Hopeless but not serious: Comte-Sponville on humour


If “seriousness is that intermediate position of a man who stands midway between despair and futility”, as Jankelevitch nicely puts it, then humor, by contrast, may be said to opt resolutely for the two extremes… For the lucid eye, what isn’t cause for despair? And for the despairing eye, what isn’t futile? We can still laugh about it all; in fact, that’s probably all we can do. What good is love without joy? What good is joy without humor?….

The truth of humor. The situation is hopeless but not serious.


Andre Comte-Sponville, A Short Treatise on the Great Virtues (Vintage 2003) pp.211-2

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/postaletrice/3204779348


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