The advantages of natural laugher

Laughter is a life-giving force – an invaluable way of boosting our defenses, according to doctors. A burst of laughter causes the body to release antibodies in the nose and respiratory system which protect us against viruses and bacteria; it distends blood vessels, warding off heart attacks, reduces blood pressure and releases endorphins – the natural chemicals which reduce pain and lift our mood. In view of all this, it is hardly surprising that laughter has been commercialized by all manner of opportunists. Indeed, «laughter clubs» now have thousands of members who pay to rid themselves of tension through induced mirth in group situations. But apart from the coarse commercialization of one of our most natural emotional expressions, the success of these businesses also points toward the tragic decline of laughter in a society where pain, poverty and injustice prevail. It highlights a widespread indolence, confusion and sickness in our society. Evidently, many of us are incapable of laughing naturally and spontaneously any more and find ourselves seeking help from self-styled experts. This may be partially because we have forgotten the latent qualities of laughter – apart from acting as a medicine for the body, it is also a very powerful remedy for the mind. The most common, and easy, laughter is that provoked by the minor mistakes or accidents of others. But the most liberating laughter is that borne of our need to lend a certain comedy to tragic situations or truths in order to make them more bearable. These days, we have more than enough superficial, fake laughter such as the type that predominates on television shows and too little of the genuine mirth that is a fitting response to the hypocrisy that surrounds us.

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