Friday, August 18, 2006

Taking Ourselves Lightly

I've been thinking about our whole discussion following the Pope Benedict quote about taking ourselves lightly, and Chesterton's feelings and thoughts about that, and it being very hard to always keep things light. It takes humility to be light, and it is our pride that takes over when we make things heavy.

A Chestertonian friend sent me a Chesterton quote on this subject which I want to share with you.

"Another philosophy would say, for instance, that
laughter is due not to an animal cruelty but to a purely human
realization of the contrast between man's spiritual immensity within
and his littleness and restriction without
, for it is itself a joke that a
house should be larger inside than out
. According to such a view, the
very incomparability between the sense of human dignity and the
perpetual possibility of incidental indignities, produces the primary
or archetypal joke of the old gentleman sitting down suddenly on the
ice. We do not laugh thus when a tree or a rock tumbles down;
because we do not know the sense of self-esteem or serious
importance within. But such speculations in psychology, especially in
primitive psychology, have very little to do with the actual history of
comedy as an artistic creation. (Emphasis mine.)

("Humour" from the Encyclopedia Britannica, in Spice of Life 25)

This quote brings together some of the discussion on Harry Potter and magic houses that we've been having over on my personal blog, Flying Stars, and the Pope quote on humor.

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