Humor is unique to humans. Animals don’t have a sense of humor as we know it. So humor has to do with something that makes humans unique. What makes humans unique in comparison to animals is our highly developed ability to think in concepts.
Humor is, simply put, the glorification of a concept. The alleviation that is felt the instant we believe we can be saved from our existential misery by a concept, expresses itself through an emotional release which is called humor. That is why humor is an ego defense mechanism.
In order to see this you need to pay very close attention to what exactly causes you to think of something as being funny. You have to rewind your memory after you felt the humor and then study that emotion closely with your intelligence and sensitivity.
Let’s clarify this through an example. Think about something you consider funny. Why do you think it’s funny? That’s because what you are thinking about invokes a vision of reality that is very one–sided and simplistic, like a cartoon of reality, thereby causing a perception of control, security and comfort.
The shift from the usual existential ignorance which the ego cannot handle, to the momentary believe in a simplistic vision of reality which the ego CAN handle, causes a pleasant release of tension which we call humor.
Having a sense of humor is part of being human, but we should not exaggerate the importance of humor. That’s why it gets annoying when humor takes on the character of an obligation, as it often does in conventional society. A popular saying amongst the masses is “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” That’s one of the reasons why I’m a bit of a hermit...