Publication Happening!


Finally back onto my blog after far too long.

Depression is a Hell of a…drug? That isn’t very nice to drugs. It really takes away the will to create. And live. Suicide didn’t win once more. 

I have had a few successes in the real world too, which pulled me up and also kept me from this blog.

  1. Full-time employment for the first time in my life. America: am I right?
  2. Many performed funny stories at Grown Up Story Time Houston. Stories vary in themes, such as big black dildos and my childhood dreams of being a Ninja Turtle. These stories are not connected, I assure you.
  3. My first book chapter publication will be coming out in 2021! It will be from Demeter Press. It will focus on applying Dennett and Hurley’s research on the evolution of mirth and why evolution didn’t “evolve” men to be funnier than women. Slap to the face of Hitchen’s ghost.

The real success though is that I am writing. The real success is that I am still laughing and still pretty much funnier than everyone else. The real success is that I am still here.

More musings on mirth to come!

Kierkegaard Goes to the Faculty Training Session


The coffee was poured from the cardboard box Saturday morning as the training session’s commencement was announced. Today was the day that new, innovative teaching strategies would be explained to the part-time faculty at All-State Community College.

Søren slowly walked in late and poured a paper cup of full of coffee, kept it black and unsweetened. He then slowly walked to the chair in the back. He was always a fan of walking slowly.

The new teaching strategies we shot forth into the air with grandiosity and unparalleled certainty. These were the panaceas to solve the struggles that plagued the existence of the overworked adjunct professors. “These strategies will end your troubles and give your student what they need to know to go out into the world and be successful!”

Søren rubbed his eyes, then went on to pull on his hair, spilling his coffee on the confetti-patterned carpet. “How can anyone think they can end the troubles of our existence?” he thought.

“As teachers we need to develop a culturally responsive pedagogy!” the instructor said.

Søren raised his hand to speak. “What is an adjunct professor? An unhappy person who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like wisdom…. And people flock around the adjunct professor and say: “Teach again soon’ – that is, ‘May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the words would only frighten us, but the wisdom, that is wise, yet dull. But repeat it again every semester.”

His comment was ignored and the education on education continued, Power-point slides, one after another.

“We must use Story-telling as a Teaching Tool!” the instructor declared, failing to tell a story to get the point across.

Søren raised his hand to speak once more. “I can tell a story to teach, yes, the story of Abraham and Isaac. You see, in this tale, the ethical expression for what Abraham did is that he meant to murder Isaac; the religious expression is that he meant to sacrifice Isaac—but precisely in this contradiction is the anxiety that can make a person sleepless, and yet without this anxiety Abraham is not who he is. Students need to know this!”

His comment was ignored and the education on education continued, the tapping of keyboard keys clicking, one after another.

“We must utilize groups to help the class progress. ‘You are Strong, I am Strong: Let’s Work Together’ needs to be a mantra,” the instructor declared, ironically with no help from anyone else.

Søren did not raise his hand, but freely chose to speak at that moment. “Socrates did not stop with a philosophical consideration of mankind; he addressed himself to each one individually, wrested everything from him, and sent him away empty-handed. And that is what we really must do for our students: leave them empty handed, right?”

His comment was ignored and the education on education continued, the sipping-sound of coffee, one after another.

“We need to encourage our students! They must leave the classroom with a sense of optimism from their educational endeavor,” the instructor declared without a glimmer of hope in her voice.

Quickly, Søren proclaimed, “The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have. This wisdom will really help the students along their journey as beings who must live life forward.”

His comment was ignored and the education on education continued, throat-clearing and coughs, one after another.

“We must teaching for Critical Thinking,” the instructor said, reading from the script.

“I did not gradually learn reflection. I am reflection from first to last.” Søren did not say this out loud, but reflected upon it, and went to fill up his cup of coffee, failing to notice the mess he had made in the classroom.



Some quick pick-me-ups from Søren


Working on a bigger piece, will be posting more original material soon!

“What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?”

“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.”

“I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.”

How You Spent Your Evening


You’re sitting alone, looking outside a window at an Epicurean paradise: a group of friends engaged in conversation, a simple light snack of nuts and berries (a small pile of cheese as well). And how unnecessarily necessary is the wine and beer.

You have cultivated an inevitable Kierkegaardian moment. Alone watching the Epicurean moment through a window makes the world a dumb-show. Or is that Sartre? Shit. You hate yourself for not being able to remember where the window/dumb-show example came from.

