I posted on Facebook today that I was disappointed with my blog “stats” lately. It seems that a couple weeks ago, when I was suffering from a longer-than-usual bout of the “blue meanies,” my despondent, angst-ridden posts had great stats (in fact, one post from that period has my highest “visits” in a single day, ever). Now that the depression has lifted and (I like to think) my posts are “happier,” my blog views have dropped somewhat dramatically. Sigh… Anyway, when I posted that status update on Facebook, all my friends said (of course) sweet things, but my friend Dar said something to the effect of “It’s all schadenfreude, Tim, just schadenfreude.” So, two things:
1. I am always impressed by the vocabulary of my well-educated friends (see my previous post titled “ennui.”)
2. The notion that misery loves company somehow seems elevated when described using a slick German term (I am partially German so I love that, too!)
I mean, I suppose my friend Dar is correct – heck, I guess even I get some weird satisfaction when I see someone changing a flat tire (“Thank God that wasn’t me!”) But really – if I take this graphic translation of the German base words as truth:
Is that REALLY what I want, to “damage joy” to make myself feel better about my own life/situation? God, I hope not. That consolation and comfort come at a great price – like the death of your own soul and spirit. Isn’t that something we all want to avoid?
So, now that I have personally witnessed schadenfreude in action, I am going to be on the lookout for it in myself and my life. Seems like it would be desirable to leave schadenfreude behind and – rather than seek satisfaction in the misfortunes of others – to strive to create joy, not damage or destroy it.
I think I will definitely skip the “schadenfreude party” and instead resolve to follow the philosophy shared by cartoon characters Ren and Stimpy, “Happy Happy Joy Joy.”