Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(On Two Kinds of Laughter)

Have been reading this author called Milan Kundera lately. I went to the library to look for a book called "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by him, but it was loaned out- I found another gem instead:

The Book Of Laughter and Forgetting

It's a sad, strange and disconcerting book, with sharp moments of wisdom and dollops of disturbing scenes which stir up your thoughts like a Wizard of Oz-esque tornado, sending them spinning and churning like Toto and Dorothy. It's a book about life, about politics, about sex, about smoking, about thinking, about poets, about writing, about more thinking, about death, about laughter, and basically about everything elusive and human. In fact it's rather unsettling. I wouldn't recommend reading it while emotionally unstable; might be dangerous.

There are some excerpts which I kept re-reading and re-reading because I couldn't understand it, yet it made so much sense.  It made no sense, yet it made so much sense. Reminded me of G 's quote today from The Civil Wars- I don't love you, but I always will.

Here Kundera postulates on (two kinds of laughter)

"The first time an angel heard the devil's laughter, he was dumbfounded. That happened at a feast in a crowded room, where the devil's laughter, which is terribly contagious, spread from one person to another. The angel clearly understood that such laughter was directed against God and against the dignity of his works. He knew that he must react swiftly somehow, but felt weak and defenseless.

Unable to come up with anything of his own, he aped his adversary. Opening his mouth, he emitted broken, spasmodic sounds, but giving them an opposite meaning; whereas the devil's laughter denoted the absurdity of things, the angel on the contrary meant to rejoice over how well ordered, wisely conceived, good and meaningful everything here below was. 

Laughable laughter is disastrous. Even so, the angels have gained something from it. They have tricked us with semantic imposture. Their imitation of laughter and (the devil's) original laughter are both called by the same name. Nowadays we don't even realize that the same external display serves two absolutely opposed internal attitudes. There are two different kinds of laughters, and we have no word to tell one from the other."

Semantic imposture.
They've tricked us with language and meaning and life- they've tricked us they've tricked us they've TRICKED US. Which laughter do I laugh? NO. They shouldn't both be called laughter to begin with, they've tricked us. The devil's sound should be called something else. I reckon "haighter" would be a good name. "Laugh" is a homonym for "Love" and "Haight" sounds like "Hate".

Haighter [Haig-ter]
The action of making sounds of unadulterated evil.

ORIGIN Related to Dutch haten (verb) and German hassen (verb) or Old English hate (noun), also to laugh.

And here's another-

"Laughter? Do people ever care about laughter? I mean real laughter, beyond joking, mockery, ridicule. Laughter, an immense and delicious sensual pleasure, wholly sensual pleasure...

I said to my sister, or she said to me, come over, shall we play laughter? We stretched out side by side on a bed and began. By pretending, of course. Forced laughter. Laughable laughter. Laughter so laughable it made us laugh. Then it came, real laughter, total laughter, taking us into it's immense tide. Bursts of repeated, rushing, unleashed laughter, magnificent laughter, sumptuous and mad... And we laugh our laughter to the infinity of laughter.. O laughter! Laughter of sensual pleasure, sensual pleasure of laughter; to live is to laugh profoundly."
Laughter; the strangest things like this crack me up-

Seeing Cedric holding his beloved pooh he had left forsaken at my house one day after a week was strangely funny. I texted my aunt and uncle when I found it and for some reason it was unbearable funny at the time.

I cannot think why.

Perhaps it was the strange but captivating charm of watching a little boy and pooh reunite.

Today was supposed to be a short and sweet post about my brilliant weekend meeting Bing/Wei/Dear/Nao/Shee/Qian again for a wonderful picnic near Swan Lake at Botanic, like a dream, with cheerful weather and gentle winds and green hills and happiness deep in my soul.

It was supposed to be nostalgic reminiscence of the old days with the gang, a lively ode to BH and newly minted in his 19 year old glory. 

It was supposed to be about how Harry Potter 7PII was melancholy and nerve wracking but ended on a comically unsatisfying note.

It was supposed to be a general rant about Neville's heroism and my beautiful Mei, and how stupendously glad I am to be her sister. 

I reckon I get too distracted by my own thought sometimes- it is awfully annoying.
Next time, maybe.

But for now-

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