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Humor As A Tool For Managing Society - Alternative View
Humor As A Tool For Managing Society - Alternative View
Video: Humor As A Tool For Managing Society - Alternative View
Video: The Skill of Humor | Andrew Tarvin | TEDxTAMU 2023, February

Humor is a part of our life, people are used to its entertaining role, acting as consumers. Every normal person, which is due to the physiology of the body, wants positive emotions, joy, fun. I would like to escape from problems, worries, laugh heartily, have a good time. And for such a pastime, a whole industry was formed, which provides such an opportunity to everyone who has access to television, the Internet, radio, newspapers, that is, it covers almost the entire civilized population of planet Earth.

And it would be good if not for one "but". The fact is that when perceiving jokes, laughter, the psyche enters a special mode of functioning, the features of which allow the use of humor as a means of controlling people. And since the knowledge about this phenomenon became the property of a certain group of people, "healers" who took on the function of managing peoples, humor has been used to promote certain ideas, tendencies, attitudes into society.

In this article, we will try to disassemble the entire process from beginning to end, identify the main techniques that are used to introduce this or that information to help readers identify these techniques in order to prevent manipulation by the aforementioned “healers”.

Humor - what is it all about

Humor is the intellectual ability to detect logical contradictions in the surrounding world

There are various forms of humor: irony, satire, parody, anecdote, caricature, pun, etc. According to this generalized definition of humor, taken from encyclopedias, the individual reveals some absurdities that have occurred (including in the individual's fantasy), but should not have happened if we correlated with his ideas about the world around him.

Joke. The plane is flying over the regions of the far north. The stewardess enters the cockpit and says to the pilot: "There, the locals ask you to fly lower, they will jump." Pilot: "these locals got bored, three will jump, seven will jump …"

As you can see from the example, there is a situation that cannot happen in life, you cannot jump on the plane while walking. There are logical inconsistencies. After these logical inconsistencies are identified, there is an increase in the neurotransmitter dopamine, so the brain reward system "thanked" for the analytical work done, followed by positive emotions, fun, joy, laughter.

Laughter - rhythmic movements of the diaphragm, intercostal muscles, caused by an increase in dopamine

The more dopamine, the more laughter. Relaxation occurs after the stressful work of the psyche to analyze the incoming information, but now it turned out that the situation is not dangerous for a person, you can relax.

Promotional video:

But before we analyze how the psyche works in the perception of jokes, let's think about why a person is generally given positive emotions, pleasant feelings.

As it was possible to find out from psychologists, positive emotions are given to a person to confirm the correctness of actions. Indeed, how else can primitive man in nature understand what needs to be done and what not?

And like this: through the reward system, through feelings and emotions.

  • Ate a fruit - got a pleasant feeling - right, you need to eat for life.
  • I took up the breeding process - the same thing.

Everything is expedient in nature. The system of instincts, feelings, emotions of biological species is arranged in such a way as to stimulate development. Why do pleasant feelings arise as a reaction to humor? We think that's why. A person has identified a logical inconsistency, which means his intellect has worked out, which means that intellectual development is taking place. Is it necessary for the development of mankind? Certainly. Well, now let's take a look at the whole process that takes place in the psyche after the perception of a joke.

Humor as a control tool

All information that reaches a person through the senses is processed in some way. With a high culture of organization of mental activity, a watchdog algorithm is independently formed, which allows you to filter information at a high, qualitatively different level … Its job is to evaluate all incoming information and, by marking, assign it to one or another category. Why is this needed?

Let's consider an abstract example. Let's say we have a rack with many compartments. There are various materials. And each department is signed (marked): self-tapping screws are large, self-tapping screws are small, screws with a blue cap, screws with a red cap. nails, etc. While working, we take the necessary materials from the departments and use them in our work. Likewise, in our psyche, information is marked and sorted "on the shelves."

If the information is assessed as "reliable, or corresponding to reality," then it is passed on, becomes the property of memory, and then is used to make decisions about life.

If the information is assessed as “false”, then it is not further used to make decisions, although it also becomes the property of memory, and a marker “false” is “stuck” on it.

