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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.
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”