“If coming into existence is as great a harm as I suggested, and if that is a heavy psychological burden to bear, then it is quite possible that we could be engaged in a mass self-deception about how wonderful things are for us. Some people find this suggestion implausible.” (Benatar, Why It IS Better Never to Have Come into Existence) You sure don’t find it implausible.

You just read an article about how it is wrong to bring children into existence, for existence promises more harm than good. So the happy Epicurians outside the window hold their cute baby unknowing that they have been very bad hedonists. They have brought about a state of more harm than good, thinking it was in everyone’s overall good. They have pleasure in their child, their friendship, and cheese, but really this all promises more harm than good in the scheme of overall existence. Their child will suffer more harm than good, as will the adults in the end. But not right now. Carpe diem, for tomorrow they shall die, but, alas, they never do.

“We would not take a slave’s endorsement of his slavery as conclusive evidence that slavery is in his interest. In the face of an argument about why he was not benefitted by his enslavement, we would view suspicion his enthusiasm for his own enslavement. We should do the same thing about people’s enthusiasm for their having come into existence.” (Benatar)

You tell your spend the evening reminding yourself of this least you forget the truth of all existence. Or perhaps you are really jealous of those who never knew it.

God’s Not Laughing: Incongruity, Humor, and Divine Knowledge (1)


What could God find humor in? Could God be laughing at the Gary Larsen Far Side comic? What makes this comic funny might be best explained by the theory of incongruity, in which what we find humorous is that which is out of place or out of line with our everyday expectations. The incongruity theory is one of the most widely-held ideas about what makes something humorous, perhaps what can best explain all things what we routinely find hilarious. Going by a very traditional view of a Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, God cannot be laughing at something that is incongruous. By analyzing the requirements for incongruity to be found humorous alongside the nature of God’s knowledge, I will show that an amused state cannot be achieved by omniscient God with such divine knowledge, since incongruity cannot occur in the perception of such a God.

Incongruity Theory of Humor

The Incongruity Theory of Humor originates from the works of Hutchison, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Schopenhauer. This theory proposes that the essence of all humorous states involves something which deviates from the norm. Take for example the Far Side cartoon “Inconvenience Store”. What is found funny in this image and caption are the variety of unexpected details that do not follow everyday patterns. We are used to the norm “convenience store” but this norm has been subverted by the prefix “in” to negate it. This is a linguistic and social irregularity rolled into one. Also, the concept of a convenience store has deviated from what it is expected to be (a place where it is easy to grab a snack or two and be merrily on your way) to a place which is its opposite (a place where it is impossible to grab a snack or two and be merrily on your way). We may even find the incongruity in the cartoonish shape of the put-upon customer looking up, as it is not the normal shape of a person to be this stout, round, and neckless. This is why humor is often achieved through cartoons, since they can be like us but at the same time be divergent from the norm enough to arouse humor.  Most of us are not that thin, that gray-skinned, that pointy-haired, that maniacal looking, that drool-lipped, but cartoons can be.[1] Schopenhauer writes, “[t]he case of laughter in every case is simply the sudden perception of the incongruity between a concept and the real objects which have been though through it in some relation, and laughter itself is just the expression of this incongruity.”[2] Concept: convenience store, easy and quick access to good for real people. Image: difficult to get goods posing as convenient and human looking beings posing as real humans.

Humor might be things seen as congruent incongruences: seeing both the connection and the disconnect at the same time. A prime example is jumbo shrimp (both small and large). This is an oxymoron: both terms contradict the other in one sense, but not in another. In one sense, we use the term “shrimp” in English to say something is small, and most shrimp actually are smaller than most sea-bug cuisine (lobster) that humans in coastal regions devour with pride.[3] But yes, jumbo shrimp are bigger than other shrimp. Obviously that is why they are called such, but that is the essence of the joke.

Recall George Carlin’s response to the phrase “near miss”. It is a strange congruent incongruence and it makes him irate.[4] The audience laughs at the joke because all at once they know what “near miss” means in everyday English. It means something almost got hit or crashed into but did not get hit or crash into in the end.  They know this, they are aware of this truth. BUT they also now know the opposite: that this word literally does not mean that at all, as Carlin deftly points out. The phrase really should be “near hit”, and “near miss” literally means they almost DID NOT hit or crash, but did. They hold these two contrary ideas at once, knowing both to be true.

This is the very heart of the incongruity theory of humor, this fundamental holding of two contrary truths at the same time. It answers well the what of many jokes. But it does not finish the story of humor. Some incongruencies are funny, some are not. “Jumbo shrimp” and “near miss” are benign, harmless little linguistic violations, as many jokes are.

The Incongruity theory of humor is one of the more prevalent theories of humor argued for today, as it can do a lot of explanatory work in showing us why something arouses amusement, but what distinguishes not funny versus funny violations of the norm?  Researcher Peter McGraw says we laugh at incongruities that are not only surprising, but ones that are benign violations. An angry bear busting to a crowded lecture hall is incongruous with the norm, but hardly funny, as many will be mauled and injured. It is not benign, though it is a violation of the norm. But a streaker dashing at full speed into a crowded academic setting and then exiting is funny, because we know a streaker to typically not be threatening, but yet is still a violation of the norm. And not an extreme violation either. A streaker who does not dash but lingers for all to see in great detail? Now that would be too great a violation and cause the humor to drain (and the police to be called immediately).[5]

So incongruity must not be a threat and does seem to be somewhat context dependent it seems. Perhaps it might even involve presupposing a comic distance of time or space, which would allow things that seem a bit of a violation or threat appear less ominous and thus could be framed as a joke.


When we speak of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic (JCI) God, we often think of a perfect being. One often imagined, and perhaps required, quality of a perfect being is omniscience. A perfect being needs to know everything. But what do we mean when we say “know everything” or omniscience?

Often, an omniscient being is categorized as having the following properties: (1) knows the state of the universe at every instant, (2) knows all the future contingent propositions, (3) transcends space and time, and (4) knows this all not successively but all together, which all together aligns with the requirement of immutability and omniscience.

To expand on a few of these properties, property 1 is often described as “seeing the all time at one glance” or even seeing all events in the universe at one glance.[6] This means that an all-knowing being must know all the events, necessary and contingent, at all times at this moment and every moment. Ockham, in Question Five of his Treatise on Predestination and God’s Foreknowledge with respect to Future Contingents, draws out the idea in property 2. This being is a being that knows all possible future contingents as present to him, he knows all prospective truths about the future. This allows God to maintain his immutable quality, as referenced in property 3 and 4, because a perfect being is also a being which will not change from one state to another (this would mean the being at times was imperfect). Kretzmann adds to property 2 that “an omniscient being must know not only the entire scheme of contingent events from beginning to end at once, but also at what stage of realization that scheme is now.”[7]

I will not be diving into the serious philosophical concerns that arise between trying to piece together an omniscient, perfect, and immutable being in this paper.[8] The scope of this paper is to take these properties of God as they are commonly given and apply them to the incongruity theory in order to ask “how can an omniscience being follow a joke?”

I will dive into this in my next blog post 

[1] I am of course describing Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty.

[2] Schopenhauer, Arthur. “The World as Will and Representation Book I §13”. Morreall, John. The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor. Albany: State U of New York Press, 1987.

[3] See Jim Gaffigan’s set about seafood in Obsessed (April 2014)

[4] Watch it here: (Sept 20 2016).

[5] For more on the Benign Violation theory, visit Peter McGraw’s website,  (HuRL)

[6] Kretzmann, Norman. “Omniscience and Immutability.” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 63. No 14 (1966): 413.

[7] Kretzmann. 414.

[8] For more details on this difficult issue, see Laplace, “A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities.” Translated by Truscott, F. W. & Emory, F. L. (2007), Kretzmann, “Omniscience and Immutability.” (1966) , Ramberan, “Omniscience, Foreknowledge and Human Freedom” (1985)

Thus Spent Zarathustra 1


When Zarathustra was forty years old, he left his condo in town and the washer and dryer and parking garage, and went into the under-developed public land about thirty miles outside of downtown. There he enjoyed his cleverness and his privacy, and for a great ten hours did not weary of it. But at last his heart changed, and rising one moment with the dingy neon light, he went before the sign, and spoke to it thus:
You great ad campaign! What would your spending habits be, had you not those for whom you owe cash?
For a great ten minutes have you climbed here to my bungalow: you would have wearied of your light and of the journey, had it not been for me, my iPhone, and my internet connection.
But we waited for you every hour, took from you your overflow, and cursed you for taking so long.
Behold. I am weary of my isolation, like the woman that has gathered too many shoes; I need the male gaze to consume it all.
I would rather hoard than to distribute, until the rich among men once more find joy in their credit, and the poor in their debt.
Therefore must I descend into the shallow: as you do in the evening, when you go into the sports bar, and give light also to the over-world, you exuberant neon sign!
Like you, I have to go out, as men say, with whom I shall fraternize. Bless me, then, you tranquil advertisement that can look on even the greatest sorrow without notice!
Bless the wallet that is about to overflow, that the funds may flow golden from it, and carry everywhere the mirror of our affluence! Behold. This wallet is again going to empty itself, and Zarathustra is going to be an investor again.
Thus began Zarathustra’s going out.

