Arthur Schopenhauer ger svaret på frågan i Studies on Pessimism:
I am not surprised that some people are bored when they find themselves alone; for they cannot laugh if they are quite by themselves. The very idea of it seems folly to them.
Are we, then, to look upon laughter as merely a signal for others—a mere sign, like a word? What makes it impossible for people to laugh when they are alone is nothing but want of imagination, dullness of mind generally … The lower animals never laugh, either alone or in company. Myson, the misanthropist, was once surprised by one of these people as he was laughing to himself. Why do you laugh? he asked; there is no one with you. That is just why I am laughing, said Myson.
Jag måste erkänna att jag skrattar ensam då och då — implicerar det att jag är misantrop? Eller att jag har fantasi och ett piggt sinne?