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Bicameral Laughter

Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:19 pm
by jamesadrian
Did early bicameral people laugh?

Thank you for your help.

Jim Adrian

Re: Bicameral Laughter

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:04 pm
by Moderator
It's an interesting question. My initial thought would be yes. For example, we can imagine responding to a linguistic or non-linguistic joke or humorous situation without having an interior mind-space.

I think some early, rudimentary forms of humor and laughter could have pre-dated language. For example, witnessing and responding to a mishap. As language developed, humor (and therefore laughter) would have likely become more frequent and more complex.

There are probably more "advanced" forms of humor that are unique to individuals with consciousness, but that's something I have not thought much about. Perhaps others can speak to this.

Another starting point would be to look at descriptions of humor and laughter in early pre-literate societies, and then extrapolate back to bicameral societies. Humor and laughter are perhaps on a continuum that tracks roughly with language and consciousness.

This book may also be of interest: