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Humor as a Tool for Survival

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Humor is about a social consensus, when society agrees on something, they will begin to bond together since there is a shared belief amongst them. Humor consists of laughter, and jokes which is humorous language. There is vulgarity in humor, which can make it distasteful. Humor can be very offensive, for example making racist or sexist jokes towards a group of people. These types of jokes are very hostile in society. Most comedians break taboo in their jokes, and they violate “social norms”. They do this to prove a point, or to show opposition towards an idea or something. Humor is used as a tool for survival and torture. It helps someone survive in society in different ways, especially when dealing with distress. In tough situations like following orders that cause the suffering and pain upon others, humor can be used in a way to help cope with these circumstances.

Humor is used as a coping mechanism in situations especially in which a person does not have control in. For example, holocaust victims had to deal with torture everyday. They did not have control over their own fate. “But the way to deal with both the Holocaust trauma and the ongoing security challenges between the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was a lot of very dark humor” (Amichai Lau-Lavie). Prisoners would use dark humor in a way to just deal with the horrors of what was going on. Dark humor was used to make light sense of their surroundings. Even the guards for these horrific places, would seem as if everything is okay, and even being photographed laughing or smiling at these people being tortured. One would think automatically that person is just cruel and evil, but that did not go for everyone. Smiling, and laughing about it was a way for guards as well to cope with the tragedies. “It’s just sometimes there’s just too much tension, or — everything, and you just have to let it go” (Wilkinson). There would be guards who did feel sorry for these prisoners, however did not know how to express their emotions, or simply were not able to. These guards did not want to be the odd one out so would make jokes about the situation in order to feel a part of the group, therefore the concept of social consensus came into play. “It’s essentially that idea of you have to laugh, you have to make a joke out of it; otherwise, you’re just going to cry. It’s just going to be too overwhelming” (Ms. Percy). If it was not for humor in these cases, people would have no other choice besides sitting in a corner crying all day.

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Humor has also been a tool in survival in a way that could help an individual succeed in life. When it comes to succeeding in a work environment, humor can really help open the door to opportunities one might not have if it wasn’t for humor. “I think sometimes you just have to really let all of that stuff go. And for me, being able to tell jokes and being able to laugh is so much a part of that” (Wilkinson). Letting go of yourself, letting humor take over in situations that are stressful for example, a job interview can really make everything go much more smoothly. “And I cannot tell you how many times laughter has connected me with all different kinds of people throughout the country, of all kinds of political persuasions” (Mr. Sanders). Laughter comes with humour which is a form of language, it connects you to different people around the world in a way other languages might not be able to. For work environments, humor can aid in making sure your character does not seem arrogant or hard to get along with. Humor is a tool for survival, to survive in this world one must work, and humour can help one acquire a job. Also, in jobs for example, in Mr. Older being a paramedic he had to find some sort of humor in his job or he would have a hard time each time something tragic happened at his job. “So what you learn to do is find a balance wherein you can laugh about other people’s tragedies and not become a cold-hearted, horrible person on the strength of it and continue to do your job and exist in the world” (Mr. Older). This helped him cope with the situation he was in, by not being too cold hearted, and not crying every time a death occurred while working as a paramedic. Humor is a tool for survival as well in a person’s love life. Love is all about having a deep connection with that other person, and a great way to connect with a person is through humor. A person could have so many qualities of a good partner, but without humor the relationship could potentially lack a bond between them both. “If I can laugh with you and we can see a commonality in humor, I can see you, and I can respect you, and I can love you” (Sanders). When two people laugh together, they agree on what is being laughed at so it displays a connection the two have.

They begin to form a form of respect towards each other which is one of the essentials of a healthy relationship. Therefore, making it overall easier for that person to begin to feel love towards that person. Humor ties to being likeable, especially when one is not physically appealing. “Plus, if you’re funny, it doesn’t matter what you look like” (Ms Percy). Sometimes a person will find another person not physically attractive from the start, but as they get to know that person they begin to fall in love with everything about them. Humor really helps in these circumstances because most women do appreciate a man who can make them laugh. Therefore, the physical appearance is overlooked and inner beauty becomes most important. Humor is used in many ways when it comes to torture and survival. It can really help one succeed in all aspects of life, for instance love and work. Humor is also very essential in coping with tough situations. Humor is used in a way that connects us to the people around us by bringing us together with laughter, since what we would laugh at is something we all share a common belief in.


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