Life is a Joke

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Well, perhaps life is not a joke, but it may be refreshing to think of life that way in contrast to the idea that life is tragic. Laughter is too often ignored as an essential ingredient in life, perhaps even as the essential ingredient in the good life. We should not be so serious, but instead enjoy laughter and levity.

There are many kinds of humor. There are jokes, including both good and bad jokes, offensive jokes, and tedious jokes. Some thinkers emphasize the importance of sophistication in humor, but others say that laughter itself is what is important, not what the laughter is about. On the other hand, some say that offensive and silly jokes should not count as humor at all.

Tragedy and comedy can be combined in black humor. Once an old man has lost everything, but he breaks out in uproarious laughter and encourages the others to do the same. It provides the only possible “happy ending” to a story of greed, disappointment, and death.

It is hard to deny that all of us could use a little more humor, not so much in our lives but about our lives, in the way we see our own faults and foibles.

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