为幸灾乐祸辩护
In Defense of Schadenfreude
4219字
2021-03-30 13:50
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火星译客

Tiffany Watt Smith is a historian of emotions. How's that for a profession? In The Book of Human Emotions, which came out in 2016, Smith profiles 154 emotions in sharp, concise bursts. Torschlusspanik, she writes, “describes the agitated, fretful feeling we get when we notice time is running out.” (The German term translates as “gate-closing panic.”) The Japanese word amae refers to the “sensation of temporary surrender in perfect safety.” And there is a two page–long entry on schadenfreude—“from the German Schaden (harm) and Freude (pleasure)”—that often-shameful feeling of pleasure at another's pain.

蒂芙尼·瓦特·史密斯是一位情感历史学家。这是什么职业呢?在2016年出版的《人类情感》一书中,史密斯以尖锐、简洁的方式描述了154种情感。她写道,托尔施卢斯潘尼克“描述了焦虑不安,当我们注意到时间不多的时候,我们会有一种烦躁的感觉。”(德语术语翻译为“关门恐慌”。)日语单词amae指的是“在完全安全的情况下暂时投降的感觉”。还有一个长达两页的关于幸灾乐祸的词条——《来自德语的幸灾乐祸》和《弗洛伊德(愉悦)》常常因别人的痛苦而感到羞耻的快乐。

In her new book, Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another's Misfortune, Smith—who is a Wellcome Trust research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London—takes a close look at the various flavors of this feeling. There is the schadenfreude we feel witnessing someone else's accident, the burst of joy when our rival falters, the satisfaction when justice is served, the pleasure of watching the morally superior get their comeuppance. There is sibling rivalry (and sibling-esqure rivalry in the workplace). There is the guilty pleasure when a friend we envy suffers a disappointment.

在她的新书《幸灾乐祸:他人不幸的喜悦》中,伦敦玛丽女王大学情感史中心的惠康信托基金研究员史密斯仔细观察了这种感觉的各种味道。看到别人的意外,我们会感到幸灾乐祸;看到对手步履蹒跚,我们会感到欣喜若狂;看到正义得到伸张,我们会感到满足;看到道德自负的人得到报应,我们会感到高兴。有兄弟姐妹之间的竞争(在工作场所也有兄弟姐妹之间的竞争)。当我们羡慕的朋友遭遇失望时,会有一种罪恶的快乐。

Smith makes reading about schadenfreude fun. She also convincingly levies the broad argument that, although there are circumstances in which it can be dangerous, schadenfreude is a vital part of the way we relate to one another and doesn't deserve to be held in such poor esteem. I spoke with Smith by phone about the nuances of schadenfreude and her experience writing about this much-judged emotion.   

史密斯让阅读有关幸灾乐祸的文章变得有趣。她还令人信服地提出了一个宽泛的论点,即尽管在某些情况下幸灾乐祸可能是危险的,但幸灾乐祸是我们与他人相处的重要方式,不应该如此不受尊重。我在电话中与史密斯谈论了幸灾乐祸的细微差别,以及她写这种饱受批评的情绪的经历。

Why do you think it’s important for us to pay attention to our emotional states and our inner lives in the first place?

为什么你认为关注我们的情绪状态和我们的内心生活对我们很重要?

For one thing, that's how we understand what is really motivating our behavior. It's very hard to be honest if you are wading through layers of defensive shame and confusion. I think that emotional self-knowledge is really, really important for our public collective good.

一方面,这是我们理解什么真正激励我们行为的方式。如果你在层层的羞耻感和困惑中挣扎,你就很难做到诚实。我认为情感上的自我认识对我们的公共集体利益非常重要。

In terms of the history of emotions, I think it's important that we appreciate that our emotions are shaped not just by biology but also by the cultures we live in — the philosophical ideas, medical ideas, religious ideas, political ideas and ideas about gender and so on that surround us. If we really appreciate the cultural voices that shape our imagination, we can understand that there's quite a complicated play at work in our minds when we experience one emotion and then perhaps feel shame about it, or feel that we need to adjust our responses to fit prescribed behavior.

就情感的历史而言,我认为重要的是,我们要认识到,我们的情感不仅是由生物学所塑造的,而且是由我们所生活的文化所塑造的——哲学思想、医学思想、宗教思想、政治思想和关于性别的思想等等围绕着我们。如果我们真的欣赏塑造我们想象力的文化声音,我们就会明白,当我们经历一种情绪,然后可能会感到羞愧,或者觉得我们需要调整我们的反应以适应规定的行为时,我们的头脑中有一个相当复杂的游戏在起作用。

The emotions that we value have changed and do change across time. For example, in the sixteenth century, sadness was a very valuable, sought-after and praised emotion. Now, happiness is the emotion that we're all supposed to be aspiring to. Something as simple as that can make you question the received wisdoms of your own time.

