Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"You would hardly appreciate the comic if you felt yourself isolated from others. Laughter appears to stand in need of an echo. Listen to it carefully: it is not an articulate, clear, well-defined sound; it is something which would fain be prolonged by reverberating from one to another, something beginning with a crash, to continue in successive rumblings, like thunder in a mountain. still, this reverberation cannot go on for ever. It can travel within as wide a circle as you please: the circle remains, none the less, a closed one." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Learn to laugh. And most of all, learn to laugh at yourself. The person who can give a riotous account of his own faux pas, will never have to listen to another's embarrassing account of it. He will rarely know the sting of humiliation. His a delight to be with, but more important, he is enjoying his own life, and applying to his ills and errors the most soothing balm the human spirit has devised - laughter." - Margaret M. Butts

"The ability to laugh at life is right at the top, with love and communication in the hierarchy of our needs. Humor has much to do with pain; it exaggerates the anxieties and absurdities we feel, so that we gain distance and through laughter, relief." - Sara Davidson

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." - Albert Einstein

"Man is the only creature endowed with the power of laughter." -

"Seriousness shows itself more majestic when laughter leads the way." - Heinrich Heine

"Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power, that is all." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Life is serious, and in that seriousness there is great laughter. And it is only the serious mind that is living, that can solve the immense problem of existence." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Laughter, indeed, is God’s therapy... in order that we might understand that at the heart of our mortal existence there lies a mystery, at once unutterably beautiful and hilariously funny." - Madame de Motteville, Françoise Bertaut de Motteville

"The goal of wisdom is laughter and play - not the kind that one sees in little children who do not yet have the faculty of reason, but the kind that is developed in those who have grown mature through both time and understanding. If someone has experienced the wisdom that can only be heard from oneself, learned from oneself, and created from oneself, he does not merely participate in laughter: he becomes laughter itself." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"The laughter of man is the contentment of God." - John Weiss

"Laughter is a universal bond that draws all men closer." - Nathan Ausubel

"The really happy man never laughs or seldom though he may smile. He does not need to laugh, for laughter, like weeping, is a relief of mental tension and the happy are not over-strung." - Francis A. P. Aveling

"Laughter is man's friend, for it lightens all his burdens... Who cannot laugh stoutly cannot weep stoutly." - Otto Blumenthal

"There is the laughter which is born out of the pure joy of living, the spontaneous expression of health and energy - the secret laughter of the child. This is a gift of God. There is the warm laughter of the kindly soul which heartens the discouraged, gives health to the sick and comfort to the dying... There is, above all, the laughter that comes from the eternal joy of creation, the joy of making the world new, the joy of expressing the inner riches of the soul - laughter that triumphs over pain and hardship in the passion for an enduring ideal, the joy of bringing the light of happiness, of truth and beauty into a dark world. This is divine laughter par excellence." - J. E. Boodin

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." - Victor Borge, born Børge Rosenbaum

"Upon the sacredness of property civilization depends - the right of the laborer. There is very little success where there is little laughter." - Andrew Carnegie

"Laughter is regional; a smile extends over the whole face." -

"Laughter is an integral part of life, one that we could ill afford to lose. If I were asked what single quality every human being needs more than any other, I would answer, the ability to laugh at himself. When we see our own grotesqueries, how droll our ambitions are, how comical we are in almost all respects, we automatically become more sane, less self-centered, more humble, more wholesome. To laugh at ourselves we have to stand outside ourselves - and that is an immense benefit. Our puffed-up pride and touchy self-importance vanish; a clean and sweet humility begins to take possession of us. We are on the way to growing a soul." - Arthur Powell Davies

"To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face; to greet the day with reverence for the opportunities it contains; to approach my work with a clean mind; to hold ever before me, even in the doing of little things, the Ultimate Purpose toward which I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart; to be gentle, kind and courteous through all the hours; to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep and the joy that goes with work well done - this is how I desire to waste wisely my days." - Thomas Dekker

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked By the laughter of the gods." - Albert Einstein

