that Prometheus is actually
a safety video for future astronauts. The goal is to warn about stupid mistakes one
can make in a space mission: Don’t hire morons! Don’t pet creepy alien creatures! Don’t smuggle alien goo on board! Don’t test alien goo on your fellow astronauts! And, for Galaxy’s sake: Don’t disturb the
siesta of a giant alien who wants to kill all earthlings!! Tips for tourists. Usually, earthlings will be afraid when they
see you. But when you visit North America during this time of the year, odds are that
you will make earthlings laugh. The reason is an annual ritualized game where earthling
cubs disguise as creatures of the night and grown-ups pretend to be scared by them. The
cubs find this funny, despite the fact that the mistake only occurs in the make-belief
world of the game. Anyway, earthlings will probably think you are a disguised earthling
cub. You might even make new friends and earn some free glucose. Earthlings usually think of humour as some
kind of gratuitous pleasure. But from an evolutionary point of view, it has a very specific purpose:
Training to defuse those nasty false backdoor assumptions, before they can do any harm.
So, once again, it all comes down to our old friend, the genetic imperative. In the next episode we will learn about earthlings
food: What they eat and drink, how they prepare
it, and why they love spoiled food like cheese or wine. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to be
alien!

100 thoughts on “Humour: Funny things, laughing, and jokes (Earthlings 101, Episode 8)

  1. yep, just start an "intelligence is sexy" campaign and then, people of lower intelligence would reproduce less, and those with higher ones would reproduce more. given the statistics that smarter parents tend to raise smarter kids, and then, it won't be too long till we're at type one (using michiu kaku's scales of civilizations)

  2. ye, and then we will look over the window, world is nice and smart, and you realise that you've worked for it all your life and that you are old and you gonna die.

  3. I am Suprised by the low ammount of views you have, your videos are pain genius, i've learnt more about social relationships in the last day that i did in my whole life…

  4. I love watching your videos over and over again. It's rare to find a show that has great replay value. Keep up the good work. — Earthling YouTuber NurdRage

  5. i THINK it's about the Queen of England
    meaning you should get the title of "Sir ZoggFromBetelqeuse"
    and your guess is right it's basically a ritual!!!

  6. Yes – but I'm playing the alien edition of X-Com where you actually have to conquer earth. Available everywhere except on your planet. 😛

  7. I love your videos. they are both entertaining and educative. please, keep doing them. You're awesome for making that, and this is all karma I can offer for purchasing your services.

  8. Did the cunctators eventually achieve bioadministrator status themselves? I think they would be great at navigating the galactic beuracracy. Or are the cunctators still progressing?

  9. Gimme dat! Why is it not available in our side of the omniverse? Which point in spacetime is it available?

  10. i think that this guy is an alien 😀

    realy inteligent he helped veretasium aout of a phisical problem so i realy think that he is a alien

  11. Well, "experimented" may not be the right word, as my action wasn't really conducted with scientific rigour. According to earthling standards, it would rather pass as practical joke: In a nutshell, I rigged the ventilation system of a nunnery… 😀

  12. I'm working on it. I finished the artwork during the lunchbreak, tonight (Central European Time) I'll start editing. It should be done in some days.

    Sorry for the delay, btw. I had things to do, planets to visit… I'm a busy alien.

  13. I'm a space alien – but sometimes I pretend to be a German earthling living in France who pretends to be an alien. 🙂

  14. I was wondering…why laughter is contagious? No, really. What are the evolutional benefits of a contagious laughter? Strenghtening the bonds in the group, therefore making it stronger? Or…erm, no, I can't think any another reason.

  15. The "meaning of life" is a typical earthling question, but I'll try to answer. I think, "meaning" (or "purpose") is a subjective thing. A company, for example, may hire an artist to make money – but the artist can see a different purpose in his work, like creating things that make other earthlings happy.
    In the same way, the fact that the genetic imperative wants you to spread the code does NOT mean that you can't find other meaning in your life, for example making the world a better place.

  16. You might also consider the VLogbrothers' answer to the question about the meaning of life : Increasing world awesome, and decreasing world suck.
    (In my opinion, "world" can in this context mean "the whole world", or "somebody's world" or something in between.)

  17. From my POV life has no meaning, but living is enjoyable, so my purpose in life is enjoying it. If I display any altruistic behavior it's because homo sapiens are social animals and my mind has evolved to give me a warm fuzzy feeling when I display such behavior :p

    Peace 😀

  18. I'm speaking of safety labels which indicate dangers that should be obvious to any intelligent being, like "Don't climb inside the Velociraptor compound".

  19. Yes I know, and I thought of safety labels that arent obvious. Like when dealing with chemicals, say for washing or gluing etc.
    You would have to study chemistry to use it w/o safety labels.

  20. Well done videos Zogg! Very enjoyable.

    I think the laughing is just a physical and emotional release to finding something funny.

    Just like when we punch or slap our leg (along with laughing) when we find something extremely funny. Or pee in our pants. Or roll on the floor laughing ('rofl' for our newest gen).

    I think the urge to release when finding something funny should be the focus to the question rather than the hardwired responses such as muscle tightening and vocalization.

  21. Hey Zogg how did earthlings101 decide upon the order of concepts provided in this series? Who are your galactic employers, or do you (or an independent team) work alone on this series? If you could rid yourself of the biological limitations of your species, how would you spend your existence?

  22. Sometimes, I can look back to moments that were funny, then laugh at them again, or I can hear a joke can be funny the second time around. Why is this?

  23. Dear Zogg. We have just arrived and due to the impossibility to receive your messages during FTL transport we are very happy you put them on Youtube for us. Since our ancestors Odin and Thor were here a lot has changed not all in favour unfortunatily. Getting the latest updates through your uploads has certainly helped us. The progress in science is however astonising and we should realize that humanity can not be fooled for much longer. On the return trip we will bring some Earth beer for you.

  24. because you didn't see it coming and it turned out to be surprising yet overall not very harmful. I think it's funny because it forces humans to deal with the part of the brain that punishes for being around waste. hahahaha

  25. laughing makes ones life longer. The scientific community is using this to produce.new medical technology

  26. Gotta love the "staplefahrer Klaus" reference; advantages of having a German "alter ego", eh, Zogg?

  27. Yeah… Prometheus was definitely a "how NOT to" guide for space explorers. At least someone out there got some chuckles out of it.

  28. 6:24 "As earthlings and virtually all creatures on earth are biologically programmed to die someday, except for: the microbes." … and Turritopsis nutricula, the immortal jellyfish.

  29. Martin? Who the heck is Martin? If you mean that crazy guy who claims to have invented me – yes, he's German.

  30. I had already made a strange sound when I saw the borg cube. I made a much louder strange noise when a borg head popped out jack in the box style.

  31. So why are the microbes so funny?  They're in every episode, we know to expect them, but they're funny anyway.

  32. i feel like this is more like crash course for autistic people than for aliens… lol

    i mean… a lot of the ways things are explained are how i think of them… and asd is me…

  33. "Explain a joke is like disecting a human. Few people enjoy it, and the earthling dies."
    Never explaining a joke again.

  34. Value of : treasure chest; 16552
    Value of : vase; 37552
    Value of : single sock; 37552
    Value of : Earthlings 101; PRICELESS

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