我们所看重的情感已经改变,而且确实随着时间的推移而改变。例如,在16世纪,悲伤是一种很有价值、很受欢迎和称赞的情感。现在,幸福是我们都应该追求的情感。这么简单的事情会让你质疑你那个时代的公认智慧。

In your new book, you write about how experiencing schadenfreude can prompt, almost immediately after, a fear of judgment. How did you think about revealing your own experiences of schadenfreude? Was there some relief in it, or was it more like sacrificing yourself for the broader purpose of writing this book and exploring this concept?

在你的新书中,你写道,经历幸灾乐祸之后,你会立即产生一种对评判的恐惧。你如何看待自己幸灾乐祸的经历?这是一种解脱,还是更像是为了写这本书和探索这个概念而牺牲自己?

It is definitely more sacrificial [laughter]. I actually still feel shame. I was talking to a friend and my editor: “Oh gosh, I'm going to have to talk to people about this book.” I've done lots of interviews before, but on other topics. With this one, I do feel exposed.

这绝对是一种牺牲[笑声]。其实我还是觉得羞愧。我和一个朋友和我的编辑说:“哦,天哪,我得和人们谈谈这本书。”我以前做过很多采访,但都是关于其他话题的。有了这个,我真的觉得暴露了。

But in a way, that was one of the things that got me interested in it in the first place: this isn't an easy emotion to talk about. It's cloaked in a lot of shame but also ambivalence and awkwardness. And that that was interesting to me. I was intrigued: What are the situations in which we feel this? Why do we feel it? And what do we do when we do feel it?

但在某种程度上,这是让我开始感兴趣的一件事:这不是一个容易谈论的情感。它隐藏在羞愧之中,也隐藏在矛盾和尴尬之中。这对我来说很有趣。我很好奇:我们在什么情况下会有这种感觉?我们为什么会有这种感觉?当我们真的感觉到的时候,我们该怎么办?

And then this emotion, which had seemed a rather minor, fleeting thing, seemed to be actually much more present and prevalent than I had realized. It had seemed to be a minor bit of malice, but had actually revealed itself to be a really interesting window into all kinds of human interaction and behavior.

然后这种情绪,这似乎是一个相当小的,转瞬即逝的事情,似乎实际上是更为现实和普遍的比我所意识到的。这似乎有点恶意,但事实上却显示出它本身是一个真正有趣的窗口,可以了解人类的各种互动和行为。

It seems important to you to present in the book a view of schadenfreude that is not moralizing or judgmental, just analytical. How did you think or write your way through that initial fear and shame? Often, there's a sense of curiosity and real delight in the writing.

对你来说,在书中提出一种关于幸灾乐祸的观点似乎很重要,这种观点不是说教或评判,而是分析性的。你是如何思考或书写你最初的恐惧和羞愧的?通常,在写作中会有一种好奇感和真正的乐趣。

It's very hard to write about something which you are trying to hide. You sort of just have to embarrass yourself, don't you? When you're writing, ultimately I think you feel like you can have a certain amount of control. There is wryness in the voice in the book, which allows it both to reveal stuff and to control it a little bit. And I guess the way that I wrote my way into it was trying to be honest with myself about the kinds of scenarios that I found myself enjoying.

写一些你试图隐藏的东西是很难的。你得让自己难堪,不是吗?当你写作的时候,我想你最终会觉得你可以有一定的控制力。书中的声音充满了苦涩,这使得它既能揭示事物,又能稍微控制它。我想我写这篇文章的方式是对自己坦诚,告诉自己我喜欢的情景。

Also, because I was reading so much about this topic and talking to so many people about it, it did, through that process, become normalized for me. One of the reasons that some emotions that feel very shameful is that you get the feeling you're the only person who feels like this. One of the great reliefs for me in reading other people's work on this subject, and one of the things I hope that some people might take away from the book, is, “Oh, yes, everyone feels like this. Everyone has this from time to time. And people have been feeling like this for a very long time; this isn't unique for me here right now. I'm not a terrible person. This is just a feature of what it is to be in living it collectively.”

