Coffee and Schadenfreude

I don’t understand people sometimes.  I’m sure the answer is simple enough but I struggle to find it.  I’m talking about the pleasure that some people get out of the misfortune of others.  It doesn’t even have to be someone that they dislike.  It just has to be someone’s misery or misfortune that makes people feel better.  They roll around in it like a giggly little fat pig in an excretion filled mud hole.  I just don’t understand it.  It’s commonly called by its Bavarian name Scadenfreude, or “harm-joy”.

I’m like you.  I’m not innocent of getting a measure of satisfaction out of someone’s misfortune.  The clearest incidence in my mind is the time Tim Tebow was playing for the Florida Gators and they were the visiting team at the University of Kentucky.  I believe it was late in the game and a rusher came free off of the edge and Tebow had no clue he was coming.  Tebow was hit so hard…,so,so hard. Needless to say it wiped him out.  Knocked him out cold.  Tebow sat up and started vomitting from the trauma of being knocked out.  And for a moment I had a smile on my face that Mr. Clean couldn’t have wiped off.  Why?  Why was I so happy that he had taken  such a brutal hit?  Hind sight is 20/20 and in reflection I feel so guilty for the way that I laughed.

Maybe it’s the same reason why I like scary movies.

I love to watch scary movies because I get to feel the intensity of fear.  I get to feel the exhilaration of adrenaline flowing without the actual risk of being harm/dying.  I think the reason why I felt that way about Tebow was that I got to see a horribly crushing blow without having to actually risk going through it myself.  I think it’s the same thing with harm-joy.  I think the reason why people enjoy the misfortune of others so much and bask in it is because they like the drama of it without having to risk any personal repercussions of the events.

Regardless of why it occurs it is still pathetic.  It was pathetic that I enjoyed seeing someone get critically injured in a football game.  It’s just as pathetic when someone in your social group suffers a misfortune and you get antsy in the pantsy wanting to go around gossiping about it to mutual acquaintances so that you get the giddy little feeling deep down inside.  Keep in mind that if you wouldn’t want it to happen to you don’t wish it on someone else.


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