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Ride, si sapis, ô puella ride; If thou beest wise, laugh: for since the powers of discourse and Reason, and laughter bee equally proper vnto Man onely, why shall not he be onely most wise, which hath most vse of laughing, aswell as he which hath most of reasoning and discoursing? I alwayes did, and shall vnderstand that Adage; Per risum multum possis cognoscere stultum, that by much laughing thou maist know there is a Foole, not, that the laughers are Fooles, but that among them there is some Foole at whom wisemen laugh: which moued Erasmus to put this as his first Argument in the mouth of his Folly, that she made Beholders laugh: for fooles are the most laughed at, and laugh the least themselues of any.
–John Donne, Certaine Paradoxes and Problemes, pt. x, That a Wise Man is Knowne by Much Laughing (1633)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”