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Fr Jim Cogley

Is it not strange that in the area of Catholic spiritual writing it is difficult to find any book on laughter or humour. While the Laughing Buddha is part of the Buddhist tradition there is no Laughing Jesus. Talk, let alone laughter, was frowned on in churches where believers were expected to wipe the smile off their faces as they blessed themselves in the holy water font as they entered. Saving one’s soul was regarded as a serious business! One notable exception in the tradition was St Francis, who equated seriousness with sin. Similarly in the field of psychology only a very small number of psychologists have given laughter any serious consideration. Most textbooks on psychology focus on areas like depression, neurosis and psychosis. For every hundred papers published on the harmful effects of emotional disturbances there will be hardly one that looks at the positive healthy effects of having fun and laughter.

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