Without laughter life on our planet would be intolerable. So important is laughter to us that humanity highly rewards members of one of the most unusual professions on earth, those who make a living by inducing laughter in others. This is very strange if you stop to think of it: that otherwise sane and responsible citizens should devote their professional energies to causing others to make sharp, explosive barking-like exhalations.
Existence loves laughter. You may have observed, or not, that man is the only animal in the whole of existence who is capable of laughing. Laughter is the only distinguishing mark that you are not a buffalo, you are not a donkey; you are a human being. Laughter defines your humanity and your evolution. And the greatest laugh is at your own ridiculous things.
There is nothing more distressing ... than the hard, scoffing spirit which treats the allegation of dishonesty in a public man as a cause for laughter. Such laughter is worse than the crackling of thorns under a pot, for it denotes not merely the vacant mind, but the heart in which high emotions have been choked before they could grow to fruition.
laughter, that distinctively human emotion, laughter which springs from trust in the other, from willingness to put oneself momentarily in the other's place, even at one's own expense, is the special emotional basis of democratic procedures, just as pride is the emotion of an aristocracy, shame of a crowd that rules, and fear of a police state.