I spent some time yesterday laughing as thoroughly as I ever have (so far as I remember, with the possible exception of one time in college). I was scanning through a bunch of mock "motivational posters" and then some really great fantasy foods, such as the Turbaconucken (a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, all wrapped in bacon).
I was later driving home in a capital mood. It occurred to me that for many years I had been thinking about matters of happiness and morality. At different times I pledged to be better and to do better. I resolved to do more and to do better.
Yesterday I thought I could collapse all of that together into a ball, to allude a bit to Marvell, just by laughing. I love to laugh. Who doesn't? I'm good at laughing. Who isn't?
The upshot of it all is that I realized that laughter is both the sign and the practice of my aspirations. Pretty cool.
I wondered about possibly pursuing the laughter as a dissertation topic. There's been stuff done recently, but I think where I want to come in is from a perspective that also addresses the biology/evolutionary aspects of laughter, the cultural uses of laughter throughout Anglo-Saxon England and Medieval Scandinavia/Europe, and the forward-funniness of Anglo-Saxon England (i.e., the way we today look back in amusement at 'them').
I need to think more about this because I would be using rather standard material. The texts and the linguistic data is pretty well established. The only new thing I can offer is context, so it needs to be full and clear eanough to make obvious avenues of research.