而且,因为我读了很多关于这个话题的书,也和很多人谈论过这个话题,在这个过程中,它确实对我来说变得正常化了。一些感觉非常可耻的情绪的原因之一是你觉得你是唯一一个有这种感觉的人。对我来说,阅读别人关于这个主题的著作是一种莫大的解脱,也是我希望一些人能从这本书中学到的一件事,那就是,“哦,是的,每个人都有这样的感觉。每个人都会时不时地遇到这种情况。人们有这种感觉已经很久了;这种情况对我来说并不罕见。我不是一个可怕的人。这只是集体生活的一个特征"

At the beginning of each section of the book, you offer brief lists of examples of each flavor of schadenfreude, and I often got a shot of joy or relief from reading through those. One of my favorites was, “Horse yoga (in which people do yoga on top of horses) and when it goes wrong. [laughter] Could you walk me through your process of writing those very specific examples? I pictured you keeping a notebook with you at all times and writing one down when it came to you. But equally it could have been you sitting down with each of these categories and making these up.

在这本书每一部分的开头,你都简要列举了各种幸灾乐祸的例子,读这些书时,我常常感到一阵喜悦或宽慰。我最喜欢的一个是,“马瑜伽(人们在马背上做瑜伽),当它出错时。”[笑声]你能跟我讲讲你是怎么写这些具体例子的吗?我想象着你一直随身带着一个笔记本,一有需要就把它写下来。但同样的,也可能是你坐下来研究这些类别然后编造出来的。

It was much more the first. When I start writing about emotions, I observe myself feeling them and try and understand what it feels like. That process does involve me jotting down things that prompt that emotion — usually I email them to myself or make notes on my phone. I collect them at the same time as I'm reading and thinking.

这更像是第一次。当我开始写情绪时,我观察自己对情绪的感受,试着去理解它的感觉。这一过程确实涉及到我记下那些引发这种情绪的事情——通常我会给自己发邮件或者在手机上做笔记。我在阅读和思考的同时收集它们。

After a while, I start to understand how an emotion works on many different levels. Emotions are very broad and they don't have straightforward boundaries, and there are lots of subcategories. But once I start jotting down lots of instances, I start to get a picture of the range.

过了一会儿,我开始了解一种情绪是如何在不同层次上工作的。情绪非常广泛,没有直接的界限,而且有很多子类别。但是一旦我开始记下很多实例,我就开始得到一张范围的图片。

I didn't actually include those lists in the book initially; I was just using them as a way to help me organize the other material. In the first draft that I sent to my editor, I included only one list as part of the introduction and my editor said, “Oh, please, can you put more lists in?” [laughter] So I went back to my notebooks and I had all of these examples. At that point it turned into the skill of trying to tell them with a good punch line.

起初我并没有把这些清单写进书中;我只是用它们来帮助我组织其他的材料。在我发给编辑的初稿中,我只列出了一份清单作为导言的一部分,编辑说:“噢,拜托,你能再多放一些清单吗?“(笑声)所以我回到我的笔记本,我有所有这些例子。在这一点上,它变成了一种技巧,试图告诉他们一个很好的妙语。

The phrase “punch line” is particularly apt here: There are some wonderfully funny stories in the book, especially in the historical research you include. One personal favorite was the third century emperor who had his dinner guests sit on deflating airbags so they fell under the table. That delighted me. And then I loved the tale of the “Earle of Oxford” who went into a [laughter] seven-year exile after he farted in front of the Queen. The book is quite short, and you pack in so much. Can you talk about choosing what to include?

“妙语”这个短语在这里特别贴切:书中有一些非常有趣的故事,特别是在你所包括的历史研究中。一个个人最喜欢的是三世纪的皇帝,他让他的晚餐客人坐在放气的安全气囊上,这样他们就会掉到桌子下面。我很高兴。后来我喜欢上了“牛津伯爵”的故事,他在女王面前放屁后被流放了七年。这本书很短,你写得太多了。你能谈谈选择要包括什么吗?

If I was to pick up a big book about schadenfreude, I might find it a bit off-putting. Whereas something small, something deceptively playful and light, I thought might have a chance of finding lots of readers and appealing to a broad range of people. Of course, as I got going on it, this topic revealed itself to be quite complex. So then it became a process of trying to see how much could go in without overstuffing it.

如果我拿起一本关于幸灾乐祸的大书,我可能会觉得它有点令人讨厌。尽管有些小东西,一些看似好玩又轻巧的东西,我想可能会有机会找到很多读者,吸引更多的人。当然,当我开始讲的时候,这个话题本身就显得相当复杂。因此,它变成了一个过程,试图看看有多少可以进去,而不是过度填充它。

You don't linger on this, but you point out in the introduction that the difference between schadenfreude and sadism is that with schadenfreude, we aren't causing the pain ourselves. That seems to me a really key part of this, and makes it even more interesting that we experience such shame around schadenfreude.

