- Our reality is distorted and our cognitive synergy promotes a connection to the funny side of a situation.
- Cognitive synergy occurs when one experiences opposite qualities attached to the same thing at the same time.
- Examples would include works of art, metaphors, jokes, toys, and so on.
- Human cognitive synergy stands alone, at least for now, in the ability to create humor out of nonsense.
Copilot to Pilot: Wow! That’s the shortest runway I have ever seen.
Pilot to Copilot: More flaps.
Copilot to Pilot: I think it’s just too short of a runway to land this bird!
Pilot to Copilot: Full flaps!
Copilot to Pilot: I don’t believe we are going to make it!
Pilot to Copilot: Focus man!
Copilot to Pilot: Wow, what an incredibly short runway.
Pilot to Copilot: But look how wide it is!
Humor is the fusion of opposites. We are surprised or shocked because we are presented with situations that don’t seem to fit. This cognitive synergy allows the brain to connect the opposites and see the informational misfit as funny.
YouTube is full of these cognitive synergies. We see cats or dogs doing impossible tasks that are usually out of character, and we laugh. We watch sitcoms that are designed to create cognitive synergies that connect unlikely outcomes for the characters. Our reality is distorted and our cognitive synergy promotes a connection to the funny side of the situation.
What Is Cognitive Synergy?
A cognitive synergy is what happens when one experiences opposite qualities attached to the same thing at the same time. Examples would include works of art, metaphors, jokes, toys, and so on.
In one episode of the sitcom Faulty Towers, the hotel inspection for cleanliness takes place on the same day the hotel staff is trying to catch a rat that has been noticed in the kitchen. The cognitive synergy of two opposites, cleanliness and a rat on the loose in the kitchen creates humor in the situation. Most comedians utilize cognitive synergies in their stand-up routines all the time.
Comedians and Cognitive Synergy
Woody Allen used cognitive synergies in all 51 of his movies. Here are classic examples:
“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
”The difference between sex and love is that sex relieves tension and love causes it.”
“Tradition is the illusion of permanence.”
Joan Rivers is another example of a comedian who thrived on the use of cognitive synergies.
“I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.”
"At my age, an affair of the heart is a bypass!"
What we see in cognitive synergy is a tool to join dissimilar experiences and situations. We also see that reality can be displaced with fantasy. To move the human brain from reality takes some clever manipulation. Cognitive synergies are there for the taking, and comedians are highly skilled at creating them.
The Uniqueness of Human Cognition
The human brain is believed to have intrinsic constraints as part of a general intelligence of context. This allows the brain to filter through all the possibilities and make connections through a synthesis of analyses, a cognitive synergy. At this point, even AI algorithms suffer from an inability to filter through all the possibilities due to a lack of intrinsic constraint.(1)
Human cognitive synergy stands alone, at least for now, in the ability to create humor out of nonsense. Maybe this is what we mean when we say that someone has a sense of humor.
After all, a sense of humor is a perceptual skill, and not everyone has the same perception of what makes them laugh. A stand-up routine may entertain or offend based on this uniqueness of perception. Regardless, one’s cognitive synergy sensitivity will be the deciding factor.
B. Goertzel (2023) Cognitive Synergy: A Universal Principle for Feasible General Intelligence?