"If the animals suddenly got the gift of laughter, they would begin by laughing at themselves sick about man, that most ridiculous, most absurd, most foolish of all animals." - Egon Friedell, born Egon Friedmann

"Fun gives you a forcible hug, and shakes laughter out of you, whether you will or no." - David Garrick

"Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects." - Arnold Henry Glasgow

"Laughter is a most healthful exertion; it is one of the greatest helps to digestion with which I am acquainted." - Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland

"Happiness is a thing of gravity. It seeks for hearts of bronze, and carves itself there slowly; pleasure startles it away by tossing flowers to it. Joy's smile is much more close to tears than it is to laughter." - Victor Hugo

"I like the laughter that opens the lips and the heart, that shows at the same time pearls and the soul." - Victor Hugo

"Did you ever observe that immoderate laughter always ends in a sigh?" - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"God made both tears and laughter, and both for kind purposes; for as laughter enables mirth and surprise to breathe freely, so tears enable sorrow to vent itself patiently. Tears hinder sorrow from becoming despair and madness; and laughter is on top of the very privileges of reason, being confined to the human species." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"What is pornography to one man is the laughter of genius to another... Men are freest when they are most unconscious of freedom... The world fears a new experience more than it fears anything. Because a new experience displaces so many old experiences... the world doesn't fear a new idea. It can pigeonhole any idea. It can't pigeon-hole a new experience." - D. H. Lawrence, fully David Herbert "D.H." Lawrence

"Science will never be able to reduce the value of a sunset to arithmetic. Nor can it reduce friendship to a formula. Laughter and love, pain and loneliness, the challenge of accomplishment in living, and the depth of insight into beauty and truth: these will always surpass the scientific mastery of nature." - Louis Orr

"The acceptance of truth that joy and sorrow, laughter and tears are not confined to any particular time, place or people, but are universally distributed, should make us more tolerant of and more interested in the lives of others." - William M. Peck

"To jealousy, nothing is more frightful than laughter." -

"The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder." -

"There is, above all, the laughter that comes from the eternal joy of creation, the joy of making the world new, the joy of expressing the inner riches of the soul - laughter from triumphs over pain and hardship in the passion for an enduring ideal, the joy of bringing the light of happiness, of truth and beauty into a dark world. This is divine laughter par excellence." - John Elof Boodin

"Laughter does not seem to be a sin, but it leads to sin." -

"Many times what cannot be refuted by arguments can be parried by laughter." - Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, sometimes known as Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam

"Humor is one of God’s most marvelous gifts. Humor give us smiles, laughter, and gaiety. Humor reveals the roses and hides the thorns. Humor makes our heavy burden light and smooths the rough spots in our pathways. Humor endows us with the capacity to clarify the obscure, to simplify the complex, to deflate the pompous, to chastise the arrogant, to point a moral, and to adorn a tale." - Sam Ervin, fully Samuel James "Sam" Ervin, Jr.

"Laughter spreads ripples on the surface; tears come from the inside." - Itamar Yaoz-Kest

"I prefer to make up my own quotes and attribute them to very smart people, so that I can use them to win arguments. " - Albert Einstein

"The cause of laughter is simply the sudden perception of the incongruity between a concept and the real object." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"Progress is nothing but the victory of laughter over dogma." - Benjamin De Casseres

"While there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world quite so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." - Charles Dickens, fully Charles John Huffam Dickens

"Laughter is satanic, and, therefore, profoundly human. It is born of Man’s conception of his own superiority… It is at once a sign of infinite grandeur and of infinite wretchedness; of infinite wretchedness by comparison with the absolute Being who exists as an idea in Man’s mind; of an infinite grandeur by comparison with animals." - Charles Baudelaire

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." -

"The mintage of wisdom is to know that rest is rust, and that real life is in love, laughter, and work." - Elbert Green Hubbard

"The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms." - George Santayana

"There is nothing worth the wear of winning, But laughter and the love of friends." - Hilaire Belloc, fully Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc

"Laughter is an affection arising from the sudden transformation of a strained expectation into nothing." - Immanuel Kant

"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities." - Jean Houston