Saturday, June 20, 2009

I was reading a piece by Max Beerbohm on laughter just for fun, and I was intrigued by his style and I thought the two following parts were entertaining,
hope you enjoy.

“As to what is most precious among the accessories to the world we live in, different men hold different opinions. There are people whom the sea depresses, whom mountains exhilarate. Personally, I want the sea always – some not populous edge of it for choice; and with it sunshine, and wine, and a little music. My friend on the mountain yonder is of tougher fiber and sterner outlook, disapproves of the sea’s laxity and instability, has no ear for music and no palate for the grape, and regards the sun as a rather enervating institution, like central heating in a house. What he likes is a grey day and the wind in his face; crags at a great altitude; and a flask of whisky. Yet I think that even he, if we were trying to determine from what inner sources mankind derives the greatest pleasure in life, would agree with me that only the emotion of love takes higher rank than the emotion of laughter. Both these emotions are partly mental, partly physical. It is said that the mental symptoms of love are wholly physical in origin. They are not the less ethereal for that. The physical sensations of laughter, on the other hand, are reached by a process whose starting-point is in the mind. They are not the less “gloriously of our clay.” There is laughter that goes so far as to lose all touch with its motive, and to exist only, grossly, in itself. This is laughter at its best.”

“……I utter a course peal of ----laughter.
At least I say I do so. In point of fact, I have merely smiled. Twenty years ago, ten years ago, I should have laughed, and have professed to you that I had merely smiled. A very young man is not content to be very young, nor even a young man to be young: he wants to share the dignity of his elders. There is no dignity in laughter; there is much of it in smiles. Laughter is but a joyous surrender, smiles give token of mature criticism. It may be that in the early ages of this world there were far more laughter than is to be heard now, and that aeons hence laughter will be obsolete, and smiles universal – every one, always, mildly slightly, smiling. But it is less useful to speculate as to mankind’s past and future than to observe men. And you will have observed with me in the club-rooms that young men at most times look solemn, whereas old men or men of middle age mostly smile; and also that those young men do often laugh out loud and long among themselves, while we others – the gayest and best of us in the most favorable circumstances—seldom achieve more than our habitual act of smiling. Does the sound of that laughter jar on us? Do we liken it to the crackling of thorns under a pot? Let us do so. There is no cheerier sound. But let us not assume it to be laughter of fools because we sit quiet. It is absurd to disapprove of what one envies, or to wish a good thing were no more because it has passed out of our possession.”
This second piece will have little appeal if you are young, but if you are an old-timer like me, I think you will, sadly, relate.
Top Photo by Om Mishra, bottom photo by Miguel Ramos

6 comments:

Danielle&Hannah said...

Hey Fred,

Ah... another deeply worded post! You have read well. The language of love and also of laughter are universal. Sometimes my thoughts are that the language of food may be universal also? Maybe it's just a wish of mine? and now i'm off the track.... The first one appealed to me most! :-)
Have an awesome week ahead!
Danielle

Mel said...

Hi Fred!

I love the sound of laughter, and I love to laugh. There are a few individuals at my work that, whenever I hear a group of people laughing, I know that one or another of them must be part of the group, because they have a gift for bringing honest and good laughter out of the depths of people's souls.

I love movies, books, emails, stories, etc, that make me laugh. Not a polite tee-hee, either, but a whole-body, I-can't-help-it laugh that brings tears to my eyes and makes my sides ache. I'm looking for that kind of laughter more and more these days. Someone sent me something that made me laugh like that, recently, and I cried so hard I cried all my makeup off. And my sides ached for the next three days. It was so much fun, I'll never forget it. :)

God bless you, Fred!

HAINAngel2000 said...

I think Laughter is one of the best emotions God created. Laughter helps our hearts fill with joy. Our bodies NEED it, our spirit NEEDS it and our minds need it. We are created in God's image so therefore we know God has a sense of humor and laughs. I bet He can tell the best jokes there is :) I can't wait to hear God's laughter. I rather enjoyed this post.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred:)

Laughter, it is said, is the best medicine. A loud hearty laughter shakes up the entire body and leaves it rejuvenated.

In Kochi we have laughing clubs. People get together and laugh loudly for the sake of laughing, not because there is any joke but merely to go through the motion of loud boisterous laughter. They say this kind of laughter is good for health because it shakes up the entire nervous system.

Very interesting post and lovely photo.

Have a nice day Fred:)
Joseph

FCB said...

Hi Danielle,
Amen sister! to the food that is :)
The language of laughter, great term, I confess I lack as much of that language as I used to. Life can somehow beat that out of you if you don't watch it, I'm afraid I haven't watched as closely as I should, but, there is change in the wind and maybe I can recapture some.
God bless and thanks for your comments,
Fred

FCB said...

Hi Mel,
It's true, some people have such sunny and funny dispositions that they are a joy to be around.
I'm envious that you work around someone like that.
Bye the way, so everyone knows, my computer caught the Whooping cough, and is at the hospital, I'm not sure the prognosis, but hopefully in a few days I will have it back and fully recovered.
I know there is a way to post etc. from another computer, but so far I haven't figured out how, oh well.
God bless,
Fred


Hi Mary,
You just have to be right, like you say, it fills us with such joy, and I can imagine the wit of God, just like he shrouded things in parables, I'll bet he will tell jokes that will take a while to get and then we will burst with laughter. Can't wait!
Love Fred


Hi Joseph,
Laughing clubs??? That makes me laugh! I have never heard of such a thing but like you said, laughter is the best medicine.
If I ever get to India, I will be sure to go there, maybe one day you can take me.
I take it your computer issues have been resolved, good, hope mine are soon.
God bless dear friend,
Fred