Winston Churchill once said, “A joke is a very serious thing.” Stop chuckling; Winston Churchill wasn’t pulling your chain. Humor is indeed a very grave matter. Why is that, you might ask? Put aside its daunting power, and humor still has all of humanity hanging on its very whim. Laugh and the world laughs with you; In other words, world domination. There’s no escape either! It pervades our homes, our communities and even our institutions. Everyday, humor seizes the minds of the youth and exploits the wisdom of the elderly. It has even affected our infants; little children giggle for no reason whatsoever! What can be done about this spreading obsession? Well, I suppose laughing never hurts.
In order to comprehend the significance that humor plays in therapy, a concrete definition must first be acquired. Despite composing a significant aspect of all human life, humor is somewhat enigmatic. Across all intelligences, cultures and passions, humor has been manifested. Its definitions range from the simple and unadorned to the more enlightened interpretations. How can such an abiding yet unbounded notion be defined? Perhaps it would be best to start at the beginning. Originating from the Latin word for fluid, humor was first described by the ancient philosophers. Deemed to be the liquids that operate inside a body, humors were fluids that determined an individual’s temperament. An imbalance of these liquids resulted in an altered state of being, often to an unusual and laughable degree. For example, an increase of the humor blood resulted in a person behaving overly sanguine. Ultimately, as the ages passed, the word humor evolved to be associated with ‘oddness’ or ‘eccentricity’ for the peculiar temperament an imbalance would cause. Following such colloquialism, a ‘humorous’ man was one who exhibited the radical behaviors of disproportionate humors. After much transformation, humor finally became to be identified by modern society as the ability to find amusement at the oddities and incongruities of life. From obscure beginnings, humor transcended both time and cultures, yet maintained its initial purpose: regarding the health of mankind.