Biologically, there is only one quality which distinguishes us from animals: the ability to laugh. In a universe which appears to be utterly devoid of humour, we enjoy this supreme luxury. And it
is a luxury, for unlike any other bodily process, laughter does not seem to serve a biologically useful purpose. In a divided world, laughter is a unifying force. Human beings oppose each other on a great many issues. Nations may disagree about systems of government and human relations may be plagued by ideological factions and political camps, but we all share the ability to laugh. And laughter, in turn, depends on that most complex and subtle of all human qualities: a sense of humour. Certain comic stereotypes have a universal appeal.
Humour helps us maintain a correct sense of values. If we can see the funny side, we never make the mistake of taking ourselves too seriously. The sense of humour must be singled out as man’s most important quality because it is associated with laughter. And laughter, in turn, is associated with happiness. Courage, determination, initiative - these are qualities we share with other forms of life. But the sense of humour is uniquely human. If happiness is one of the great goals of life, then it is the sense of humour that provides the key.