To me sense of humor should be the foundation stone of the future religiousness of man. There is no need to be so serious. Man is the only animal who has the sense of humor. You have never seen buffaloes laughing, or the donkeys. Only the man can have the feel of the ridiculous, of the absurd. It needs great intelligence to have sense of humor; on the lower planes it does not exist. and even all human beings don’t have it; those who exist on lower planes of intelligence are bound to be serious – serious like the donkeys. Donkeys are very serious people, always thinking about serious things, it seems, much disturbed with all the problems of the world.
I have watched donkeys very closely; from my very childhood I have been very much interested in donkeys. If Pavlov could find many things about man by studying dogs, if Skinner can find many things about man by studying white rats, if Delgado can find many things about man by studying monkeys, I feel why these people have missed the donkey? He comes closest to human beings – a serious philosopher, a pundit, a scholar, a theologian! Who has ever heard a donkey laughing?
Zarathustra seems to be of the highest caliber, of the most refined intelligence At the first sight of the world he laughed He could not contain himself, he could not resist the temptation Seeing where he has landed.
The old professor of philosophy who was retiring addressed his class: “Men, I have two confessions to make before I go,” he said “The first is that half of what I have taught you is not true The second is that I have no idea which half it is!”
A pious old gentleman heard a tough kid on the street swearing at his playmate “Don’t you know,” he admonished the youngster, “it is wrong to use such four-letter words? God will punish you.”
The youngster looked at the man with scorn. “God can’t hear me,” he said. “He’s way up in heaven.”
“Young man, God is everywhere.”
“Is he over in my house?”
“He certainly is.”
“Is he in my yard?”
“You’re crazy – we haven’t got a yard!”
Children are far more clear: you cannot befool them so easily. And at the first moment when the child opens his eyes his clarity is absolute. No priest has come in, no politician has corrupted him yet. He has not been conditioned by Catholics and Protestants and Hindus and Mohammedans. He has not been told all kinds of lies and beliefs and superstitions. His eyes are clear, he can see through and through.
Zarathustra did the right thing – that he laughed.
Once Diogenes asked alms from a man with a philosophic bent of mind. “Before I give you a drachma,” said the man, “convince me why I should do so.”
“If I thought you were amenable to reason,” Diogenes told him, “I would recommend that you go and hang yourself.”