Schadenfreude (pron. Sha-den-froy-dah)

All of us do it, or get it. It’s a disease, a very debilitating and paralyzing one, at least to the spirit - first. But though it attacks our inner selves first and foremost, it eventually wiggles and gnaws its way into our outer physical bodies, because of the inevitable interaction and interdependence between body and spirit. By the time it has reached our outer limbs and skin, it may have already revealed deadly symptoms of incurable leprosy. Medical doctors - and the medical profession - may not have any idea of what you’re talking about if you try to tell them that you suffer from schadenfreude even with implicit eloquence and undefiled German pronunciation.

For Samoans, the disease manifests itself in familiar expressions such as “Ua make ai lea [bleep]!” (Curse on him, for he rightly deserves the mishap.)  In other words it’s the pleasure and satisfaction you get from the misfortunes of others - it’s malicious satisfaction. You’re happy that someone else has suffered and experienced some mishap or bad luck.

In a physical confrontation, schadenfreude is akin to punching your opponent even while he’s already down or surrendered.

Have you had your first attack of schadenfreude today? How many more to go? Faifai malie (take it easy).

Question:  If happiness and satisfaction help us emotionally, and in turn boost our physical health, as proven by the medical profession and others, does it matter how we acquire such happiness and satisfaction, especially on a strictly emotional basis?  Put simply, does it matter if we get our doses of happiness and satisfaction through schadenfreude or other diabolical means?

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