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§ 54.: Remark - Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgement 
Kant’s Critique of Judgement, translated with Introduction and Notes by J.H. Bernard (2nd ed. revised) (London: Macmillan, 1914).
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As we have often shown, there is an essential difference between what satisfies simply in the act of judging it, and that which gratifies (pleases in sensation). We cannot ascribe the latter to every one, as we can the former. Gratification (the causes of which may even be situate in Ideas) appears always to consist in a feeling of the furtherance of the whole life of the man, and consequently, also of his bodily well-being, i.e. his health; so that Epicurus, who gave out that all gratification was at bottom bodily sensation, may, perhaps, not have been wrong, but only misunderstood himself when he reckoned intellectual and even practical satisfaction under gratification. If we have this distinction in view we can explain how a gratification may dissatisfy the man who sensibly feels it (e.g. the joy of a needy but well-meaning man at becoming the heir of an affectionate but penurious father); or how a deep grief may satisfy the person experiencing it (the sorrow of a widow at the death of her excellent husband); or how a gratification can in addition satisfy (as in the sciences that we pursue); or how a grief (e.g. hatred, envy, revenge) can moreover dissatisfy. The satisfaction or dissatisfaction here depends on Reason, and is the same as approbation or disapprobation; but gratification and grief can only rest on the feeling or prospect of a possible (on whatever grounds) well-being or its opposite.
All changing free play of sensations (that have no design at their basis) gratifies, because it promotes the feeling of health. In the judgement of Reason we may or may not have any satisfaction in its object or even in this gratification; and this latter may rise to the height of an affection, although we take no interest in the object, at least none that is proportionate to the degree of the affection. We may subdivide this free play of sensations into the play of fortune [games of chance], the play of tone [music], and the play of thought [wit]. The first requires an interest, whether of vanity or of selfishness; which, however, is not nearly so great as the interest that attaches to the way in which we are striving to procure it. The second requires merely the change of sensations, all of which have a relation to affection, though they have not the degree of affection, and excite aesthetical Ideas. The third springs merely from the change of representations in the Judgement; by it, indeed, no thought that brings an interest with it is produced, but yet the mind is animated thereby.
How much gratification games must afford, without any necessity of placing at their basis an interested design, all our evening parties show; for hardly any of them can be carried on without a game. But the affections of hope, fear, joy, wrath, scorn, are put in play by them, alternating every moment; and they are so vivid that by them, as by a kind of internal motion, all the vital processes of the body seem to be promoted, as is shown by the mental vivacity excited by them, although nothing is gained or learnt thereby. But as the beautiful does not enter into games of chance, we will here set them aside. On the other hand, music and that which excites laughter are two different kinds of play with aesthetical Ideas, or with representations of the Understanding through which ultimately nothing is thought; and yet they can give lively gratification merely by their changes. Thus we recognise pretty clearly that the animation in both cases is merely bodily, although it is excited by Ideas of the mind; and that the feeling of health produced by a motion of the intestines corresponding to the play in question makes up that whole gratification of a gay party, which is regarded as so refined and so spiritual. It is not the judging the harmony in tones or sallies of wit,—which serves only in combination with their beauty as a necessary vehicle,—but the furtherance of the vital bodily processes, the affection that moves the intestines and the diaphragm, in a word, the feeling of health (which without such inducements one does not feel) that makes up the gratification felt by us; so that we can thus reach the body through the soul and use the latter as the physician of the former.
In music this play proceeds from bodily sensations to aesthetical Ideas (the Objects of our affections), and then from these back again to the body with redoubled force. In the case of jokes (the art of which, just like music, should rather be reckoned as pleasant than beautiful) the play begins with the thoughts which together occupy the body, so far as they admit of sensible expression; and as the Understanding stops suddenly short at this presentment, in which it does not find what it expected, we feel the effect of this slackening in the body by the oscillation of the organs, which promotes the restoration of equilibrium and has a favourable influence upon health.
In everything that is to excite a lively convulsive laugh there must be something absurd (in which the Understanding, therefore, can find no satisfaction). Laughter is an affection arising from the sudden transformation of a strained expectation into nothing.1 This transformation, which is certainly not enjoyable by the Understanding, yet indirectly gives it very active enjoyment for a moment. Therefore its cause must consist in the influence of the representation upon the body, and the reflex effect of this upon the mind; not, indeed, through the representation being objectively an object of gratification1 (for how could a delusive expectation gratify?), but simply through it as a mere play of representations bringing about an equilibrium of the vital powers in the body.