If the guard algorithm cannot classify the information as either true or false, then it is placed in the so-called "quarantine", where it remains until a solution is found that will unambiguously determine its fate.

This watchdog algorithm can be called "critical thinking" in another way. It allows a person to sort information and consciously make the right decisions in life.

After the humorous situation has been worked out, positive emotions arise. But if you look at emotions as a biochemical process, you can see the production of certain substances. We have already mentioned the neurotransmitter dopamine. When dopamine levels rise, the brain can no longer correctly decide what is good and what is bad. Feelings give more pleasure than usual, colors become beautiful and bright, voices are loud and rich in timbre, any associations seem possible and reliable. Almost any first thought that comes up seems right and interesting. It becomes harder for the brain to switch to events coming from the real world, because inside suddenly everything has become so interesting and important. Thus, for a while, certain areas of the brain are turned off, just those that are responsible for critical thinking.And dopamine is also produced in anticipation, in anticipation of the event for which the "encouragement" will occur, and a feeling of pleasure will arise. This means that people watching a humorous program, already in anticipation of pleasure, turned off the watchdog algorithm and are ready to receive any information "necessary" to someone.

It is on this effect that the technologies of using humor as a means of control are based. After a joke, critical thinking turns off for a while, and you can load the "necessary" information into memory, bypassing the watchdog algorithm. And if the jokes go one by one, then you can download rather large and complex images that will later be used by people in shaping their behavior as "truthful". Of course, this is possible in the absence of a culture of thinking, which is what characterizes most of the inhabitants in our time.

Humor as a variant of the second stage of "Overton windows"

Since humor is an integral and very important part of our life, at least because it is a source and bearer of positive emotions (joy, laughter, smile, etc.) and is able to solve or help solve problems of the development of the individual and society, provided that to understand and feel it as an algorithm, and as a tool for solving practical problems. And also if we distinguish it as a control mechanism from the outside and internal settings, i.e. self-management.

Since, in our opinion, control is an informational process, and information is an objective category of the universe in which we live, the individual self-governs and controls from the outside precisely on the basis of information that has entered his psyche (realized or not) through different feelings (one of the facets Mera's sense is humor, it is often defined as a sense of humor).

The sense of proportion is multifaceted

As mentioned, we are self-governing and managing based on the circulation of information. The first step here is to launch or let new information into the system (psyche).

At this stage, I would like to designate such technology as "Overton windows", which will allow the reader to clearly see the algorithms and the role of humor and try to build an attitude towards different forms of humor and sharpen their sense of proportion!

“Overton's Window of Opportunities” is a technology for changing the attitude of society to issues that were once fundamental for this society, described by the American sociologist J. Overton (1960 - 2003)

According to Overton, there is a "Window of Opportunity" for every idea in society. The management of public opinion goes through public discussion, representing a gradual shift in the topic from one stage of desacralization to another.

So at the first stage, such information is perceived as inconceivable, because the individual first encountered it and it does not fit into his picture of the world and world outlook, it is necessary to develop a stereotype for this information and give it an intermediate assessment.

(one of our next articles is being prepared on the topic "algorithms of the psyche")

At the next stage, if the assessment is ambiguous, the task becomes more difficult. In order for an individual or a system to continue to develop, the same information comes under a "different sauce" - that which was previously unthinkable passes into a phase radically, which also suggests that for a certain number of elements it became acceptable, here statistics and statistical predestination. And it is humor as a tool in the prevailing culture that drives these statistics, which took shape in the technology of "Overton Windows"

Overton Window
Overton Window

Overton Window.

As mentioned in the article above, humor changes the sensitivity threshold for critical perception of information. On the one hand, it helps to live and solve pressing problems, in the event that a person has a meaningful attitude to life and perceives the information entering his psyche, first through a sense of proportion, and only then through other human feelings. If personal feelings are not sufficiently developed, that is, the measure is violated, humor becomes a dangerous weapon for those who have developed goals and methods of management.

