Gurr i/o : Schadenfreude

What I'm thinking :


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My father is not an advice giving father, but—out of the blue—not long ago he offered me this in passing and apropos of nothing in particular that we were discussing, said,

“Never find joy in anyone else’s pain.”

I said, “yes.” 

And we moved on.

Anyone else’s pain. Something bad. Harm.

Even—maybe especially—when that “pain” or “bad” or “harm” comes in the form of revenge. Or comeuppance. Or just deserts. Or, even, justice. 

Never find joy in anyone else’s pain.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the weekend.

The reason it’s a good piece of advice is that if you do practice deriving joy from the pain of others you find yourself waiting for the pain of others. Wishing for the pain of others. Even contributing to the pain of others, working in the service of it so that you might feel joy.

The joy of being better than. The joy of knowing more than. The joy of gossip. The joy of being entertaining and entertained by…

The pain of others

Really?

There are many other places to find joy. So many other ways to work in the service of creating real joy. 

Schadenfreude. It makes for a funny song in Avenue Q, but it sucks as a way to go through life.

 

Christopher Gurr