你不会停留在这个问题上,但你在引言中指出幸灾乐祸和虐待狂的区别在于幸灾乐祸并不是我们自己造成的痛苦。在我看来,这是一个非常关键的部分,这使得我们在幸灾乐祸周围经历这种羞耻感更加有趣。

When the word first appeared in English, it was used quite broadly. Some of the ways people used it are very familiar to us today — laughing at vain people getting their comeuppance, or enjoying the possibility that some law that you didn't vote for ends up screwing up badly and everyone gets in a real muddle about it. But people also talked about scenarios that were much more brutal and unpleasant, and the sorts of things that we probably wouldn't think of as being schadenfreudian today, like people enjoying watching cats being tortured.

当这个词第一次出现在英语中时,它的用法相当广泛。今天人们使用它的一些方式对我们来说非常熟悉——嘲笑虚荣的人得到了应有的报应,或者享受某个你没有投票支持的法律最终搞砸了,每个人都陷入了真正的混乱。但是人们也谈到了更加残酷和令人不快的场景,以及我们今天可能不会认为幸灾乐祸的事情,比如人们喜欢看猫被折磨。

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, you get an expanding and professionalization of psychology, which means a lot of naming and categorization of mental life. This is the moment when a lot of the conditions and names that we are familiar with today, like anxiety, get invented. One of them is sadism. And I think it's because sadism comes into focus as a particular condition of mind, and one that is so clearly linked to pleasure and torturing, that you get this kind of hiving off schadenfreude. So schadenfreude becomes something which is much more opportunistic and second-hand, like a spectator's sport, whereas sadism itself is much more the pleasure of causing pain and then enjoying the pain that you've caused.

在十九世纪末,心理学得到了扩展和专业化,这意味着对精神生活的命名和分类。在这个时刻,我们今天所熟悉的很多条件和名称,比如焦虑,都被发明出来了。其中之一就是虐待狂。我认为这是因为虐待狂作为一种特殊的精神状态而受到关注,而且它与快乐和折磨有着如此明显的联系,所以你可以从幸灾乐祸中解脱出来。所以幸灾乐祸变成了一种更机会主义和二手的东西,就像一个旁观者的运动,而虐待狂本身更多的是制造痛苦然后享受你所造成的痛苦的快乐。

When you think about some of the situations that we find ourselves in today, like when someone says something foolish on Twitter and loads of people pile in and criticize him, then partly what we're doing is a process of public shaming. There is some pleasure, I think, in those moments where even if you don't actually add a comment, the fact that you might like or share the big list of comments does contribute to the shaming. So it's a way of schadenfreude being registered, but it is also a way of contributing to that person's feelings of humiliation, shame, and punishment. So I don't know how clearly that line can really be drawn in our age.

当你想到我们今天所处的某些情况时,比如有人在Twitter上说了些愚蠢的话,一堆人堆进来批评他,那么我们所做的部分就是一个公众的羞辱。我认为,在那些你不实际添加评论的时刻,你可能喜欢或分享大量评论的事实确实会让你感到困惑。所以这是一种幸灾乐祸被登记的方式,但它也是一种对那个人的羞辱、羞耻和惩罚的感觉作出贡献的方式。所以我不知道在我们这个年龄,这条线能画得多清楚。

Yes. I was wondering about the intersection of personal and cultural ideas of what's okay and what isn't. The broad-scale public shaming that you describe, and that, as you mention, Jon Ronson wrote about, feels new. But also I wondered about different personal thresholds and what might predispose a particular person to experience more or different schadenfreude than somebody else.

对。我想知道什么是好的什么是不好的个人和文化观念的交叉点。你所描述的大规模的公众羞辱,以及你提到的,乔恩·朗森所写的,感觉很新鲜。但我也想知道不同的个人门槛,以及是什么让一个特定的人比其他人经历更多或不同的幸灾乐祸。

On the one hand, people have enjoyed seeing transgressors get their comeuppance for a very long time. Presumably it's part of what has allowed our societies to function relatively smoothly. One of the stories that really stuck in my head was about researchers who worked with a group of children as young as six. They showed them a puppet show; sometimes the puppets were well behaved, and sometimes the puppets were really naughty. The researchers indiscriminately punished all of the puppets, and when the good puppets were punished, the children got very, very upset. But when the bad puppets were punished, the children were positively gleeful. What's worse is that then the researchers drew a curtain over this puppet theater. If the children wanted to carry on seeing the naughty puppets being punished, they had to pay with tokens. And the children paid.