Analyzing and relying on this technology, we can assume that at the first stage, the culture receives information that has the same algorithm - dubious and destructive (including as pressure and stimulus for development), which requires determining what is good, what is bad, then this process becomes more complicated - changes the algorithms (precisely so that the person and the social system continue to develop), the threshold of sensitivity decreases, stimulating the development of a sense of proportion. In our opinion, this second stage is carried out mainly through the humorous segment of culture, which deals specifically with the sense of humor as the edge of the sense of proportion.

A person begins to show emotions of joy for something that yesterday caused him a completely different spectrum of emotions. In the event that there is no understanding of this algorithm, a person lets in destructive information into his life and takes the path of degradation, where what is funny today becomes acceptable and desirable tomorrow.

Laughing at the LGBT

Many have heard of promoting LGBT culture around the world.

LGBT - from the English. LGBT. Stands for Lesbian + Gay + Bisexual + Transgender - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender

The legalization of same-sex marriage, gay pride parades, restrooms for persons of undetermined sex, and many other phenomena unnatural to human nature have become the norm for many. All processes are manageable. We manage this one too. Various methods were used to promote LGBT people, which together led to the current state of affairs. In this article, we will consider the role of humor in this process. How it is used to promote negative phenomena in life.

We believe that the process began in 1959 with the release of the film "There are only girls in jazz" on wide screens.

Still from the film "There are only girls in jazz"
Still from the film "There are only girls in jazz"

Still from the film "There are only girls in jazz".

Let us briefly recall the plot.

A group of male musicians looking for work find out that there are vacancies in a musical group going on tour. The only obstacle is the female team. And then our heroes decide to change into women's dresses and pretend to be women. Further, the plot of the comedy is played out around this comical discrepancy

We foresee the objections of the layman who will say: "Well, we laughed a little at the men in women's dresses, nothing happened." Indeed, the day after watching the film, gay pride parades did not go through the streets of Europe. But this is why competent management, unnoticed by the average man, promotes at first unacceptable phenomena that enter life as if by themselves, without revealing the structures and ways of promoting these very phenomena. And one of the "masking" factors for the advancement of negative trends is time… Processes are stretched out in time, therefore they are not perceived by most as a chain of related events that have a beginning and an end goal. Most are used to thinking in short periods of time (two weeks before and after today), this is facilitated by the use of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, as well as modern information technologies (social networks, messengers), dividing life into short periods, creating clip thinking.

Let's go back to the movie. What has changed in the minds of the audience after comical situations with dressing up? What was the moral assessment of the situation "a man in women's clothing"? Unacceptably!!! And as a result of humor, when critical thinking is turned off, it entered the psyche as: "in some situations - acceptable." That is, men should not wear dresses, but for a laugh they can. Thus, the "Overton window" has passed from the state of "unthinkable" to the state of "radical"!

Who remembers the final scene of this movie? Recall that according to the plot, an “ordinary” man falls in love with a disguised man. And in the frame, one man asks another man (in disguise, although this is not so important) to marry him! We invite our readers to "tighten up" this situation themselves.

How humorists helped Hitler

Let's talk about another historical event that can be viewed from the standpoint of using humor to achieve well-defined management goals. In 1940, the film "The Great Dictator" was released on the cinema screens of Europe.

Charlie Chaplin as the "dictator"
Charlie Chaplin as the "dictator"

Charlie Chaplin as the "dictator".

The most famous comedian of the time - Charlie Chaplin played the main role in this film.

Sir Charles Spencer (Charlie) Chaplin (born Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin; April 16, 1889 - December 25, 1977) - American and English film actor, screenwriter, composer, film director, producer and editor, universal master of cinema, creator of one of the most famous images of world cinema - the image of the tramp Charlie

And he played neither more nor less, Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler (German.Adolf Hitler; April 20, 1889, the village of Ranshofen (now - part of the city of Braunau am Inn), Austria-Hungary - April 30, 1945, Berlin, Germany) - German politician and orator, founder and central figure of the national socialism, founder of the totalitarian dictatorship of the Third Reich, head of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (1921-1945), Reich Chancellor (1933-1945) and Führer (1934-1945) of Germany

The plot of the film is built from a set of comic situations in which Hitler is presented as an object for humor. I must say that Chaplin is a talented actor, and all of Europe laughed at Hitler. So, what is next? And then the public ceased to perceive Hitler and his regime as a threat, which allowed him to conquer all of Europe with much less effort than it could have been. By the way, perhaps it was for this that a monument was erected to Chaplin. Do you know where? In Switzerland! Now ask yourself a question: why did Hitler conquer all of Europe, and did not go to Switzerland, although there were banks filled to the brim with gold? Is it because it was in Switzerland that there were people who controlled all the processes, including Hitler himself?

