Quote by Stephen Leacock

But the deep background that lies behind and beyond what we call humor is revealed only to the few who, by instinct or by effort, have given thought to it. The world's humor, in its best and greatest sense, is perhaps the highest product of our civilization. Its basis lies in the deeper contrasts offered by life itself: the strange incongruity between our aspiration and our achievement, the eager and fretful anxieties of today that fade into nothingness tomorrow, the burning pain and the sharp sorrow that are softened in the gentle retrospect of time, till as we look back upon the course that has been traversed, we pass in view the panorama of our lives, as people in old age may recall, with mingled tears and smiles, the angry quarrels of their childhood. And here, in its larger aspect, humor is blended with pathos till the two are one, and represent, as they have in every age, the mingled heritage of tears and laughter that is our lot on earth.

But the deep background that lies behind and beyond what we


This quote emphasizes that true humor is not just mere amusement, but a profound reflection of life's complexities. Only a select few who have actively pondered on the subject can uncover the deeper meaning and purpose of humor. The author suggests that humor is a significant achievement of our civilization, as it arises from the contrasting elements inherent in existence. These contrasts include the disparity between our ambitions and actual achievements, the transient worries that lose their significance with time, and the realization that pain and sorrow become softened and nostalgic as we reflect upon our journey through life. Ultimately, humor and pathos are tightly intertwined and symbolize the bittersweet essence of human experience.


By Stephen Leacock
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