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Sunday, January 22, 2012

humor

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Kathleen Wildfeuer


WldfrM@aol.com


Philosophy 100


0//0


Cheap University Papers on humor

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Humor, its not only funny


My favorite reading I did for philosophy class was “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.


I had studied World War II and the Holocaust in history class in high school. I knew about the gas


chamber’s and all the other cruelty inflicted on the Jews at the hands of the Nazi Party. What I never


thought about was the state of mind you would have to possess to have the will to live. Frankl not only


wrote about the horrors , but the thoughts and theories he had while a prisoner in a death camp.


While reading about his horrible experiences, I was amazed when he wrote about humor, “ the soul’s


weapon in the fight for self preservation.” I was picturing myself in Frankl’s place cold , hungry and


dirty, dressed in rags. Being awoken from a wooden bunk to march over the frozen ground to perform


slave labor. “How could I ?” I thought . “ A person with an outrageous sense of humor , find anything


funny in this situation?” I thought back to when I was young and in Girl Scouts. I was camping with my


troop at Gettysburg to earn a merit badge. The badge was normally only awarded to Boy Scouts , but


we were given the chance. It was early spring and the weather was cold and damp . Part of earning the


badge involved a long hike through the battlefield . Eager to fulfill this requirement we started off in good


spirits . We got half way through the hike and it began to pour down rain. We were cold , tired and


miserable . Our Troop leader told us to stop complaining about our predicament and focus on the


prestigious badge we were trying to earn. Miles to go to reach shelter ,there was nothing we could do but


continue . Somehow we got the idea if we thought of warm , comfortable things we all would feel better.


“The beach, someone said out loud. Florida , palm trees and sand” . “ What if we where there right now ?


said Another” . We started to crack jokes . Oh yeah it’s so hot I can’t stand it ! I forgot my bathing suit !


Laughing and joking the rest of the way we forgot about our misery. Before we knew it we where back at


our completely drenched campsite, but continued to keep the “joke” going all weekend . When we did


receive that Gettysburg badge we remembered that trip as one of the best times of our lives.


Although the conditions of my experience doesn’t begin to compare to Frankl’s in a concentration camp ,


I can understand why Frankl felt keeping ones sense of humor is important. I have always gravitated


towards humor when faced with difficult situations in my life . I try to look at these situations as funny


instead of depressing . Once I see the humor , I view my problems as a great story to tell one day.


If you ever watch your favorite sitcom on TV, most of what happens to the characters is usually some


pretty rotten stuff. They argue with their spouses , their kids get in trouble ,they lose their jobs ,etc. All the


difficulties that bring us down in everyday life also happens to them . The only difference is that the writers


and actors of these sitcoms work to make these situations funny . We can relate to these sitcoms and we


laugh . We should learn to laugh at ourselves the same way when faced with our own problems.


I discussed humor one night with a psychologist friend of mine , Linda Tufts . Linda told me that people


who learn to laugh at themselves don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what might happen to them


because they know they will find humor in almost anything. Nothing can be so terrible that


that they can’t crack a joke . They usually start their stories with “ the funny thing is , although I shouldn’t


be laughing…”


Linda also told me she was taught that the events of our lives , even the most devastating hardships , don’t


have as much influence on our mental health than does the way we respond to them.


I have read research done by Emily Bradshaw and Donna E. Haupt in “ The Good Health Fact Book”


in which they state, “ Laughter helps people breath easier , massages the heart and other vital organs ,


releases disease - fighting cells in the immune system, and like exercise, laughter quickens the pulse and


stimulates the cardiovascular system.”


They also point out “Humor leads to a positive outlook on life that guards against illness and may increase


longevity.” They also say , scientists had studied optimistic people against their pessimist counterparts.


They not only found a connection between pessimism and depression , but consider it a factor for


disease just like high blood pressure and smoking. Pessimists , they state , are more likely to develop


physical illness when stressed , often taking longer to recover after surgery than the optimistic.


Although I was born with a wild sense of humor , people are surprised to know that I also suffer from


depression. Through therapy I have learned to overcome my depression by taking the time to do the


activities I like to do. It is one of the reasons I am taking this class . I have learned once I am happy


doing my favorite activities , it is easier for me to look at the bright side of life . I look at people more


positively and recall events more favorably when I take the time for myself. I was advised by my therapist


that the positive aspects I have found in doing my favorite activities helps to develop my self- esteem


which nurtures joy in my life. She told me resolutions of inner conflicts clears the way for happy feelings.


Frankl wrote about that he practically trained a friend of his in the camp to develop a sense of


humor. Then he suggested to him to promise to invent one amusing story a day. I will think of those words


Viktor Frankl wrote and how humor among other things helped him survive in the death camp. I will try to


invent one amusing story to share at the dinner table with my family . I will also make the suggestion to


my friends.


My son Brett showed me a project he did for his sixth grade class the other day. He had to list the


qualities he likes in himself. He wrote that he was smart, that’s true he’s a A student. He wrote that he was


was good in sports , also true. He is the pitcher for his Little League team and will play in the Hall of Fame


this summer. What made me the most proud of him is he wrote “ I am funny”. I said , Brett are you funny in


school? He said ,“yes , I tell good jokes . Everybody wants to sit with me at the lunch table”. I am proud of


my son’s sense of humor because he has the and knowledge and talent to be successful in his life . I also


know he has a great sense of humor that will provide him with joy and happiness in his troubled times as


much as in his success.


.





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