Schadenfreude is a delightful word for a not-delightful idea: It’s taking delight in the harm to others.
But I’m going to suggest that the range of studies on the emotion might not be measuring quite the same thing.
Let’s say you face the (so-called) problem of the “Old Boy’s Club” (and you not being a member of them) like I wrote about back here. And you’re following my advice, writing more, writing harder, and succeeding.
If the Old Boy’s Club stumbles and falls, and you’re delighted, that’s straight up schadenfreude. No question there.
But if the Old Boy’s Club is forced to recognize you – to their discomfort and pain – is that schadenfreude? Or is it something else? Is there a word for that?
The key difference I’m looking at are whether it’s associated with an elevation of one’s own fortune versus simply the downfall of others.
What do you all think? Or is it even more nuanced than that?
But for all that, there’s only one Schadenfreude Pie.