Thus Spent Zarathustra (2)


When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest shopping mall which is close to the interstate, he found many people assembled near the Arby’s in the food court, for it had been announced that a woman in a halter top was handing out Cinnabon samples. And Zarathustra spoke thus to the people:

I teach you the consumer. Man is something to be ignored. What have you done to ignore him when the mall opens?

All beings thus far have lost something beyond their desires: and you want to be the emptying of this parking lot, and even continue on as mere producers? What is the producer to man? A laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment? And just the same shall man be to the consumer: a laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment.

You have made your way from jellyfish to man, and much inside you is still jellyfish. Once you were producers, and still man is more of a producer than any of the producers. Even the wisest among you is only a conflict and mix of machine and the mall. But do I bid you become machines or malls?

Behold, I teach you the Consumer!

The Consumer is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Consumer shall be the meaning of the earth!

I appeal to you, my shoppers, remain true to the mall, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of freedom are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the free market is weary: so let them pass away!

Once sin against God was the greatest sin; but God died, and with him these sinners. To sin against the market is now the most terrible sin! Leave the unknowable entrails behind, for the 40% sale has just been announced at Macy’s.

Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body, and that contempt was supreme: the soul wished the body thin, hideous, and starved. Thus it thought to escape from the mall.

But you, also, my shoppers, tell me: What does your body say about your soul now? The body says be happy being thin, glamorous, and starved. Starve your body and feed the market. This is how to live clean, to cleanse the dirty sea of individual thought from yourself, through your colon.

A dirty colon is the non-shopper. One must be a sea, to receive a dirty stream without becoming unclean, to welcome him the doors upon opening hours.

Behold, I teach you the consumer: he is this sea; in him your great contempt can pass under and away in a 24 hour sale at Marshall’s.

God’s Not Laughing: the Superiority Theory of Humor and Divine Mirth


In the book and film, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville[1] speaks about St. Maurice employing humor as he was being tortured for his faith. William then goes on to reference Aristotle’s lost work on humor, causing an uproar from the Venerable Jorge. Jorge claims Aristotle’s work on humor was never written and that William is best to not think of humor. Why? Because Providence doesn’t want futile things glorified, he yells. Do not laugh, for laughter only does harm and is against God’s wishes and his goodness. The entire plot of the story revolves around this very question of God, Aristotle, and the evil of laughter.

This story raises the question about human laughter, but it could also raise up another question: what could God find funny? What could God possibly laugh at or about? In this same scene, Jorge says to William that laughter is the root of evil. He says, “[c]ertainly one who accepts dangerous ideas can also appreciate the jesting of the ignorant man who laughs at the sole truth one should know, which has already been said once and for all. With his laughter the fool says in his heart ‘Deus non est’.”[2] For Jorge, to laugh is to deny truth, which in this medieval world, is to deny God.

This exchange demands we ask something about God, laughter, and truth. It has opened the question about the possibility or impossibility of holy or righteous laughter. The Name of the Rose also revolves around the idea that Aristotle wrote a second poetics devoted humor. This also causes anger, shame, and concern among the holy community. What if it were true? If Aristotle wrote a treatise on humor, would there be something inherently shameful in that fact, as the abbot proclaims. And if THE philosopher cannot be an advocate of mirth, wouldn’t it be the case that the one-in-three being higher than Aristotle, God, could not be an advocate of a chuckle as well?

In this paper, I will argue that God cannot be laughing or finding anything funny under the most ancient of the theories of humor: the superiority theory of humor. I will first discuss the theory, then explain God’s property of omnibenevolence, and then conclude based on this property why God cannot and would not be laughing if the Superiority theory is true.

The Superiority theory states that humor arises from a sense of malice and/or abuse towards something or someone deficient in some virtue relative to what that person or thing is. The humorous sentiment we experience comes from that realization of our sense of being superior to the “buffoon”. Consider the laughter we experience when a practical joke is being played on someone, such as this case from Japan: a man gets into a taxi cab, but unbeknownst to him, the taxi driver is a stunt driver hired to give his passenger a scare for our amusement. Philosophers like Hobbes would say what gives us the pleasure is being in the know, being in the superior position as the one who knows the joke. We laugh because we know something he does not know, mostly that he is safe (even though he fears for his life).

