The laughing philosopher of Abdera. He should rather be termed the deriding philosopher, because he derided or laughed at people's folly or vanity. It is said that he put out his eyes that he might think more deeply.
Democritus, dear droll, revisit earth, And with our follies glut thy heightened mirth.
Democritus Junior. Robert Burton, author of The Anatomy of Melancholy (1576-1640).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894