One of Epicurus’ ‘Vatican Sentences’ reads: «I say that we must laugh as well as seek the truth». As for the Cynics, it is not a burst of ironic laughter with a moralising intention but the natural expression of the pure pleasure of existence that comes from a joyful and fearless heart: free. It is also a way of underlining human madness, «the futility of what is of interest to the masses». Laughter is, in Epicurean philosophy, an invitation to the subversion of values or the alteration of customs. It unmasks and destroys, presenting, in return, an alternative. It demystifies the previous philosophical tradition, particularly that of Plato, in a healthy disrespectful way. The Epicureans reject the Platonic thesis that «when someone abandons himself to violent laughter, he provokes a violent reaction». There is nothing harmful or hurtful in laughter – neither in that of the Epicurean gods nor in men. Laughter for them is an expression of the happiness proper to sages and gods. Happy sages and laughing gods are linked together by friendly laughter. The protagonists of this discussion, Javier Cansado y Carlos García Gual will surely share, per Epicurus’ motto: «Of all the means that wisdom uses to attain happiness in life, the most important by far is the treasure of friendship».
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Book signing after the event.