Monday, 1 October 2018



Full Book Title: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious

Author:  Sigmund Freud

ISBN 13: 978-0393001457

ISBN 10: 0393001458

From childhood, I noticed in myself the uncanny ability to find humour in the most severe of conditions. Generally, it helped me overcome the situation and allowed me to remain calm and composed in these trying situations, where most would be rattled. Obviously, this is the most important part humour has played in my life. Than I came across Sir Sigmund Freud’s books on psychology and I have read most of them. But purposely I didn’t read and didn’t pay too much attention to Sigmund Freud’s “Jokes and their relation to the unconscious”, which was lying in my books of collection.

The reason I gave myself for not reading the book was that I had convinced myself that a psychological study of jokes would destroy the humor in me and my capacity to enjoy it in all sorts of situations.

Nevertheless, recently I made it upon myself to read “Jokes and their relation to the unconscious”. After reading the book, and contrary to my earlier held view, I found the book very educative and instructive. I also found and juxtaposed the learning on other people, that the reading of the book in fact has enhanced my capacity to understand jokes and enjoy them better.

I advise others to emulate my example and read this excellent book on the techniques of jokes, how jokes are formulated, and what is there in a joke, which makes us laugh.

Reading the book will immensely increase your understanding of jokes and humor. You will gain much more than me simply because I started with my own researched knowledge and wisdom. You might not possess it and might be starting from ground zero and hence in my view you will gain a lot more by reading this book.

Though humor and Jokes are nothing new and have been present with us since the advent of civilization, nearly 40 to 50 million years to be precise in case of Mesopotamian culture and civilization. Both myself and  Sigmund Freud belong to Mesopotamian culture and civilisation  We belong to Mesopotamian culture and civilization.

But not many people have tried to analyze humour and jokes in an analytic and scientific way, as has been done by  Sigmund Freud.

He has deciphered the coding in jokes. He has solved a puzzle, which has remained unsolved for centuries. And for this he deserves full credit and our profoundest thanks.

But thanking is the least of my worries, my worry is that this profound work by Sigmund Freud has largely been neglected and has not got its due that it deserves.

Now,  Sigmund Freud is not going to personally benefit from our thanks but reading this fine and excellent work on jokes is certainly going to make our life easier. We might discover paths of humor, which were hitherto unseen, and some of you might even conceive a masterpiece of a joke.

Though  Sigmund Freud has taken many examples as jokes but they pertain to his times and most of you are unaware and uninformed of the their circumstances and situations to fully appreciate them. Therefore, I am not reproducing any of his jokes but I am giving a joke, which has its roots in the political culture of India and is very funny.

The Joke goes like this:

“ Queen of England was having her birthday.

 This joke is a unique joke and will possibly be needing several techniques as given by  Sigmund Freud in “Jokes and their relation to the Unconscious” to explain its humor.

But I will just encapsulate in headings, the main techniques given by  Sigmund Freud in the book. You can try to fix one or more of these techniques to explain the humor in the above joke.


(a)        with formation of composite word,

(b)        with modification

II Multiple use of the same material

(c)         as a whole and in parts,

(d)        in a different order

(e)        with slight modification

(f)          of the same words full and empty

III Double meaning

(g)        meaning as a name and as a thing

(h)        metaphorical and literal meaning

(i)          double meaning proper (play upon words)

(j)          double antendre

(k)        double meaning with a allusion


You can pick your choosing and try to explain the joke. I have already given my explanation. But more fruitful will be if you read the book and come to this joke again to explain it.

But the brilliance of  Sigmund Freud’s book does not solely lie in giving techniques of the joke.

He also goes on to give the relationship of the joke to the subconscious. This is absolutely brilliant stuff. You have to read, understand and grasp it to appreciate the brilliant mind that lies behind the relationship.

 Sigmund Freud has also given that jokes in many cases may be the result of neurosis. But they can germinate in a normal mind as well. But it may be that a normal mind from time to time suffers from neurosis or at least episodes of them. It may be during this time that the subconscious thought processes are brought to the fore in the form of jokes.

Be the jokes to be product of neurosis or episodes of neurosis in a normal mind, we can derive some sort of knowledge about the subconscious mind of the producer of the joke.

But I will go on to add that we can derive some important information about the state of mind of the listeners by studying the effect of joke on such a person.

Thus, to consider jokes or humor as trivial is a big mistake. Joke and humor are very serious business, at least for the subconscious mind.

Have a nice day!

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KEYWORDS : Jokes and their relation to the unconscious, Jokes, Humor, Funny,  Sigmund Freud, Unconscious, techniques of jokes, Jokes and humor, Mesopotamian culture and civilization, political culture of India, condensation in joke, double meaning in joke, neurosis, subconscious, TANVIR BookTalk, TANVIR BookReview, Tanvir

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