一方面,很长一段时间以来,人们都喜欢看到违法者得到应有的惩罚。这大概是让我们的社会相对平稳运转的部分原因。其中一个让我印象深刻的故事是关于研究人员与一群6岁的孩子一起工作。他们给他们看了一场木偶戏;有时木偶很乖,有时木偶真的很顽皮。研究人员不分青红皂白地惩罚了所有的木偶,当好的木偶受到惩罚时,孩子们变得非常非常不安。但当坏木偶受到惩罚时,孩子们却非常高兴。更糟糕的是,研究人员在这个木偶剧院上拉上了帘子。如果孩子们想继续看到淘气的木偶受到惩罚,他们必须用代币来支付。孩子们付出了代价。

I thought it was really fascinating that children even that young take such delight and enjoyment from seeing people punished. As we get older, we learn either to hide it or to recognize certain sorts of decorum around it — it's kind of squeamish and awkward because we know that our justice system is organized around the ideal of dispassionate and emotionally distant process. And yet, of course, we also know that there's a bully that creeps in.

我认为,孩子们即使是年轻人也会从看到人们受到惩罚中获得如此的快乐和乐趣,这真的很有趣。随着年龄的增长,我们学会了隐藏它,或者认识到周围的某些礼仪——这有点尖刻和尴尬,因为我们知道我们的司法系统是围绕着冷静和情感上遥远的过程的理想组织的。当然,我们也知道有一个欺凌者在悄悄地进来。

As far as individual propensities toward schadenfreude, I talked to a neuroscientist named Lisa Feldman Barrett about this and I thought what she had to say was really intriguing. Our enjoyment of transgressors being punished is surely linked to the sense that we are under threat. I live in the suburbs and have young kids and I have to walk around these streets for hours every day pushing prams, so I really hate it when people cycle on the pavement. I find it slightly dangerous; I think, “Cycle in the road.” It is illegal to cycle on the pavement, by the way, in Britain. So if someone gets pulled over by a police car, that will keep me going all week. I'll be so happy about that. Whereas maybe if you drive everywhere and you see this person being pulled over for cycling on the pavement, you think, “Why are the police wasting their time?” So that's a clear example: if something really affects you and bothers you, when that person gets caught or told off, then you really enjoy it.

至于个人幸灾乐祸的倾向,我和一位名叫丽莎·费尔德曼·巴雷特的神经学家谈过这个问题我认为她要说的很有趣。我们对违法者受到惩罚的享受肯定与我们受到威胁的感觉有关。我住在郊区,有小孩,我每天都要推着婴儿车在街上走几个小时,所以我非常讨厌人们在人行道上骑自行车。我觉得这有点危险;我想,“在路上骑自行车。“顺便说一下,在英国,在人行道上骑自行车是违法的。所以如果有人被警车拦下,我就能坚持一周了。我会很高兴的。然而,如果你开车去任何地方,你看到这个人因为在人行道上骑车而被拦下来,你会想,“为什么警察要浪费他们的时间?”这是一个很明显的例子:如果某件事真的影响了你,困扰了你,当那个人被抓住或被责骂时,那么你真的很享受。

The research seems to point in two different directions about the relationship between a personal sense of confidence and a tendency to experience schadenfreude. At one point you write about how, for people who are ill, the less self-assured they are, the more hearing about someone who's more sick will make them fear that it will happen to them, too. But on the other hand, it seems as though in general, schadenfreude might be the purview of the more insecure. I'm thinking in particular of the pleasure we feel when someone who's made us feel inferior is destroyed. If you're quite confident, you're not feeling so inferior so much of the time. So how do you parse that relationship between confidence and schadenfreude?

这项研究似乎从两个不同的方向指出了个人自信感和幸灾乐祸倾向之间的关系。你曾经写过,对于生病的人来说,他们越不自信,越是听到有人病得更厉害,他们就越害怕这种事也会发生在自己身上。但另一方面,似乎总的来说,幸灾乐祸可能是更不安全的人的权限。我特别想到的是当一个让我们自卑的人被摧毁时我们所感受到的快乐。如果你很自信的话,你就不会在很多时候感到自卑了。那么你如何分析自信和幸灾乐祸之间的关系呢?

Those two examples come from two different ways of thinking about schadenfreude. And one of the things that came up when I was trying to organize the material for this book is that it did seem to me that there were not just variations on the same theme, but actually quite distinct forms of this emotion.

这两个例子来自于对幸灾乐祸的两种不同的思考方式。当我试图整理这本书的材料时,我想到的一件事是,在我看来,不仅仅是同一主题上的变化,而是这种情感的不同形式。

So on the one hand, yes, if you feel unconfident — and I think that was defined as feeling like you don't have any control over the outcome of your actions — then other people's failures, when those other people are in exactly the same predicament as you, can seem scary, rather than reassuring. You think you're going to suffer the same fate. When people who are more confident and believe they've got some sort of control over the outcome of their situations encounter people in worse situations, they tend to feel like they've secured some sort of advantage by making slightly better choices. Both of those are fanciful thinking, but nonetheless, it seems to be how it works.

