By Massimo Usai
“To rejoice, to feel pleasure for the harm of others, for the bad luck suffered by others”.
This is the meaning of the German word “schadenfreude“.
A sort of subtle but extremely pregnant redemption of the malevolent – very malevolent – envy that a “normal” human being who does not know how to feed on himself feels towards the well-being that his neighbour or his “friends”, and sometimes also towards the rest of the world, enjoys the suffering of others.
Yet we should think that all of us, among the few miserable certainties we have, should know that things, in general:
Life cannot always go well nor can they ever go wrong; that is, the wheel of life turns, turns, turns for everyone.
Sooner or later, things turn in one way or another.
It all lies in knowing how to wait or not wait for the ride.
Not to mention that the “normal pathological” will never notice this fact so natural to be in the order of things as much as two plus two is four.
The upturned nose to see the moment when the “other’s misfortune” falls, greater joy if it is a malaise linked to existence.
And then with their hands in their pockets ready to take them out to rub them with pleasure, they prevent them from paying attention to their turn.
But maybe everything is wanted: it is more important that you feel bad, suffer, have harm and pain, rather than me and that I can feel my point of subtle jealousy towards your situation.
We are in the selfishness of existential loneliness, of frustration with the luck of others, who are close to us but are absolutely not as good as them.
Still, we will never be able to admit it even to ourselves.
The German word ” schadenfreude” was first mentioned by the Dutch psychologist Wilco van Dijk.
Anyway – as far as I know – it seems that Aristotle already said and used it.
Certainly not with the German term but with the Greek one of “epicaricacy“, with the same meaning of joy for the evil of others.
In any case, Wilko observes it and uses it as a feeling and, as far as I know, always continues to deal with it in the form of a sense of discomfort and pain.
Caused by the disappointment that the other is – at that given historical moment ( the spinning wheel) – better than us, unable to share his well-being.
I would like to say that the best results in a friend’s everyday life should have a positive, positive meaning about us.
A goad, a motivation to do and imitate and not create a destructive action (from the liver to the soul) to achieve goals that may be too ambitious that wears us out.
Yet, it is useless to hide behind a finger: the schadenfreude exists, and how.
Then we should insert at least two other concepts, to move on to why a human being should feel – indeed, feel – joy for the pains of others.
In my conception and reading of this “joy for the misfortune of the other”, I see very well the concept of sadism which is legitimate to consider as rejoicing in causing pain to the other.
In the end, everything is reduced to terms and considerations that can be part of the same group.
That is, “pleasures, passions, loves for … (something)”: one is not the responsabile (in general) of the other’s sufferings but only amiably pleased spectators of the show.
In fact, one is absolutely an author in full consciousness and awareness to the point of requiring the “restitution” of evil in the form of a masochism unknown in oneself.
The most excellent satisfaction is when someone complains of a kind of intolerance to life, and I must say that in the opinion, in this case, there are inexorably moral and ethical questions.
A person with depressive complications needs help. If you are a friend, you have to give them positive motivations and stimuli, not compliments which are ways of understanding your life.
The other should be considered as a person and friend and not as a mirror in which to find oneself sadistic in having satisfaction to mask one’s failures.
In my opinion, it is a moral question that affects not only the other but also – and perhaps above all – oneself.
It is an (almost) (in) voluntary mental predisposition acquired through personal history, generally of violence.
These reactions are often linked to insecurity and emotional instability and absolute psycho-affective immaturity.
Often the “joy for the suffering of the other” is presented as pathologically insuperable.
It is a consideration of very low self-esteem that is reflected in consolation (very often wrong) that others are also scarce and have disappointments.
A question of morality which, although hardly qualified as non-pathological, can lead to positively “joyful” behaviours that make you lose your mind and get to the most brutal wickedness.
Whoever enjoys the suffering of others is above all a person dissatisfied with himself and unable to look within.
Generally, it doesn’t come out so quickly.
Often it is isolated people who have these symptoms, just look around.
Friends, acquaintances. The less they are invested in the social path, the more they exhibit these symptoms.
This is ultimately the conclusion of a thousand studies related to this type of pathology. Being isolated is always and in any case, a dangerous being for oneself and for others.
In the case, I mentioned today, no doubt for the others.
Of course, we remain in the area of the inability to prove values, such as empathy, or gratuitousness or reciprocity, or a simple friendship.
But, up to now, it can only be the subject of evaluation, disapproval and social criticism. Nothing more.