Friday, May 18, 2007


"Misery loves company." - Old Proverb

Today I was thinking about Schadenfreude. It is a German word that means "pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune." Obviously this is a rather sick part of human nature, but I think most of us experience it every now and then. Usually (unless you are a really sick person) other's serious pain won't make us smile, but their moderate pain might. For instance, at Olive Garden, when a server starts telling his fellow servers about how a table was horrible to him and then stiffed him, I notice all the other servers crowd in and hang on every word. I think they enjoy these stories because it makes them feel better about their own tables. Also, sometimes as a student I am feeling bad about being a little bit behind in some of my assignments, a friend will come up and complain that they are much further behind then I am. Suddenly, I feel much better!

I can't even begin to tell you about all the times I have laughed at others misfortune and truly enjoyed hearing/seeing every detail of whatever painful thing happened to them. I'm not sure how this fits in with being a Christ follower. Did Jesus laugh if say Peter got a rake in the face? Is it OK to laugh (or even just smile inwardly) at other's misfortune? If I'm honest I have to say that a lot of my humor is based on this. Is this just how we are conditioned? Can we (and ought we) learn a higher way of being?

May Light increase!

No comments: