In “Schadenfreude Is in the Zeitgeist, but Is There an Opposite Term? Word used for taking pain in another’s pleasure is ‘gluckschmerz’; or is it?” Ben Cohen writes of “Schadenfreude” (shameful joy in another’s pain) and it’s ‘made up’ counterpart “gluckschmerz”. The counterpart term is supposedly penned by “…a writer who identified herself as Wanda Tinasky and claimed to be a bag lady living underneath a bridge” (13-14 June 2015, Wall Street Journal). As it happens, Ms. Tinasky herself might be a made up person, pseudonym for Thomas Pynchon who himself denies any connection.
Whether or not Ms. Tinasky or Mr. Pynchon coined the term, the fixation on another’s misfortune, even if exhibited in pop culture as comedic, actually speaks to a profound tragedy within the human psyche. What is the fascination with the negative? Why do we take pleasure – shameful or otherwise – in the other’s pain?
What is the reality we create with such a mindset on negativity?
Look around you. Whether or not you are attuned to the daily news, the predominance of negativity is stifling. The shrill rancor of tragedy and suffering is omnipresent. The fall of one company to the demise of another and the toppling of erstwhile empires and titans of industry are almost delightfully celebrated.
And so, the fall of man.
Let’s suspend disbelief for now and flip this around. Rather than settling for “gluckschmerz” as a counterpart to “Schadenfreude”, why don’t we consider terms of celebration, potentiality realized, and jubilation in another’s success and happiness? What if we extolled greatness and achievement?
What is the reality we create with such a mindset on achievement?
IPT suggests a world liberated of and from the self for ultimate freedom in the other achieved through the individual’s realization of his infinite creative potentiality. By so doing, he exists in an absolute realm of the other, free from all fetters of self. From the position of other, he will be able to engage and leverage actions and achievements towards a positively meaningful end not just for his generation, but also for future generations to come. Very much like outward radiating ripples in a pond, the pebble of greatness he sets forth bursts forward from the pond into the ocean as unrelenting waves.
Greatness, Achievement, and Meaningful Positivity with Infinite Creative Potentiality act in unison as the sun and moon, ebb and tide of the new paradigm in other over self. In this paradigm, “Schadenfreude” and “gluckschmerz” are jettisoned as obsolete and irrelevant to the general zeitgeist. In its place are the miracles of human innovation, invention, and imaginative creativity.
A brave new world indeed…