Interesting concept, this, of 'laughter' you explore here. I'll try to add few sidenotes as I ramble through your post:
>> (snip) … This morning I thought about laughter for a moment. Upon brief examination, I have concluded that unless a comedian is presenting prepared jokes, or a prank is played on an unsuspecting individual, laughter seldom occurs spontaneously. Is this true for anyone else? I am not saying that nothing is ever truly naturally funny, but it seems at least for me, that natural funny scenarios seldom occur.>>
(M) I think you are right. There seems to be far less 'naturally occuring' funny scenarios than disturbing and unhappy ones.
>> Since spontaneous laughter eludes me, I will be on the lookout for it. Maybe laughter is over rated.>>
(M) My sense is that laughter is indeed over-rated. The true opposite of overt unhappiness is not laughter, but emotional equanimity. And an interesting side effect of emotional equanimity is a healthy sense of humor.
Emotional equanimity is of nature light and free-floating. It is also serious, but this seriousness is not self-directed or self-focussed. And to the extent that we are free from self-focus we begin to sense the lightness of being which has a healthy scepticism, as well as a gentle sense of humor associated with it. We giggle rather than laugh – unless of course something is really funny!
>>I think that serious, realistic, individuals, such as myself, are stereotyped as pessimists.>>
(M) If others stereotype you as 'pessimistic' just because you are 'serious', I think they may be missing some valuable quality in you without which successful living is not possible. Life only offers its secrets to the serious heart. As long, as I mentioned above, such 'seriousness' is not mere self-focus, but truly self-reflective and open-ended.Such seriousness is invaluable to human development.
>> Maybe I have missed something but I think that my society tends to shun realism and promote optimism.>>
(M) 'Realism' is indeed a good word. Optimism is too often associated with empty hopefulness in the form of idle projections and predictions of possible outcomes of events or life in general. Optimism has to be carefully guarded and tempered with a healthy sense of realism lest it diverts out attention from the difficulty with regard to the task ahead. Realism stays in the present and does what needs to be done to secure as good a result as possible. Of course, nothing can be guaranteed. We can only try our best. And empty optimism seems to me not to form part of such kind of realistic trying.