Laugh at everything – absolutely, without exclusion, without limit – many thinkers have dreamed of it one day or another. Only Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), in the end, was able to show the dizzying scope, the power and the perils of this crazy adventure. It is very commonplace and easy to laugh at our faults, our vices, our pettiness, all our pettiness. It is another matter, on the other hand, to look in the face the colossal derisory of our virtues, the fragile lures of our values, beliefs and dogmas – and to laugh about it like an immense and absurd farce.

In this singular form of asceticism, it is advisable not to take anything seriously any more. It is therefore a question of ending – definitively, if possible – with salvation as with truth. With devotion to science, to religions and morals, not to mention philosophies. We must aim for this unique, unprecedented, ultimate feat: laughing even at laughter, not transforming it into a new criterion of superiority. It is therefore also advisable to practice, fully, to make fun of yourself, to consider yourself small and ephemeral, to stop considering yourself with the slightest gravity.

The Gay Knowledge, that Nietzsche published in 1882, was entirely driven by this desire. Living as an artist rather than a scholar, a musician rather than a geometer, a poet of the body rather than a philosopher of the soul, it begins with laughter. It alone allows us to free ourselves from the screeds of lead, to put an end to the shackles. “Ultimate liberation” who would spare nothing, “Maybe laughter still has a future”. It is not by chance that Nietzsche places these remarks at the beginning of the book.

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Terrible joy

The philosopher, whose laughter becomes a hammer, will soon imagine classifying the philosophers according to “The quality of their laughter”. The best are as mischievous as gods: their cheerfulness spares nothing, they know how to laugh “At the expense of all serious matters”. “I deployed my laughter like a canopy of a thousand colors”, Zarathustra said, also affirming: “I ordered them to laugh at their austere sages. ” This terrible joy undoes everything that passes for the best. It shakes up rationality, shakes the safeguards. All the ideas-pillars of the normal order are shaken by it: it is no longer obvious that life has a purpose and a meaning, that certain rules are sacred, that we owe respect to anything. , to anyone.

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