, Henri Bergson’s profound essay on the nature and source of laughter, grows out of his concern with the nineteenth century mechanization of life.
For Bergson, life is ever in flux through time and space, and any divergence from this principle of flux, any attempt to fix or concretize life, is removed from life.
Bergson explains to a certain extent – what causes laughter.
It can be caused by an unpredictable turn of events or a coincidence.
Bergson’s famous principle of , the vital life force that underlies all living things, leads to the central motif of his theory of comedy, that “the mechanical encrusted upon the living” promotes laughter.
Any time a living thing takes on attributes of death or mechanization or rigid automatism, it ceases to be wholly alive and inspires social laughter.
telling jokes), Bergson says that the main issue here is building up tension and providing the audience an unexpected ending, and having a sense of right timing.
Bergson begins the work with a brief introduction in which he clarifies that his aim is not to define “comic” as a term, but rather to better understand the role of comedy in human life and how it relates to the individual and societal imagination.
Living human beings, for Bergson, perceive themselves and their peers as fluid, flexible, and graceful, animated by their “souls.” When people perform actions which contradict these precepts, such as falling over, these are the instances that evoke laughter.
When the soul, which grants human beings their flexibility and grace, is made to look awkward by the rigid body, this is comedy.