Pleasure in others’ misfortune: Schadenfreude


It is not enough to succeed, others must failGore Vidal

rahimtweet (1)
Bangladesh’s wicket-keeper batsman’s tweet after the match

Manifesting their delight after the hard-fought victory of West Indies over cricket-mad India, People of our neighbouring countries made me wonder, why we get pleasure in others’ misfortune; How can we even enjoy others’ misfortune; Is it morally right to feel happy in others’ demise; Who defined it a ‘pleasure‘; Why can’t we feel it in our own misfortune.

As I was pondering over this subject, I realised, on several occasions, I was confronted with Schadenfreude.
Once during my college days a female friend of mine Sneha, felt exuberant after the break-up of her ex-boyfriend with her own roommate. She was successful in concealing her smile from her roommate at that moment, but when she gave us the treat, she hid no such feelings.
Everyone was astonished after noticing her pleasure, that derived from the break-up.

Suddenly, another incidence popped up from my college days.
During those days, we had a nice group & had the famously called leader of our group Vineet, whose features had an expression of an amiable & compassionate person; but, when meticulously observed the nuances of his characters, anybody could have had apprehension. Slowly Rohan, the smartest engineer in our group started getting attention due to his zealous approach towards the secretary of the technical club. And then, the opaqueness of Vineet’s countenance became transparent, when Rohan was denied the post of Secretary & our leader’s contempt burst out when he described “that obsequious sycophant Rohan had been denied the post of Secretary, let’s have beer”, as he wasn’t able to conceal his natural expression with the veil of sympathy.
He enjoyed; his followers enjoyed; & certainly the misfortune of Rohan brought the Schadenfreude moment for them.

Whether it be when a deserving candidate doesn’t get promoted or when the topper of a class doesn’t get placed. There are several common episodes when everybody has seen or felt an expression of Schadenfreude. We all become victims when misfortune falls on us & we all derive pleasure when it falls on others, isn’t it ironic?

Reminiscing similar incidents, one can deduce that human beings are regularly basking in loathing & despising one’s teammate, colleague, friend, relatives & even their siblings.
We don’t feel pity in others’ debacle, rather we take pleasure out of it. We all despise at least one person on this planet Earth & whose misfortune we enjoy as a victory parade.

If envying is a sin, then what Schadenfreude is?
Schadenfreude – the emotions in others’ misfortune are generally regarded as morally evil. It is often considered to be less acceptable than envy, which is a deadly sin. It is the worst trait in human nature since it is closely related to cruelty.

Generally people who aren’t able to accomplish something in life, enjoy the most in others’ misfortune; & when a little feeling of mortification strikes their mind these wicked minded pacify themselves by saying “we are not accountable for eliciting the misfortune, then this emotion of ours shouldn’t be reproached as an immoral act.”

Psychologists reveal in their studies that “when one has low self-esteem, one will do almost anything to feel better” they also claim that” those who feel more threatened by someone, also feel more Schadenfreude in that person’s demise.”
Studies show that pleasure in others’ misfortune stems from considering cruelty & sadism as the prototypical case of this emotion.

Ours is a society that thrives on compassion & empathy. To renounce Schadenfreude, cruelty & sadism from our society, and transform towards a humane & genteel civilisation, we have to enlighten it, & it can advance more rapidly if we inspire it by our own example.

P.S.- Guys, this is my first attempt, if anybody reading this post finds any mistake, please do share it with me. It would be a great help.



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