Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

How Laughter Keeps Us Sane

s-LAUGHTER-large.jpgI loved this article in the Times Online by A.C. Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. You can get to the original article by clicking here.

When other animals draw back their lips to show their teeth it means they are about to attack. Hyenas and the Pacific laughing gull naturally produce ha-ha noises but it is humans alone who experience comic relief, for whom bared teeth and convulsive gasps express pleasure. 


Of course there can be a dark side to laughter. There is an ocean of difference between laughing at and laughing with. There can be cruel and mocking laughter, humiliating and nasty laughter. And you would expect philosophy’s gloomiest exponent, Nietzsche, to have a wet sponge to throw at the subject: only humans laugh, he said, because only they suffer enough to need laughter as an antidote. He is, alas, right.

But generally to think of laughter is to think of jollity and delight. It keeps us sane in the face of the world’s absurdities. Laughter punctures pomposity and often constitutes a more effective counter to one’s opponents than all the massed tropes of logic. The comedian-pianist Victor Borge once said that laughter is the shortest distance between two people. It is even said that no woman can love a man who does not make her laugh.


But laughter is about more than jokes. People can laugh for no other reason than that they are happy. They can laugh at unlucky turns; they can laugh with delight at unexpectedly meeting a friend. That all these things prompt laughter is a happy fact about human beings, given how much cause they have to weep too.

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  • zaskira

    roar! i laugh almost everyday! i couldnt agree more! optimism is a natural cure too!



  • Your Name

    Wow!!!Laughter is my favorite activity.I only have the chance to
    laugh when i am with people who have the potential to make me
    laugh.Sometimes,i am in the mood to laugh,i lol as hard on the
    top of my lungs,but,when i have a heavy heart,i hardly laugh.

  • Your Name

    Laughter is a cure all. When sadness strikes watch a comedy show of some type and let your belly shake with laughter. You will soon find yourself not unhappy anymore. The brain releases all the happy stuff and now we are high on happy. Isn’t it strange how you can laugh until you cry – hmmm!

  • Leeann

    Thank You for the article

  • Your Name

    Laughter truly is a medicine and the best kind.It says in the bible a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.I believe sickness and stress are brought on by lack of laughter and joy.I would recommend to anyone who is sick or has a mental disorder LAUGH!!!! Get a pet to care for,animals are naturally silly,pets are VERY therapeutic and do make you laugh.God knew to give animals different personalities to cheer us up when were down.Laughter is my secret and has been my secret to surviving life in such a cruel place I can laugh and instantly feel that it’s not so bad! Thank You Lord for laughter and funny people!!!!

  • Your Name

    Years ago My employer,his family and I and my family,went to a movie
    together. The movie contained a section where a group of ottors were
    playing in the snow.They would be at the top of the creek bank,and slide down into the creek over and over, they would bump into each other, then roll around in the snow and do it all over again. I laughed and laughed untill I had tears rolling down my cheeks! The next day He came to me and told me of the envy he had for me and my
    ability to laugh untill I cried! In an attempt to enlighten him to
    the benefit of laughter and how it helps your body over come the dangers of stress. His only comment was “I can’t relax I have to much at stake here!” It was’nt long after that,that I had to move on, not of my choosing of course. I pray for those that can’t laugh!

  • Lynn Harker

    I found this great little book. I keep it on my desk at home. When life get me down or it’s a cold gloomy day, I read a few pages. It’s call Laughter is an Instant Vacation. I found it at the like above. I also got a great tip at a meeting I went to. The speaker to us to try laughing for 1 minute. He did it in the car. You know when no ones around. Just that vision made me laugh. I tried it. It works. Felt so much better after making myself laugh.

  • Your Name

    This is a wonderful article.
    This is also so true.
    I h ave Lupus and laughter does seem to help, especially when having
    such an illness. Laughter does relieve pain. Take it from someone who knows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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