Tuesday, June 24, 2008

George Carlin and sarcasm for evolution

George Carlin, an original stand up who died last Sunday had the following to say about freedom, abortion, the weather and being cynical…

If crime fighters fight crime and firefighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?

How come when it’s us it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken it’s an omelet?

Tonight’s forecast: Dark. Continued mostly dark tonight turning to widely scattered light in the morning.

"Scratch any cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist"

Sometimes, the biting cynicism got him into trouble, but it should be remembered that a cynic’s weapon of choice is sarcasm and recent research has shown that sarcasm is an essential evolutionary survival skill. Or, to stretch it a bit, sarcasm was actually good for the human race…

It's also easy to imagine how sarcasm might be selected over time as evolutionarily crucial. Imagine two ancient humans running across the savannah with a hungry lion in pursuit. One guy says to the other, "Are we having fun yet?" and the other just looks blank and stops to figure out what in the world his pal meant by that remark. End of friendship, end of one guy's contribution to the future of the human gene pool.

Fast forward a few million years and the network of human relationships is wider and more complex, and just as important to survival. The corporate chairman throws out a sarcastic remark and those who "get" it laugh, smile, and gain favor. In the same way, if the chair never makes a remark, sarcastic people are making them behind his or her back, forming a clique by their mutually negative, but funny, comments. Either way, sarcasm plays a role in making and breaking alliances and friendship

Andrew Wyeth, 'Combers', Watercolor on paper, 22" X 30"

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