Laughter is not entirely an innate trait but something that is part of the diabolic nature of mankind. It is the manifestation of evil that resides within humans in the form of pride, arrogance and patronizing behavior that people have developed over a period of time. In ancient times the people were less satanic than today as evil tendencies were lesser or fewer. The true reality of laughter can be found be in the popular maxim, ‘The wise man never laughs but he trembles’ (Baudelaire, 2). The saying has a religious connotation but from the philosophical point of view it is very rational. Laughter is an expression of the feeling when the onlooker finds an event or a thing comic. This spurs the feeling of mirth which is usually born out of selfishness and without regard to the position or point of the other person. It is this disregard which breeds pride in that particular person. The fall of the other person does not let him empathies but makes him laugh which should not be the conduct of a God fearing person. In other words it is satanic nature that sparks laughter in an otherwise human and civilized person. The laughter as satanic is corroborated by the fact that only spectator finds it funny and not the victim. This can be proved by comparison with different cultures as well. To the west the religious deities and idols of Asia might seem ridiculous while considered highly revered in the eyes of their worshippers (Baudelaire, 7). Therefore, the folly lies in the eye of the beholder and not the object itself. This happens because of the false sense of pride and nothing else. The comic is therefore the symptom of aberration from the civilized path by mankind. Since the root cause behind comic is uncivilized and inhuman, laughter is best categorized as satanic.
In categorizing laughter as satanic, it is pertinent to differentiate between laughter and joy. Laughter, in the strict sense of word is closely related to the concept of comic at the sight of somebody meeting a mishap. Joy is an expression of being fulfilled from inside rather than the reaction to somebody’s misfortune. On the contrary, joy can be expressed in the form of tears as well and not only through laughter. Tears of happiness are also a manifestation of extreme form of joy. Therefore, the two types cannot be considered equal. Equally important at this point is to mention the laughing of a child. It is logical not to categorize it as laughter since the child does not harbor any feelings of pride or arrogance. Hence, joy contains a benign element of happiness created by inner fulfillment and satisfaction only, while laughter is always accompanied by a diabolic nature.
The comic can be further categorized into the following three forms:
All the three forms are the genres of laughter or satanic nature of mankind. However, there are subtle differences between them. While absolutely comic is described by the immediacy of laughter, a significantly comic event is the one where laughter might be delayed. This is the main distinction between the first two types of comics. The innocently comic is a bit complex and difficult to describe but it’s near to absolutely comic. It is an aesthetic way of explaining comic and gives pleasure to the onlooker. As examples, France can be described as significantly comic, Germany as absolutely comic and Italy as innocently comic (Baudelaire, 10). All of these classifications have been made on the basis of the traditions, practices and general tendencies inherent in those cultures. In other words, comic can be classified according to the religious and cultural environment of every country. The underlying mores of a particular culture define the comic genre applicable to that country, whether absolute, significant or innocent in nature.
The inherent ability of comic to generate feelings of superiority in an individual over others is the basic reason that laughter it is categorized as satanic. In other cases, it can generate superior feelings over nature as well. This is grotesque and a deviation from the moral state of mind of a civilized individual. Hence, it is right to say that ‘laughter has a diabolic parentage (Baudelaire, 6)’.