Monday, November 11, 2013

Dostoyevsky and Laughter

“If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he's a good man.”


I have a joke machine automatic in my head that tells jokes and I have laughter problems because I hate to laugh at times but can't help myself because I am such a good laughter.  I mean what I meant to say is that I smuggled the ludicrous machine probe from Aldebaran ten years ago through the ether when I lived in Seattle and laughed myself to silly death dictum come through the heart of the night sporadically for a while during the passing of the winter dark star amidst psychotic nirvanic delirium.  Ever since then laughs sneak up on me from always unbeknownst angles and regions.  I have battles and wars with laughter.  And the more I think about this quote the more confused I become about laughing because the sound is elusive and I second, third, and forth guess myself.  Sometimes I sound like I am making an animal noise out in the woods when I laugh there.  Sometimes I sound like a creature that is in desperate need of being shot as a wounded horse is put down.  I always laugh at the height of my mental anguish as if the treacherous sadistic peak had then been cleared and I have surmounted gravity's darkness.  I am freer and more genuine in my laughter when alone and by myself in solitude.  Laughter seems to be associated more with charm than beauty as beauty is the realm of tears.  Is that laughing well?  I don't know...


  1. He means literally to gauge a person's "goodness." Not their beauty or their charm. That's why he says good. A man with such a grasp of language could've conjured up a more suitable word than that, had he meant it. The type of laughter you are describing is the type that Dostoevsky uses as a device in his novels to depict s plagued (or distracted/ pre-occupied) subconscious. Maybe consciousness,,,who knows. At any rate, it is not the same variety of candid, social laughter that Dostoevsky means in this off-handed comment about the Nature of Man's 'laughter.'

  2. Well it is nice to encounter someone knows who is good by their laughter and in what manner and setting although Dostoevsky doesn't really go into these kind - candid and social - of specifics in this quotation. I guess I am plagued, distracted and pre-occupied and as a result do not qualify as a good person. It wasn't my intention to distract readers by introducing charm and beauty into the equation in the place of "goodness." It was just an off-handed observation affixed to the short.