因此,一方面,是的,如果你感到不自信——我认为这被定义为感觉你对自己行动的结果没有任何控制权——那么其他人的失败,当其他人和你处于完全相同的困境时,会显得可怕,而不是让人放心。你认为你会遭受同样的命运。当那些更自信并且相信自己能够控制自己处境的人遇到处境更糟的人时,他们往往会觉得自己通过做出稍微好一点的选择获得了某种优势。这两种想法都是空想,但不管怎样,它似乎是如何运作的。

It's probably more likely that you're going to feel envious or insecure or inferior if you're in situations where you are also feeling insecure. So you might generally be quite a confident person, but there might be one particular area which is your Achilles' heel. Perhaps you're very nervous about your piano playing and someone else seems to be doing really brilliantly with their piano playing, which makes you feel even more inadequate. And then they fail their exam and you feel slightly pleased because it suggests that either you've not done as badly as you think you have or they were just showing off, or no one's really that good at piano, whatever. In a situation where we feel more overtly in competition, that allows us to feel a certain kind of pleasure and triumph when our rival has faltered. Whereas in the previous example, I don't think sick people would describe themselves as in competition, but rather as looking for reassurance.

如果你处在同样不安全的情况下,你很可能会感到嫉妒、不安全或低人一等。所以你通常是一个自信的人,但可能有一个特别的地方,那就是你的跟腱。也许你对钢琴演奏很紧张,别人的钢琴演奏似乎做得很出色,这让你觉得自己更不适合。然后他们考试不及格,你会感到有点高兴,因为这表明你没有你认为的那么糟糕,或者他们只是在炫耀,或者没有人真的那么擅长钢琴,不管怎样。在竞争中我们感觉更为明显的情况下,当我们的对手动摇时,我们可以感受到某种快乐和胜利。而在前面的例子中,我认为病人不会把自己描述成竞争对手,而是寻找安慰。

The genre of schadenfreude that has to do with competition was very interesting to me. You write about workplace schadenfreude, like when your direct rival at work fails and you feel like your star will rise in comparison. You make a brief analogy to sibling rivalry, which begged a question for me. When there's sibling rivalry, it's due to some sense that there are not enough resources, as you put it, or love to go around. To transpose this onto a workplace — in my field, writing, for example, there can be incredible competition between writers, as if there really isn't enough to go around, as if only one person can publish a book. I wonder at the underlying belief system that's betraying. The fact that it is so widespread clearly means it's not pathological, as you put it. But there's something that feels a bit unhealthy about the conviction that there's not enough to go around. If my colleague gets it, that means I can't. And if he fails, that means, good for me. What do you think?

与竞争有关的幸灾乐祸类型对我来说非常有趣。你写的是职场幸灾乐祸,比如你的直接竞争对手在工作中失败了,你觉得你的明星会在比较中崛起。你把兄弟姐妹之间的竞争简单地类比一下,这就向我提出了一个问题。当有兄弟姐妹的竞争,这是由于某种意义上,没有足够的资源,如你所说,或爱到处走。把这一点转移到一个工作场所——在我的领域,比如写作,作家之间会有难以置信的竞争,好像真的没有足够的人去做,好像只有一个人能出版一本书。我对背叛的潜在信仰体系感到惊讶。事实上,它是如此广泛显然意味着它不是病理性的,正如你所说。但是有一点让人觉得有点不健康,那就是坚信没有足够的钱去做。如果我的同事得到了,那就意味着我不能。如果他失败了,那就意味着,对我有好处。你怎么认为?

I think there is something pathological, but I don't think it's us. I think it's the structures that we find ourselves in. So, an example from my work. The universities in Britain used to function as pretty autonomous institutions. Academics have to collaborate and usually enjoy collaborating across institutions. So the idea that one institution would be set against another institution was kind of meaningless.

我觉得有些病态,但我不认为是我们。我认为是我们所处的结构。我工作中的一个例子。英国的大学过去是相当自主的机构。学术界必须合作,而且通常喜欢跨机构合作。因此,一个机构与另一个机构对立的想法是毫无意义的。

And then our government brought in league tables [university ranking systems], actually following America. This was some time ago. Now, this league table thing has got very, very intense, and everyone hates it. All academics scoff at it. And yet, at the same time, human nature is such that once the league tables are published, if you happen to see one — or more likely you've got some terrible email from your manager saying, “Hooray, we've done really well at blah, blah, blah” — then you will know that your university edged ahead of the other university down the road. And that makes you feel a bit better.