Look at many of the characters we do laugh AT (yes, laughing AT signifies the thinking going on in the superiority theory of humor). Lloyd and Harry in Dumb and Dumber, Tommy in Tommy Boy, all the way back to the men plagued with serious erections in Aristophanes’ Lysistrada. We laugh because Lloyd and Harry do not know the obvious: that Samsonite is the name of a luggage company, not Mary’s last name. We feel superior to Tommy when we thinks the answer to his exam question is Herbie Hancock (not John Hancock). We feel more in control of our desires and bodily lusts than then men in Lysistrada (and then the women who just can’t wait for sex too). These are all cases that point to the validity of the superiority theory. In every culture around the world, we find examples of jokes in which a certain group is the butt of the joke. In this way, we see the global appeal of the theory: everywhere one goes, and in all historical times, we can find examples of the theory in action.[3]

Plato explains that the object of laughter is the “ridiculous.” The ridiculous is the defined as the self-ignorance observed in others when they falsely believe that they possess wisdom. Laughter results from a particular feeling of mirth at seeing others suffer the misfortune of being deluded about their knowledge, such as Tommy’s self-satisfaction after writing Herbie Hancock. Tommy clearly does not have that Delphic wisdom of knowing thy self. This causes him to be ridiculous. Plato writes “taken generally, the ridiculous is a certain kind of evil, specifically a vice.”[4] This vice is ignorance. Plato argues, however, that the soul experiences both “pleasure and pain” when amused by the ridiculous portrayed in comedy. Plato writes, “when we laugh at what is ridiculous in our friends, our pleasure, in mixing with malice, mixes with pain, for we have agreed that malice if a pain of the soul, and that laughter is pleasant, and on these occasions we both feel malice and laugh.”[5] A person feels pleasure and laugh when presented by such ignorant people, even if they are their friends, but to feel pleasure at others’ misfortunes is to feel wickedness, which Plato considers a badness in the soul. The laughter and pleasure that we experience when enjoying comedy is mixed with malice and pain felt at the same time. It is a confusion and is at the core irrational, and thus, best to be avoided for a good life.

Aristotle continues a similar line about amusement and laughter. In his Poetics, he describes comedy as “an imitation of people who are worse than the average.”[6] The ridiculous given to us in comedy is a kind of ignorance and ugliness at which we laugh mockingly. Aristotle thinks of the amusement of comedy as essentially scornful. When enjoying comedy, we laugh at ugliness, bad behavior, and stupidity. But his assessment of amusement seems similar to Plato’s: amusement is the malicious or derisive enjoyment of others’ shortcomings, and thus points to a baseness of the soul.

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle explains that the best life is lived when one is ruled by reason. He does consider relaxation and amusement as a necessary element in life, but carrying humor to excess is vulgar and improper. “A joke is a kind of abuse,” and only jokes that abuse what is itself improper (i.e., satirical humor directed at irrationality) gain Aristotle’s acceptance.[7] Humor not in service to reason is of negative value. A person who enjoys humor excessively lacks in virtue and becomes a buffoon, someone who has the vice of excess and misses the mark. Persons rather ought to be in control of themselves and guide their behavior by reason. Though, someone who if deficient in humor is also not completely virtuous, since they are a boor: someone missing the median virtue of good humor by lacking any.

I won’t be arguing for or against this theory now, but instead imagine this if the correct theory. If the construct of humor is ultimately explained by superiority, I want to ask the question: could God laugh? I will be using the typical idea of God espouses through Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. In relation to the superiority theory, I will focus on the property of omnibenevolence. God is all-good, and in this sense all-forgiving, all-moral, all-loving, all-merciful, etc.[8] Now let us just assume for argument’s sake that not only is the superiority theory true, but that there is an O3 God, meaning that this God is omniscient, omnipotent, and most importantly for this section, omnibenevolent. Can we imagine some being that is all-forgiving, all-kind, and all-good in every possible way, finding humor from feeling a sense of malice above something inferior? Hobbes, famous supporter of the Superiority theory, writes, that “the passion of laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising from some sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmary of others.”[9] Can God be laughing at our suffering and ignorance? Can God be showing his teeth while laughing?[10]

Let us consider the traditional trope of the moron joke, a staple in the superiority theory justification box, to put this thought into motion. Since I am from Texas, I will use an Aggie joke here.

