I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What use is it?
All Commentaries on Ecclesiastes 2:2 Go To Ecclesiastes 2
Basil the Great
Those who live under discipline should avoid very carefully even such intemperate action as is commonly regarded lightly. Indulging in unrestrained and immoderate laughter is a sign of intemperance, of a want of control over one’s emotions, and of failure to repress the soul’s frivolity by a stern use of reason. It is not unbecoming, however, to give evidence of merriment of soul by a cheerful smile, if only to illustrate that which is written: “A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance,” but raucous laughter and uncontrollable shaking of the body are not indicative of a wellregulated soul, or of personal dignity, or selfmastery. This kind of laughter Ecclesiastes also reprehends as especially subversive of firmness of soul in the words: “Laughter I counted error,” and again, “As the crackling of thorns burning under a pot, so is the laughter of fools.” Moreover, the Lord appears to have experienced those emotions that are of necessity associated with the body, as well as those that betoken virtue, as, for example, weariness and compassion for the afflicted; but, so far as we know from the story of the gospel, he never laughed. On the contrary, he even pronounced those unhappy who are given to laughter.