Category Archives: Humour

Love and laughter

Jesus said

Love your neighbour as yourself.

The commandment has a corollary.

Love yourself as your neighbour.

‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ is a utilitarian moral principle. To love someone is to value their happiness. To love your neighbour is to value, as Bentham put it, ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’. To love your neighbour as yourself is to heed Bentham’s dictum, ‘each to count for one, and none for more than one’.”

This gives the lie to claims that Christian morality is a species of altruism. It’s obviously not.

Now consider

Laugh at your neighbour as yourself.

and its corollary

Laugh at yourself as your neighbour.

Would Jesus approve this message? I think he would. He was not past poking fun at his own disciples on occasion. Of course, I think Jesus was more a “laugh with you” than a “laugh at you” kind of a guy. But Jesus can’t laugh with you if you don’t get the joke. So practise laughing at yourself. In the words of Dame Edna Everage

Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.

Compare and contrast Dame Edna’s advice with the advice of another famous dame.

Humor is the denial of metaphysical importance to that which you laugh at. … If what you are laughing at is the evil in the world (provided that you take it seriously, but occasionally you permit yourself to laugh at it), that’s fine. [To] laugh at that which is good, at heroes, at values, and above all at yourself [is] monstrous . . . . The worst evil that you can do, psychologically, is to laugh at yourself. That means spitting in your own face.

No sense of humour. How about a sense of life instead?