SATURDAY, January 21, 2012 at 7 PM Arrival Time

Ayn Rand and Humor

Some have suggested that Objectivism and Objectivists could do with more humor.  Rand had this to say about humor in the question period following Lecture 11 of Leonard Peikoff’s series “The Philosophy of Objectivism” in 1976.

“Humor is the denial of metaphysical importance to that which you laugh at.  The classic example: you see a very snooty, very well dressed dowager walking down the street, and then she slips on a banana peel…What’s funny about it?  It’s the contrast of the woman’s pretensions to reality.  She acted very grand, but reality undercut it with a plain banana peel.  That’s the denial of the metaphysical validity or importance of the pretensions of that woman.”

“Therefore, humor is a destructive element–which is quite all right, but its value and its morality depend on what it is that you are laughing at.  If what you are laughing at is the evil in the world (provided that you take it seriously, but occasionally you permit yourself to laugh at it), that’s fine. [To] laugh at that which is good, at heroes, at values, and above all at yourself [is] monstrous…The worse evil that you can do, psychologically, is to laugh at yourself.  That means spitting in your own face.”

Jackie will briefly present other views on Rand and humor and lead the discussion.

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Jackie Hazelton
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