Suppose this story to be told: An Indian at the table of an Englishman in Surat, when he saw a bottle of ale opened and all the beer turned into froth and overflowing, testified his great astonishment with many exclamations. When the Englishman asked him, “What is there in this to astonish you so much?” he answered, “I am not at all astonished that it should flow out, but I do wonder how you ever got it in.” At this story we laugh, and it gives us hearty pleasure; not because we deem ourselves cleverer than this ignorant man, or because of anything else in it that we note as satisfactory to the Understanding, but because our expectation was strained [for a time] and then was suddenly dissipated into nothing. Again: The heir of a rich relative wished to arrange for an imposing funeral, but he lamented that he could not properly succeed; “for” (said he) “the more money I give my mourners to look sad, the more cheerful they look!”2 When we hear this story we laugh loud, and the reason is that an expectation is suddenly transformed into nothing. We must note well that it does not transform itself into the positive opposite of an expected object—for then there would still be something, which might even be a cause of grief—but it must be transformed into nothing. For if a man arouses great expectations in us when telling a story, and at the end we see its falsehood immediately, it displeases us; e.g. the story of the people whose hair in consequence of great grief turned gray in one night. But if a wag, to repair the effect of this story, describes very circumstantially the grief of the merchant returning from India to Europe with all his wealth in merchandise who was forced to throw it overboard in a heavy storm, and who grieved thereat so much that his wig turned gray the same night—we laugh and it gives us gratification. For we treat our own mistake in the case of an object otherwise indifferent to us, or rather the Idea which we are following out, as we treat a ball which we knock to and fro for a time, though our only serious intention is to seize it and hold it fast. It is not the mere rebuff of a liar or a simpleton that arouses our gratification; for the latter story told with assumed seriousness would set a whole company in a roar of laughter, while the former would ordinarily not be regarded as worth attending to.
It is remarkable that in all such cases the jest must contain something that is capable of deceiving for a moment. Hence, when the illusion is dissipated, the mind turns back to try it once again, and thus through a rapidly alternating tension and relaxation it is jerked back and put into a state of oscillation. This, because the strain on the cord as it were is suddenly (and not gradually) relaxed, must occasion a mental movement, and an inner bodily movement harmonising therewith, which continues involuntarily and fatigues, even while cheering us (the effects of a motion conducive to health).
For if we admit that with all our thoughts is harmonically combined a movement in the organs of the body, we shall easily comprehend how to this sudden transposition of the mind, now to one now to another standpoint in order to contemplate its object, may correspond an alternating tension and relaxation of the elastic portions of our intestines, which communicates itself to the diaphragm (like that which ticklish people feel). In connexion with this the lungs expel the air at rapidly succeeding intervals, and thus bring about a movement beneficial to health; which alone, and not what precedes it in the mind, is the proper cause of the gratification in a thought that at bottom represents nothing.— Voltaire said that heaven had given us two things to counterbalance the many miseries of life, hope and sleep.1 He could have added laughter, if the means of exciting it in reasonable men were only as easily attainable, and the requisite wit or originality of humour were not so rare, as the talent is common of imagining things which break one’s head, as mystic dreamers do, or which break one’s neck, as your genius does, or which break one’s heart, as sentimental romance-writers (and even moralists of the same kidney) do.
We may therefore, as it seems to me, readily concede to Epicurus that all gratification, even that which is occasioned through concepts, excited by aesthetical Ideas, is animal, i.e. bodily sensation; without the least prejudice to the spiritual feeling of respect for moral Ideas, which is not gratification at all but an esteem for self (for humanity in us), that raises us above the need of gratification, and even without the slightest prejudice to the less noble [feeling] of taste.
We find a combination of these two last in naiveté, which is the breaking out of the sincerity originally natural to humanity in opposition to that art of dissimulation which has become a second nature. We laugh at the simplicity that does not understand how to dissemble; and yet we are delighted with the simplicity of the nature which thwarts that art. We look for the commonplace manner of artificial utterance devised with foresight to make a fair show; and behold! it is the unspoiled innocent nature which we do not expect to find, and which he who displays it did not think of disclosing. That the fair but false show which generally has so much influence upon our judgement is here suddenly transformed into nothing, so that, as it were, the rogue in us is laid bare, produces a movement of the mind in two opposite directions, which gives a wholesome shock to the body. But the fact that something infinitely better than all assumed manner, viz. purity of disposition (or at least the tendency thereto), is not quite extinguished yet in human nature, blends seriousness and high esteem with this play of the Judgement. But because it is only a transitory phenomenon and the veil of dissimulation is soon drawn over it again, there is mingled therewith a compassion which is an emotion of tenderness; this, as play, readily admits of combination with a good-hearted laugh, and ordinarily is actually so combined, and withal is wont to compensate him who supplies its material for the embarrassment which results from not yet being wise after the manner of men.— An art that is to be naive is thus a contradiction; but the representation of naiveté in a fictitious personage is quite possible, and is a beautiful though a rare art. Naiveté must not be confounded with open-hearted simplicity, which does not artificially spoil nature solely because it does not understand the art of social intercourse.
The humorous manner again may be classified as that which, as exhilarating us, is near akin to the gratification that proceeds from laughter; and belongs to the originality of spirit, but not to the talent of beautiful art. Humour in the good sense means the talent of being able voluntarily to put oneself into a certain mental disposition, in which everything is judged quite differently from the ordinary method (reversed, in fact), and yet in accordance with certain rational principles in such a frame of mind. He who is involuntarily subject to such mutations is called a man of humours [launisch]; but he who can assume them voluntarily and purposively (on behalf of a lively presentment brought about by the aid of a contrast that excites a laugh)—he and his manner of speech are called humorous [launigt]. This manner, however, belongs rather to pleasant than to beautiful art, because the object of the latter must always exhibit intrinsic worth, and hence requires a certain seriousness in the presentation, as taste does in the act of judgement.
DIALECTIC OF THE AESTHETICAL JUDGEMENT
[1 ][Cf. “Parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus.”]
[1 ][The First Edition adds “as in the case of a man who gets the news of a great commercial success.”
[2 ][The jest may have been taken from Steele’s play, “The Funeral or Grief à la mode,” where it occurs verbatim. This play was published in 1702.]
[1 ][ Henriade, Chant 7, sub init.