“Simply Sunday” is weekly meme held by the fabulous Chihara over at BOOKS FOR A DELICATE ETERNITY. Basically, it’s where you post a quote from anything –song, book, TV show– and write a blog-post about it.
I have completely forgotten about Simply Sunday last Sunday! When I finally remembered, it was already Thursday. But now I have added it as an event on my awesome new electronic calendar (yes, it’s using Yahoo! mail, even though it went out of fashion a couple of… years ago). Anyway, today’s quote is from a favourite comic of mine: Calvin and Hobbes.
I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.
Although Hobbes is the character expressing the sentence, Bill Watterson is the actual creator behind the comic itself.
For anybody who’s never heard of Calvin and Hobbes, it is a comic with an audience of, in my opinion, children. It revolves around a cheeky, relatable young boy, Calvin, with a stuffed tiger called Hobbes (who just happens to come to life) as a best friend. Although it is engineered towards children, some of the things it discusses in a light-hearted tone are deeper than the surface.
The whole passage goes like this:
Calvin: Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humour? When you think about it, it’s weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it’s funny. Don’t you think it’s odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does it benefit us?
Hobbes: I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.
Calvin: (after a long pause) I can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.
In a three-panelled simple comic, reasoning behind the human appreciation of absurdity is depicted. The reason I chose this quote is because sometimes we need a reaction, and we often choose laughter as a defense mechanism. Hobbes is absolutely correct in saying that a lot of reactions would be lost without laughter: freak accidents causing deaths, supernatural abilities and a lot of horror movies (I’m one of those people who’s always laughing at them).
Without laughter, we wouldn’t have an absolute feeling to associate with events, with everyday ongoings, with unexplained circumstances; perhaps that’s why we choose to laugh. As for Calvin’s response, the actual feeling is one of dread, but laughter is another option. Although it’s commonly associated with humour, it’s not always the case. Sometimes, we just don’t know how to respond; we use nervous laughter instead.
I thought the quote was an interesting analysis of the human mind, and the truth behind laughter.