This expansive quotation comes from the Preface to the Expanded Treasury of Laughter by Feng Menglong (1574-1646). I love its tumbling cascade of mutual mockery and laughter. And, like Aristotle, he seems to posit laughter as a quiddity of being human, though I’ve picked up intimations of its being shared by some of our fellow earthlings, such as otters.
Yes, we are all humournoids. Or most of us.
And if you want to worship at the altar of laughter, try this one, pending our rounding up other mirthful deities.
‘Some laugh at others and some are laughed at by others; those who laugh at others also become the butt of others’ laughter while those who are laughed at in turn laugh at others. Ah, people will never stop laughing at one another, will they? … There’s still all the rest of that one great treasury of the laughable – the whole world past and present with you and me in the middle of it as well, as part of the pabulum. Man isn’t man without talk, and talk’s unthinkable without laughter.’
Source: Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 (1574-1646), Preface to the Expanded Treasury of Laughter (廣笑府序), trans. William Dolby; calligraphy courtesy of He Yubin