Q: Why did the Aggies cover his ears?
A: He was trying to hold in a thought.

We chuckle because clearly we all know (as the Aggie should) that thoughts are immaterial and cannot therefore slip out of your ears.[11] But the imagined Aggie is too stupid. Instead of pitying the Aggie for their lack of intelligence, we mock them through malicious laughter. We are superior and we laugh from our pedestal.

God is on the highest pedestal of all though if he is all the traditional roles ascribed to him. If anyone knows for sure that thoughts do not slip out of our ears, it would be God. God knows this for sure. But can God maliciously laugh at the Aggie, who is in such a state of ignorance? Can God have mocking laughter if he is all-good?

Before answering, let us make sure I clarify what I mean by omnibenevolence or being all-good. There are two ways of understanding this goodness. First, if this goodness is perfection, the kind argued about in the ontological argument, then saying God is all-good is just to say that God is all-perfect: the most perfect of all possible beings. God, like Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in all ways. I will not be focusing on this aspect of the all-good angle, though it could only add to my case. I will focus on the second concept of all-good: the moral sense. In this sense, ‘God is perfectly good’ means that God’s will, action, and thought is always in accordance with moral values and virtue. It is the Platonic kind of perfect goodness. What is perfect must be inclusive of what is morally good. Moral badness is a type of ‘lack’ and God does not lack in anything, being perfect. When one commits an immoral act, it is out of ignorance and imperfection. If evil is a ‘lack’ or ‘failure’, what is morally good is more perfect than what is not. For this argument, I will use Morris’s definition of this property of God’s: “a thoroughly benevolent, conscious agent.”[12]

Given this quality of God, I argue no, God cannot laugh with his teeth barred like the non-Aggie Texans do at this joke. God is all-kind, all-understanding, all-merciful, all-good. In a world where all goodness is known, and everything is consciously known, laughter is impossible, or superfluous, or immoral (thus impossible for God). It could be all of these things. It is slanderous in light of the truth and goodness of God’s nature. God, having the property of omnibevolence, cannot be laughing at the misfortune of others, or the sorry state of their intelligence. God could only respond to the misfortune of others with all-pity and all-mercifulness. While we laugh, God pities. While we play the practical joke, God feels sorry for the poor buffoon on which the joke is played. God isn’t laughing. His all-good nature restrict him from laughing if the superiority theory of humor is true. God does not laugh.

We can see God position as similar to Aristotle’s idea of the person who is dubbed the boor in contrast to the buffoon. “The buffoon cannot resist any temptation to be funny, and spares neither himself nor others if he can get a laugh. He says things that no cultivated man would say, and some which he would not even listen to. The boor, by contrast, is useless in such social relations, for he contributes nothing and takes offense at everything, despite the fact that relaxation and amusement are a necessary element in life.”[13] But would God be a boor? Certainly not. Being a boor surely is not part of perfection. Wouldn’t God have the most perfect sense of humor possible? But should the Superiority theory be the correct description of the way humor works, how does God laugh and at what?

            So far it seems that God did not find your Aggie joke funny, but perhaps can tell you why it isn’t and create the most perfect joke possible. And Heaven help you if you don’t laugh at God’s joke.

(c)  Nessa Voss, Submitted for Presentation/Publication

[1] Played by the ever-so-holy Sean Connery

[2] Eco, Umberto, Richard Dixon, William Weaver, and Umberto Eco. The Name of the Rose. Boston: Mariner , 2014  pg 154

[3] I recently met an archaeologist working in ancient Mesopotamian writings who told me we have tablets from ancient schools in which children can be seen mocking their teachers by giving them disproportionate noses and posteriors, more evidence that we have always been trying to make someone the butt of our jokes.

[4] Plato, “Philebus”. Morreall, John. The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor. Albany: State U of New York Press, 1987. pg 11.

[5] Plato, “Philebus.” pg 13

[6] Aristotle, “Poetics”. The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor. pg 14

[7] Aristotle, “Nicomachean Ethics”. The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor. pg 15

[8] Euthyphro dilemma be damned for the time being

[9] Hobbes, “Human Nature”. The Philosophy of Humor and Laughter. pg. 19.

[10] Picture: Gary Larson. Far Side.

[11] Possible philosophy trigger warning

[12] Morris, Thomas, “The Concept of God”. Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology. Ed. Rea, Pojman. Samford: Cengage. 2015. Pg 19.

[13] Aristotle, “Nicomachean Ethics”. Morreall, John. The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor. Albany: State U of New York Press, 1987. pg 16