For and Against LELB Society

Advanced Reading Course | Humor

Course | Humor

Advanced Reading Course | Humor

Selected Text

Source: The Coursebook,

Unit 30: “The most important of all human qualities is a

Biologically, there is only one quality which distinguishes us from animals: the ability to laugh. In a universe which appears to be utterly humor, we enjoy this supreme luxury. And it is a luxury, for unlike any other bodily process, laughter does not seem to serve a biologically useful purpose. In a divided world, laughter is a . Human beings oppose each other on a great many issues. We all share the ability to laugh. And laughter, , depends on that most complex and subtle of all human qualities: a sense of humor. Certain comic stereotypes have a universal appeal. This can best be seen from the of ’s early films. The little man society never fails to amuse no matter which country we come from. As that great commentator on human affairs, Dr , once remarked, ‘Men have been wise in very different modes; but they have always laughed in the same way.’

A sense of humor may take various forms and laughter may be anything from a refined tinkle to an earthquaking roar, but the effect is always the same. Humor helps us to maintain a correct sense of values. If we can see the funny side, we never make the mistake of taking ourselves too seriously. We are always reminded that tragedy is not really far removed from comedy, so we never get a lop-sided view of things.

This is one of the chief functions of and . and suffering are so grim; we hover so often ; life realities are usually enough to plunge us into . In such circumstances, cartoons and satirical accounts of somber events . They pompous and arrogant people who have lost their sense of proportion. They enable us to see that many of our most profound actions are merely comic or absurd. We laugh when a great satirist like Swift writes about war in Gulliver’s Travels. The Lilliputians and their neighbors attack each other because they can’t agree which end to break an egg. We laugh because we are meant to laugh; but we are meant to weep too. It is no wonder that any satire is wholly banned. It is too powerful a weapon to be allowed to flourish.

The sense of humor must be singled out as man’s most important quality because it is associated with laughter. And laughter, in turn, is associated with happiness. Courage, determination, initiative – these are qualities we share with other forms of life. But the sense of humor is uniquely human. If happiness is one of the great goals of life, then it is the sense of humor that provides the key.

Advanced Reading Course | Humor

Advanced Reading Course | Humor

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