Skip to main content

The Science of Dark Humour | Hri-write

I'd like to begin by saying this blog isn't meant to offend anyone. It's all for the sake of fun and entertainment, and to satisfy my sadistic desideratum. If you're easily offended, or if this blog offended you in any way, it's because it was meant to.

(If that last line offended you, get out right now. It's going to get much worse.)



It might be worthwhile to address the question of 'why we laugh' before dealing with comedy styles such as dark humour.
We believe laughter evolved from the panting behavior of our ancient primate ancestors. Today, if we tickle chimps or gorillas, they don’t laugh “ha ha ha” but exhibit a panting sound. That’s the sound of ape laughter. And it’s the root of human laughter. Apes laugh in conditions in which human laughter is produced, like tickle, rough and tumble play, and chasing games. Other animals produce vocalizations during play, but they are so different that it’s difficult to equate them with laughter. Rats, for e…

The idea of 'luxury' and the way in which consumers are manipulated.

Humans really love to stand out from the crowd. They will go to any extent to make sure they are noticed. It is no surprise that we wield materialism like a sword against society. The elusiveness of having something that others don't is commonly noted in a world as materialistic as this.

Although it's becoming more evident, it's not new. We've seen crazy feasts, jewelry and other artifacts documented all the way from the reigns of kings and queens. Sure, by analyzing this phenomenon on the surface I can say that the physical appeal is what really entices us, but is it really all of it?

No.

There's a much deeper, elaborate social and psychological construct at play here, and unless you read between the lines, you will probably miss it. Think about it, why would people pour thousands of rupees into an Armani suit or an LV purse? Sure, you could know the time by staring into a cheap five hundred rupee watch, but no, we want to invest in that lucrative ninety thousand rupee 'Rolex timepiece'. A perfectly sturdy and stylish handbag can be purchased for five thousand rupees, but we go crazy trying to find a retail store for our favorite brands. Why?

The great thing about living in the information age is that there is so much of it. A psychology study conducted by Karl Aquino and Jessica Tracy at the University of British Columbia revealed that there are two distinguishable facets to our pride of luxury.

The first is 'authentic' pride, which is our motivation to acquire these luxuries, whereas the second is 'hubristic pride', which is the more snobbish of the two. Hubristic pride is exhibited when we talk or display the luxuries we own, and it is closely associated with bragging. That's all natural, though. Humans are 'programmed' to be curious. They seek what they don't have. It's a psychological concept. The paradox though is that we buy these things to give ourselves a greater sense of accomplishment, but the exact opposite is projected to those around us, they seem to think of us as snobs and braggarts.

As always, somebody somewhere would stop at nothing to exploit this. And they have, very cleverly. Away from the world, in their massive corporate headquarters, marketing teams for luxury brands plot and scheme manners in which they can exploit the masses. They need something concrete, something personal, and so, just like that, their marketing changes from brand promotion to insecurity seeking. They find the things you most hate about yourself, and the poke fun at it. After they've tarnished your self-esteem, these same marketers will advise you to try their product so that you don't feel as bad about yourself.

Irrationalism

We're also irrational. Very irrational. We go out of our way to compete and prove our worth by possessing things that we may not even have the ability to afford. Take Apple, Inc. for example.
Customers sleep outside stores overnight buy the next iPhone or the new Macbook. They remain loyal to the brand even though the iPhone isn't superior or modern to most market phones in any way.
Now, you and I can go toe to toe in the middle of a cell about this, but tell me, did that Siri feature really help you organize your appointments to the doctor and alert you about the traffic thirty minutes before you intended to leave? No, it didn't. You know the reason why you still bought that fingerprint enabled iPhone? Because they told you it was worth it. One habit all of us have ingrained within us is the way in which we look at things: the way we want to. Often, we mentally program ourselves to only look at the advantages of a certain item rather than contrasting them with its disadvantages as well.

Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is a major determining factor. I talked about this phenomena in my blog "The Psychology of External Validation" which you can read here.

No psychological concept stands alone, they are results of one another and are interdependent on each other. One reason that people choose to buy luxuries can be attributed to their modest outlooks about themselves. We seem to think that the flaws of our character or lifestyles can be covered up by physical things. Bostonreview's article (cited at the bottom of this blog) sums up this in a very good way, by saying:
"If such purchases are motivated by status enhancement, they become positional goods: their value is determined by what other people possess. This inspires a powerful critique of consumerism. Status is a zero-sum game, and just as countries in a literal arms race have to strip away resources from domestic priorities, the figurative arms race that economist Robert H. Frank calls “luxury fever” takes away from individual consumers money that would be better spent on more substantial goods, such as socializing and travel. It is hard for people to opt out. To say that an individual can simply refuse to participate is like saying that countries in a literal arms race can choose to stop buying all those fighter planes and put the money into school lunches and Shakespeare in the Park. Sure they can—if they don’t mind being invaded. If everyone else buys fancy suits for their job interviews, then I risk unemployment by choosing not to."

The Conscience of Authenticity

The reason why people look the other way from the street vendor (or any copycat for that matter) selling a fake that looks like the original is because of their conscience. Sure, you can lie to the world about buying that pricey watch, but you know within yourself that it is nothing but a knockoff. Companies capitalize on the consumer's guilt.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where is all the 'alien life?' - Fermi Paradox and other theories

My first blog, ever, was about understanding the odds of alien life. I've gotten much better at writing blogs since then (or so I like to tell myself), and it would only be right if I reinstate the legacy of that one.


We should openly admit that when we happen to be under a starry night and see a sight similar to this, we all have a react in a different and interesting way. Some people are left boggled by the immense size of the universe, others by the sheer glamour of the scene and if you're anything like me, you're paralysed by the sudden realisation that you have a negligible impact on the universe. The point is, we all feel something.

When he looked up at the sky, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi too felt something, a thought that lingered around this question, "Where is everyone else?" It's been half a decade since Fermi passed on, but he left us with a fundamental query and idea.

Fermi realised that in a universe as old and vast as this, there should be…

Understanding extremist terrorism

While I hate to talk about such a grim, dark topic, terrorism is running rampant across the globe, and there just seems to be no end. In 2017, the face of terrorism are organisations like ISIS. So, what exactly is terrorism? Merriam-Webster calls terrorism "the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal."

Let's face it, terrorism isn't new. It's been around for a long time. The word, in fact, dates back to the late 18th century around the time of the French revolution. So why is it such a big deal now?

Because now terrorist organisations aren't local. They are getting more radical, and they don't just have political agendas. They've become irrational, crazed with the idea of securing the world under their woeful grasp.


To understand terrorism, it's essential to understand where it begins. All terrorist activities are motivated by one or two things, social/political injustice or the idea th…

The Psychology of External Validation

A recent conversation intrigued me to explore this topic, and I find it perhaps one of the most relevant ones I have written about. So, here goes.

I've known people who always get hundreds of likes on their posts hours within posting them. I have never been one of these people. I've never received many likes or shares, and when I was in my younger years, it was hurtful, in a way. I used to see my posts and shares sit on my wall for days with only a few likes, and back then, it was painful for me, so to say. It made me doubt my worthiness, and created a feeling that no one cared about what I had to say. I used to post a lot on Facebook just to see how many likes/shares/comments would accumulate in a few hours. I would be disheartened when that number didn't live upto my expectations. I'm sure some of you have had this feeling, and it's okay.

Why? Why, just why is it like this? Why do we doubt our worth, why do we feel so bad just because someone didn't press or…