We find a joke funny. We find a concept compelling.
Sometimes, things are lost on us.
People laugh along with jokes they don’t get.
They know the definition of each word. They comprehend the sentences. Yet, they don’t get “it”.
Sometimes a person will explain her understanding of a joke, and you’re left wondering whether she’s ever experienced humor. If you explain what is funny about the joke, she might memorize and repeat your explanation without ever finding the joke funny.
She might be blind to the possibility that a joke is more than a social ritual. Laughing in the right place means one belongs.
If you’ve never gotten a joke, you cannot know what it is to have missed one.
People nod along with concepts they don’t get.
They know the definition of each word. They comprehend the sentences. Yet, they don’t get it.
Concepts are not thoughts, but something behind a thought that is “gotten” or “missed”.
If humor were as rare as love of concepts, people would openly sneer at comedy and call it “bullshit”. They’d call jokes pure fiction, and they would be mostly right.
It is perfectly possible to memorize and flawlessly reproduce dance steps but never dance. But when we dance we naturally perform the steps. Or rather, the dance itself dances the steps through us.
One can work out flawless systems without the guidance of an overarching concept. But working by concept naturally (eventually) produces systems. Or rather, the concept itself unfolds as a system through us.
Some people are so good at imitating the real thing that rationality cannot discern the difference, even if intuition can. But intuition cannot argue. It can only show.
Jokes, philosophies, designs, dances, songs, tastes, conversations… wherever there is letter and spirit, there will be those who know and those arguing that there is nothing to know but what is arguable.
A tough room makes even the best comedian doubt his powers.
Some related etymologies:
Conceive, concept, conception: ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French concevoir, from Latin concipere, from com– ‘together’ + capere ‘take.’
Receive, receptive, reception: ORIGIN Middle English : from Anglo-Norman French receivre, based on Latin recipere, from re- ‘back’ + capere ‘take.’
Perceive, perceptive, perception: ORIGIN Middle English : from a variant of Old French perçoivre, from Latin percipere ‘seize, understand,’ from per- ‘entirely’ + capere ‘take.’
Synthesis, synthesize: ORIGIN early 17th cent.: via Latin from Greek sunthesis, from sun- ‘together’ + tithenai ‘to place.’
Antithesis, antithetical: ORIGIN late Middle English: from late Latin, from Greek antitithenai ‘set against,’ from anti ‘against’ + tithenai ‘to place.’