Monument to Ch. Chaplin in the city of Vevey, Switzerland
Monument to Ch. Chaplin in the city of Vevey, Switzerland

Monument to Ch. Chaplin in the city of Vevey, Switzerland.

In general, actors, singers and people of other public professions are often used to promote some ideas into society.

The role of humorists in the collapse of the USSR

Come on, dear reader, this section of the article takes a different approach to considering humor to achieve goals. Let us put ourselves in the place of the subject of government, whose task is to destroy the Soviet Union. This, of course, requires a whole range of measures. Let's imagine that other people are working in other directions, and our sphere is the media and humor.

So. What we have. 80s of the XX century. Soviet people, in contrast to the inhabitants of capitalist countries, have in their assets: free housing provided by the state, free education, medicine, affordable prices for goods, a powerful army, no unemployment, spa services, social guarantees.

What's in the liabilities: a shortage of some goods, difficulties with travel abroad, lack of fairness in the distribution of benefits between different strata of society, bureaucracy, alcoholism, theft at workplaces.

The challenge: to get people to give up social achievements.

Concept: highlight the negative aspects, introduce into the culture of society the opinion that everything is bad by means of frequent mentioning. To ridicule social achievements by downplaying their importance. Introduce the idea that everything is better abroad - both goods and life.

Expected result: people should easily abandon the gains of socialism, because through humor their importance is reduced.

What we do: we put a lot of humorists on the TV screen who, by doing their job, will help us achieve our goals. We put into circulation anecdotes, jokes.

Now let's remember what happened in reality.

Here are a couple of jokes from that time:

There are two tape recorders - Japanese and Soviet. Soviet says:

But about the Soviet system:

The generation older than 35 can remember that at the end of the USSR and especially with the beginning of perestroika, the number of humorous programs increased, KVN “revived”, many publications of the “yellow press” appeared in print, which were teeming with jokes and anecdotes. Humor has done its job. The task of the collapse of the country was completed. A team of reformers under the supervision of the Western administrative elite destroyed all the achievements of the USSR, and the popular indignation was thrown off through humor. While the people laughed at the satirists' jokes, the country was governed against the interests of the majority.

Classics of humor

In Russian literature, a humorous interpretation of any phenomena of reality is based on methods of exaggeration or understatement, play on words, and the use of phrases with a double meaning. Humor is used by the authors in order to highlight negative phenomena in society, human vices.

The goal is to induce society to reflect on the identified negative phenomena, to change themselves and their attitude towards them

Unlike everyday life, in literature, humor is used in more graceful forms - satire and grotesque.

  • Satire is a work of art that sharply and mercilessly denounces the negative phenomena of reality. In other words, an evil mockery in literature, as well as in the form of a caricature, usually over a vice of society or some phenomenon.
  • Grotesque - like satire, it is usually a work of art. However, unlike satire, grotesque is not a realistic exaggeration, a mixture of the real and the fantastic, creating absurd situations, comic inconsistencies that contradict common sense. In other words, pure believability violation. In general, grotesque is different in that the funny is not separated from the terrible, which allows the author to show the contradictions of life in a concrete picture and create a sharply satirical image.

Grotesque is a combination of the real and the unreal, the funny and the horrible, the beautiful and the ugly. The grotesque technique is practically not used in real life, this technique applies only to the literary genre (for example, in Saltykov-Shchedrin's work “The History of a City,” the mayor stabbed himself with a cucumber.)

Satire refers to comedy genres that sharply denounce and ridicule vicious acts, low motives, and ugly manifestations of social conflicts. Satire actively uses laughter as a means of collective criticism. Through the prism of satire, the problems of society and the state system are perceived more sharply.

There are satirical motives in the works of such great Russian writers as L.N. Tolstoy, F.M.Dostoevsky, I.S.Turgenev and many others, but, perhaps, the most prominent representative of humor can be called Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol.

Most of Nikolai Vasilyevich's works are either entirely satirical in their pathos and structure, or those in which satire occupies a very significant place.

Before Gogol, in the tradition of Russian literature, in those works that could be called the forerunners of Russian satire of the 19th century (for example, Fonvizin's "The Minor"), it was typical to portray both negative and positive heroes. In the comedy play "The Inspector General", proposed for consideration, there are actually no positive characters. They are not even outside the stage and outside the plot.

The play "The Inspector General", written in 1835, consists of five acts.

The plot of the play is based on a typical comedic incongruity: a person is not mistaken for who he really is. At the same time, the main character, Khlestakov, does not try to pass himself off as an important person. His frankness, the unintentional nature of his actions confused the mayor, who "deceived swindlers from among swindlers."

The main impetus for the development of the work, as we remember, is fear. It was fear that united the "elite" of the district town.

What happens in the play brings out their true ugly and funny faces in the characters. The play, like a mirror, reflects the shortcomings of the life of the Russian empire at that time.

“Who are you laughing at? You laugh at yourself”- these words are addressed to the reader (viewer)

In The Inspector General, we laugh, in the words of the author, not at “crooked noses, but at a crooked soul,” perhaps for the first time discovering a whole spectrum of negative phenomena in the life of society.

Lawlessness, embezzlement, selfish motives instead of concern for the public good - all of this is shown in the form of those generally recognized forms of life, outside of which the rulers cannot imagine their existence.

It is impossible not to notice that comically serious bustle that covers the entire county town before the arrival of the inspector (the mayor, who gives instructions and other characters in the play are busy with their business as the greatest task of life, and the reader and viewer from the outside can see the insignificance and emptiness of their worries), all this outburst of activity characterizes an atmosphere of haste, confusion and fear.

Gogol's comic, as a rule, follows from the characters of the characters. Laughter also causes the discrepancy between the characters of people and their position in society, the discrepancy between what the characters think and what they say, between the behavior of people and their opinion. At the same time, Gogol's humor is more popular and practically has no personal connotation.

Bribery and sycophancy of the heroes is most vividly demonstrated in the fourth act, when city officials "on a military footing" line up to give a bribe to Khlestakov, and he, thinking that he is taking on a loan (and, being sure that having got to his village, he will return all debts), accepts money from everyone. Khlestakov even begs for money himself, referring to a "strange case" that "he was completely spent on the road." Further, petitioners break through to Khlestakov, who "beat the governor with their foreheads" and want to pay him in kind - wine and sugar.

A more grasping and cunning servant, who is well aware of the whole situation, strongly recommends Khlestakov to quickly get out of the city before the deception is revealed. Khlestakov leaves, and finally sends his friend Tryapichkin a letter from the local post office.

In the final fifth act, the unintentional deception is revealed - the incognito is empty.

The deceived mayor has not yet had time to recover from such a blow when the next news arrives. An official from St. Petersburg who is staying at a hotel demands him to come.

It all ends with a mute scene.

The creator of this school of satirical and humorous prose in Russian literature is M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin.

"The History of a City" and "Fairy Tales for Children of Fair Age" became an example of the virtuoso use of sharp satirical and humorous techniques with elements of the grotesque.

In Saltykov-Shchedrin's tales, truth and joke exist, as it were, separately from each other: truth recedes into the background, into subtext, and the joke remains the sovereign mistress of the text. But at the same time, she (joke) is not a mistress at all, she only does what the truth tells her. And she covers the truth with herself so that she, this truth, could be seen. Hide to pop. Mikhail Evgrafovich uses the following literary-satirical technology: "We write a joke, though in our minds." Therefore, a fairy tale, whatever is invented in it, is not fantastic, but quite realistic literature.

The fairy tale "Dried vobla" was written by Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov - Shchedrin in 1884. The main character is a vobla, whose superfluous has been weathered, cleaned and dried, so she has no extra thoughts, no extra feelings, no conscience. Of course, she heard that all this happens in society, but she never thought about those "who had such surplus." The vobla did not pry into its own business from unreliable companies and in every possible way avoided those who "talk about constitutions."

