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What Schadenfreude May Say


Schadenfreude is a German word usually defined as experiencing or taking pleasure in the misfortune of others and is derived from Schaden (“damage, misfortune”) and Freude (“joy”). Studies show that the more threatened (including threats to our ego’s or sense of self-worth) we feel by an individual or class of individuals, the more likely we are to feel schadenfreude. While related to self-esteem in that individuals with high self-esteem tend to experience less schadenfreude, self-esteem is most likely more of a chicken or egg issue i.e. the higher our sense of self-esteem, the less likely we are to feel threatened. 

There is a lot to be said for compassion and perhaps even a bit of humility; the phrase “There but for the Grace of God go I” (see footnote) reminds us that fate and fortune play a significant part in all our lives. Perhaps we have just not had the temptations or the trials and tribulations of others. Never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

Closing Quotes:

“Maybe you lead a more virtuous life. Maybe you just lead a smaller one. It is difficult to say without being tested.” – Kevin D. Williamson on misplaced schadenfreude re Tiger Woods’s DUI arrest

“Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” –  Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize

“What others do is their karma, how you react is yours.” – Zen proverb


Usually attributed to John Bradford, 1510-1555, an English reformer imprisoned in the Tower of London for alleged crimes against Mary Tudor and burned at the stake on 1 July 1555, and in turn perhaps a paraphrase from 1 Corinthians 15:10, “… by the grace of God I am what I am…” 

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Too Much is Never Enough


Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses because most likely they are chasing the wrong wagon. They won’t be happy when they catch whatever they are chasing and you won’t be either.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me something I don’t already know. Money can’t buy happiness. Check. Got it. Heard that one a long time ago. Next please.

Ah, humanity. I love you. For we are one and the same, you and I. And if we only did as well as we know life would be so much grander.

Luxury Fever. Over consumption. Credit card debt. Self-medicating, distracting ourselves from our real selves, our real needs, with alcohol or the latest fad or social media meme or just general busy-ness.

Closing Quotes:

“What my grandmother taught me: ‘Think twice about spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like anyway.’” – Michele Singletary

“Affluenza: painful, contagious social condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste from the dogged pursuit of more.” – John De Graaf, David Wann, and Thomas H. Naylor; ‘Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic’

“You can never really own more than you can carry with both hands while running at full speed.” – Robert Heinlein, 1907 –1988

“All good things are wild and free.” – Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862, Cause of Death: Tuberculosis

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Don’t Let Your Pain Control You

second arrow

Time heals all wounds… if we do not go back and re-wound ourselves by making the pains of the past the story of our lives, thus polluting our future as well. Buddhism has a concept called the “Second Arrow”. The first arrow/wound is what happened to you, the “Second Arrow” is how you wound yourself by your (over) response/reaction. Or more generally, what others do is their karma, how you respond is yours.

When you let your pain control you, you are in reaction mode and you’ve handed over your power to something outside yourself. I find it helpful to dwell upon the ethereal nature of life and think of myself less as a human being having a spiritual experience and more as a perpetual spiritual being have a temporary human experience.

Problems and pain are a normal and natural part of life and “It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.” (Scott Peck, 1936-2005, The Road Less Traveled)

Closing Quote:

“Don’t let your pain control you; stabbing your wound repeatedly as if that would somehow heal it.” – Jenna Wolf, slightly edited

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier