Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Psychology: The Science of Human Behaviour
Givler, Robert Ch.
Although this particular joke is of the “stubborn” 
variety, and while it is hard to tell at just whom the 
Schadenfreude is most directed, yet the laugh doubt¬ 
less arises from the consciousness that some one is 
more stupid than ourselves. Surely, the same 
pleasure in our own superiority accounts for the 
humor in the following anecdote of a negro dance: 
“Hi say, Miss Mandy, am y o’ program full ?” 
“Lawdy, Mister Lumley, hit takes mo’ than one 
small sandwich and two olives to fill mah program.” 
The same principle seems to be exhibited by the 
next example : 
“A visitor to an insane asylum was guided about 
by a trusty who to all appearance was as sane as 
anyone could wish. He explained lucidly all the 
various types of insanities, and showed an unusual 
familiarity with them. Finally the trusty and the 
visitor stopped at a room where a man who was 
suffering from religious delusions called out, “I’m 
Almighty God !” “Don’t believe him,” said the 
trusty quickly, “I’m Almighty God.” The visitor 
made no immediate reply, but, being tactful in han¬ 
dling such people, engaged the man in conversation, 
and when well within sight of the main office, he 
confidentially inquired, “If you’re Almighty God, I 
wish you would tell me the answer to a question 
that has long puzzled the wisest men. It says in the 
Bible that God made the world in six days. Now 
were those days twenty-four hours long or a thou¬ 
sand years, or, as some suppose, millions of ages 
in extent ?” The trusty smiled indulgently at him. 
“Pardon me,” he replied, “but I never talk shop.” 
Here there are plainly two, if not three, motives 
for laughter. In the first place, our sympathy with 
the insane tempts us to enjoy the sudden and com-


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