She taught everyone wisdom, and her life principle was “so that no one knows anything, no one suspects anything, no one understands anything, so that everyone walks like drunken people, because“do not grow with the mind above your forehead”.

Having listened to the dried roach, many began to adhere to its principle and did nothing. Shchedrin asks: "And then what?" and calls for a serious understanding of the interests of their homeland.

Making fun of liberalism and cowardice in the guise of a vobla, the author was filled with passionate love for his country and people. And in our time there are people like dried vobla, who do not care about anything, they think only of themselves. "Dried vobla" is a vivid demonstration of the process of "mortification and deadening of souls that have submitted to evil and violence."

Classical literature demonstrates how humor can and should be used for the development of society, to identify and overcome vices. So that the reader does not get the impression that only negative can be promoted through humor, we will give an example that clearly demonstrates the use of the technology of introducing attitudes into the subconscious with critical thinking turned off. Let us recall a scene from the movie "Only Old Men Go to Battle".

The main character, teaching recruits, says the following phrase: "in battle you need to turn your head 360 degrees" (after this comical discrepancy, the watchdog algorithm turns off), and continues: "die yourself, but help your comrade."

The last phrase enters the subconscious of the recruits and firmly sits there, making them real heroes, capable of feats for the sake of their people.

Correct examples

In fact, in the last section, we began to show that humor can be used not only for harm, but also for good. Let's continue talking about positive examples of its use, so that the reader does not get the impression that humor is uncontested badly and has only a negative impact.

Everyone has bad deeds, injuries, oversights. If a person seriously thought about his mistakes for a long time, he would at least fall into depression. Treating them with humor allows you to relieve tension, not to get hung up.

There is, however, one point. When treating your actions with humor, the main thing is not to overdo it. After all, if an individual has committed a bad act, and then talks about him with humor, this can block the rethinking of this act, because critical thinking will not work, and conclusions will not be drawn.

Our president demonstrates excellent examples of “correct” humor:

At the award ceremony for the laureates of the Russian Geographical Society V.V. Putin asked: "Where do the borders of Russia end?" And then he himself replied: "The borders of Russia do not end anywhere."

Let us explain. The given joke is multi-layered, considering it from different meanings, we still get a positive effect for us. At the moment, sanctions have been imposed on Russia, our country is surrounded by NATO bases, for many the idea of ​​expanding the borders of the Russian world is unthinkable. But with this joke, the president moves the Overton window to a state of "radical". The Overton window technology was discussed above, but here we show that using this technology it is possible not only to promote negative trends, but also positive ones.

If we consider the president's joke from a conceptual level, then this is an open statement about the Conceptual power of the Russian people on the entire planet Earth. A concept cannot be effective if it is local and concentrated in one hand. At the moment, this is the "Western Model of Globalization". The global concept can only be in the interests of all people on planet Earth and should be based on simple understandable truths. The Russian world has such a concept, and the president is neatly expanding its boundaries. Unfortunately, most of the population (and other countries too) do not understand this. To deliver complex information to people's heads, the Russian president uses humor (bypassing consciousness).

There is such a category of jokes that stands as if by itself, this is the so-called "black humor". It touches on comical moments in situations in which it is not customary to laugh. Not only people can joke, but also "Higher powers". Let's consider one such example. A pension fund official passed away before retirement age. But it was he who convinced from the screens of the need to raise the retirement age. The Almighty, in whose power birth and death, arranged this way. It is not death that is comical, but the situation of the bunch of the official's sphere of activity and the scenery of his death. Here we are shown the futility of raising the retirement age.


Smile, laughter, humor are an integral part of human nature. And it so happened that this objective phenomenon began to be used to achieve subjective goals by those who understand this social technology. But, according to the law of time, these technologies are identified and described. Now man is armed with knowledge and methods of recognition of these technologies. By developing his sense of proportion, a person can be protected from the introduction of wrong assessments of various negative phenomena into his psyche. Humor and laughter can bring joy without harming any person or society.

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