TO LAUGH AT OURSELVES, TO LAUGH AT OTHERS
«In the end, everything is a gag»
Attributed to Charles Chaplin
To laugh at others, and at their mistakes and contradictions can be a bad sign – a sign of insensibility and roughness. But to laugh at ourselves and at the contradictions inevitably present in our own lives can be a sign of sensibility and openness.
Those who are not able to laugh at themselves, those who are not able to see a certain human comedy and how it deserves to be laughed at loudly, are too wounded, or too old, or can be rightly suspicious of having a primary mind. As Comte-Sponville states, «whoever makes of himself a statue – be it for the glory of man or the sake of the law – cannot complain when he is suspected of being hard-hearted or assuming a pose».
We can’t laugh at everything or laugh permanently, because life has a true hard and tragic element. And also because convictions – in that they are authentic and humble – deserve our respect, and the respect of others. Our life is a gag in many moments, as Charles Chaplin stated. But not always...
We all are fragile beings, subject to the whim of luck, to the limitations of our brains, to fear and pain. All these cause a certain human appetite for myths, sins, illusions, chimerical behaviour, incoherence between what is said and what is done. These features introduce and feed contradiction into our lives. Even the most coherent and lucid of us can’t help living the contradiction. We all live. The difference is only a matter of degree.
And that’s why humour about our lives is so pertinent. To face life seriously, to meditate over its meaning and nature, is, ultimately, also to be able to laugh at it. To laugh at life at the right moments can be a sign of mental health… and a sign of wisdom.