然后我们的政府引入了大学排名系统,实际上是跟着美国的。这是很久以前的事了。现在,积分榜的事变得非常非常激烈,每个人都讨厌它。所有的学者都嘲笑它。然而,与此同时,人性就是这样,一旦排行榜发布,如果你碰巧看到一个——或者更有可能的是你有一些可怕的电子邮件从你的经理说:“万岁,我们已经做了很好胡说,胡说,胡说”,那么你就会知道你大学小幅领先于其他大学。这让你感觉好点了。

So there shouldn't be any competition there and at one point, there really wasn't. But once a competitive framework gets introduced, we kind of fall into it.

因此,这里不应该有任何竞争,而且在某一点上,确实没有。但是一旦引入了竞争框架,我们就会陷入其中。

The pathology, I think, is in the difference between a family in which it's meaningless to say that children compete over love because love is not a finite resource, and a family in which love is presented as a finite resource. In that situation, then love does seem like something worth doing battle over and we will fall into those kind of behaviors. So I think the fault, as it were, lies with the structures that we find ourselves in.

我认为,病态在于,一个家庭认为孩子们为了爱而竞争是毫无意义的,因为爱不是一种有限的资源,而另一个家庭认为爱是一种有限的资源。在那种情况下,爱似乎是值得我们为之奋斗的,我们就会陷入这种行为中。所以我认为,问题在于我们所处的结构。

How do you think people's very particular familial histories and worldviews prime them to experience schadenfreude, or not? My guess is that people who tend to see the world as abundant might experience schadenfreude less frequently or less intensely than those who see the world as a scarce place.

你认为人们特殊的家族历史和世界观是如何让他们经历幸灾乐祸的?我的猜测是,那些倾向于把世界看作是一个丰富的世界的人可能会比那些把世界看作一个稀缺的地方的人更少或更少地经历幸灾乐祸。

That is a question that I've wondered as well. And it's part of my anxiety about the book coming out and talking about it. Do I come across like one of those people who is just obsessed with competiveness? I don't think I am, but maybe I am more than I more than I appear to be! [Laughter]

我也一直在想这个问题。这也是我对这本书的出版和讨论感到焦虑的一部分。我是不是觉得自己就像一个沉迷于竞争的人?我不认为我是,但也许我比我看起来更像![笑声]

I don't think that anyone's totally immune from schadenfreude because while we do know that no one really wants to spend their life constantly looking over their shoulders and competing, it's also quite normal to try and understand where you are in some kind of pecking order, or to understand something about how well you're doing by measuring it against other things. We all fall into this a little bit. So I feel like it would be very hard to completely evade.

我不认为任何人都能完全免于幸灾乐祸,因为虽然我们知道,没有人真的愿意一辈子都不停地看着自己的肩膀和竞争对手,但试着去理解自己处于什么样的地位也是很正常的,或者通过与其他事物的对比来了解你做得有多好。我们都有点陷入这种境地。所以我觉得很难完全逃避。

And also, we spoke about how there are so many different varieties of schadenfreude. So even if you aren't particularly prone to feeling envious or competitive and that doesn't really chime with you — although I have to say I think it chimes with most people — then you might well find yourself really enjoying the absurdity of silly accidents that really have nothing to do with competitiveness but have to do with the kind of odd celebration of things going wrong. Or you might have a very strong affiliation with a sports team and not be able to help yourself by cheering when the rival school loses.

我们还谈到了幸灾乐祸有这么多不同的种类。因此,即使你不是特别容易感到嫉妒或竞争,这并不真正符合你-虽然我不得不说,我认为这符合大多数人-那么你可能会发现自己真的很享受荒谬的愚蠢的事故,真的没有任何关系的竞争力,但有关系的那种奇怪的庆祝事情出错。或者你可能与一个运动队有着很强的联系,当对手学校输了的时候,你不能通过欢呼来帮助自己。

I found it honestly surprising to read that studies of sports fans show that it's actually more pleasurable to watch your rival fail than to watch your own team succeed. That was shocking to me. [Laughter] Being immersed in this for so long and having the job that you do, did that surprise you at all or was that just a normal finding?

当我读到一篇针对体育迷的研究时,我真的感到很惊讶。研究表明,实际上看着自己的对手失败比看着自己的球队成功更令人愉快。这让我很震惊。[笑声]这么长时间沉浸在这份工作中,这让你感到惊讶吗?还是说这只是一个正常的发现?

No, no, that definitely surprised me. It surprised me, too, to find that when people smile in schadenfreude, not only is it the same kind of physiological smile that people do when they're experiencing joy, but the people who are experiencing schadenfreude seem to smile more rapidly and more intensely, at least immediately, than they do when they're experiencing joy. I found that fascinating. Even if we don't like to look at this emotion, even if it feels shameful and embarrassing, it is essential to our emotional lives.

