Lesson 116: Uniquely human trait
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 2/4 ('The Outrageous Okona')


Data, an android, in his quest to be more human tries to learn the concept of humor from a Holodeck simulation of a stand-up comedian.

Failing to be funny as a stand up comedian, Data seeks out advice from the ever-wise alien Guinan.

Seeing his dilemma, she tells Data that being able to make people laugh and being able to laugh is not the end all and be all of being human.

Data replies that while that statement may be true, there is absolutely nothing more uniquely human.


Humor has probably been around since the first caveman tripped over a rock accidently and fell down in front of his peers.

Physical, slap-stick style, humor still remains as the purest form of humor, as evidenced by the laughter of children, the most innocent of all audiences. The antics of characters from the Tom & Jerry cartoons to the Three Stooges incite the same laughter from all, bridging languages and cultures.

More sophisticated humor premised on language is generally localized as it is referential in material. While this type of humor may at first be difficult to convey across different languages and cultures, the more familiar we become with our global neighbors, the easier it becomes for us to laugh in unison.

Humor still remains the easiest way to put others at ease, especially in a first contact situation.

Humor provides a release mechanism for us in our times of difficulty and great emotional stress.

Humor helps us to bond and bind with others as friends.

Humor is the easiest way to bring a smile, laughter and joy to others.

As humor is the cause of smiles and laughter, and smiles and laughter are evidence of joy and happiness in humans, anyone able to convey humor accurately deserves to be, therefore, considered a master in the art of communications of bringing happiness to others.

Laughter, being a uniquely human reaction (not including the simian emulation) can be used as a mutually identifiable force to bring us all closer together.

Through humor inspired mutual laughter, we can feel more comfortable with each other. When we laugh together, we find it less important to concentrate on hating and killing each other.

Even Data realizes the closeness of the words 'humor' and 'human' is more than just the 2-separating letters.

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