It’s such an ugly emotion, and one that reveals so much.
It’s been in my mind much lately. I suppose it started with the Ashley Madison hack, and the profusion of “they got what was coming to them” stories. But it’s a constant in the press, and in the news. People seem to love to watch other people suffer. (For a particularly horrifying example, cf. Justine Sacco.)
Maybe there’s an evolutionary explanation for it. Maybe there’s a psychological one. I don’t know.
But I know that it’s, generally speaking, far from my own repertoire of responses. Not always. A few years ago, I wrote a post about a right-wing twit named Jade Morey in which I come pretty close to schadenfreude. I can offer a defense, but that’s not my point.
My point is that, for me, schadenfreude isn’t just distasteful, it’s evidence that I’m not in a good place. If I feel pleasure in someone else’s suffering, for whatever reason, whoever they are, it’s a bad sign.