不,不,我真的很惊讶。我也很惊讶地发现,当人们在幸灾乐祸中微笑时,不仅是人们在体验快乐时所做的那种生理上的微笑,而且经历幸灾乐祸的人似乎比他们在体验快乐时笑得更快、更强烈,至少是更立即。我觉得这很有趣。即使我们不喜欢看这种情绪,即使它感到羞耻和尴尬,它是必不可少的我们的情感生活。

There's a really interesting study about how oxytocin is also implicated in schadenfreude. It's not just to do with pro-social warm and cozy relationships with one another, but to do with any social relationships that we have. It's a way of intensifying the relationship. People who were given a squirt of oxytocin up their noses felt more intense schadenfreude than those who were given the placebo. So if we see schadenfreude just as part of our social interaction rather than an unpleasant little corner of it — if we see it as part of the fabric of how we are relating to each other all the time — then I think that allows us to see this emotion for what it really is, and also then to understand some of the more challenging consequences of it. Playfully, the book is a defense of schadenfreude, but I hope it also highlights some of the areas, like in contemporary politics, where schadenfreude can be dangerous and problematic.

关于催产素与幸灾乐祸的关系有一个非常有趣的研究。这不仅仅与亲社会的温暖和舒适的人际关系有关,也与我们所拥有的任何社会关系有关。这是加强关系的一种方式。在鼻子上喷一口催产素的人比那些服用安慰剂的人感到更强烈的幸灾乐祸。因此,如果我们把幸灾乐祸看作是我们社会交往的一部分,而不是其中一个令人不快的小角落——如果我们把它看作是我们一直在相互联系的结构的一部分——那么我认为这让我们能够看到这种情绪的真实面目,并进而理解它的一些更具挑战性的后果是的。开玩笑的是,这本书是对幸灾乐祸的辩护,但我希望它也能突出一些领域,比如在当代政治中,幸灾乐祸可能是危险和有问题的。

There is the question of whether we are in a time in which schadenfreude feels particularly acute — schadenfreude on steroids. For most of the twentieth century, hardly any academic studies were published on schadenfreude. Around 2000, you get a sudden whoosh of studies, and now there are hundreds and hundreds of studies with the word “schadenfreude” in the title. At the same time, we see this real interest in empathy. Psychologists often present empathy and schadenfreude as mutually exclusive or opposing forces. Empathy: I feel pain like your pain; schadenfreude: I enjoy your pain. Those seem to be completely incompatible.

现在的问题是,我们是否处在一个幸灾乐祸感觉特别严重的时代——幸灾乐祸服用类固醇。在二十世纪的大部分时间里,几乎没有任何关于幸灾乐祸的学术研究发表。2000年前后,你会突然得到一个研究的呼啸声,现在有成百上千的研究标题中有“幸灾乐祸”一词。同时,我们也看到了对同理心的真正兴趣。心理学家经常把同理心和幸灾乐祸看作是相互排斥或对立的力量。同理心:我感觉到的痛苦就像你的痛苦;幸灾乐祸:我享受你的痛苦。这些似乎是完全不相容的。

But my view is that this opposition between schadenfreude and empathy is really problematic, and not really how emotions work. I think it's completely normal and reasonable to think that you might very sincerely feel compassion for someone, say your friend, who's very successful and didn't get the latest promotion or something, and also to feel a little prickle of pleasure underneath it all. You could feel both of those things at the same time, and the little bits of pleasure you feel don't wipe out the sympathy or compassion. Nor does it render you a hypocrite. It just means that as a human being, you are capable of really complex emotional responses. Emotions don't just come in either/or, on/off, black/white. For me, that is really important to remember in situations where you're experiencing schadenfreude in a shameful, ambivalent, awkward sort of way: It is reasonable that you might feel those two things all at once. That's just part of being human.

但我的观点是,幸灾乐祸和同理心之间的对立确实是有问题的,而不是情绪是如何运作的。我认为这是完全正常和合理的认为,你可能会非常真诚地同情某人,说你的朋友,谁是非常成功的,没有得到最新的升职或什么,也感到有点刺痛的快乐下面的一切。你可以同时感受到这两件事,你所感受到的一点点快乐并不能抹去同情和同情。也不会让你变成伪君子。这仅仅意味着作为一个人,你能够做出非常复杂的情绪反应。情绪不仅仅是黑白的。对我来说,当你以一种羞耻的、矛盾的、尴尬的方式经历幸灾乐祸时,记住这一点是非常重要的:你可能同时感受到这两件事是合理的。这只是做人的一部分。

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