Uit zijn autobiografie So, Anyway…:
Hoofdstuk 4 (over een leraar):
… but now I realised that I really disliked him, and I knew exactly why: he didn’t know the difference between being solemn and being serious. He was a dour, grim little gnome who could not understand that you can try to do your very best at something, and you can have a perfectly serious discussion, while making your points humorously.
… things that seem very important at the time usually aren’t, and […] it’s not unkind to laugh at temporary upsets, especially when they’re our own. In fact, it’s rightly considered healthy to be able to laugh at oneself, and we all much prefer people who do not take themselves “too seriously.”A good sense of humour is the sign of a healthy perspective, which is why people who are uncomfortable around humour are either pompous (inflated) or neurotic (oversensitive).
Pompous people mistrust humour because at some level they know their self-importance cannot survive very long in such an atmosphere, so they criticise it as “negative” or “subversive.” Neurotics, sensing that humour is always ultimately critical, view it as therefore unkind and destructive, a reductio ad absurdum which leads to political correctness.
Not that laughter can’t be unkind and destructive. Like most manifestations of human behaviour it ranges from the loving to the hateful. The latter produces nasty racial jokes and savage teasing; the former, warm and affectionate banter, and the kind of inclusive humour that says, “Isn’t the human condition absurd, but we’re all in the same boat.”
Update: Haha, als ik geweten had dat hij gisteren jarig was had ik dit natuurlijk gisteren geplaatst. Ook toevallig.