Compersion vs. Spitefulness

Mitfreude vs. Schadenfreude (German)

A fundamental difference in societal evolution. I picked up this topic from a discussion between Daniel Schmachtenberger and Lex Fridman. There are two intermediate steps. One towards Compersion is compassion, where you genuinely feel the pain and need of your partner or counterpart. The other, towards spitefulness, is jealousy, where you feel that the (temporary) success of the other person is somehow undeserved, or will diminish your own ability to succeed.

If you think of people you like to be around, do you prefer those who feel jealous or those who feel compassionate? Obviously the latter, unless you’re a psychopath. Do you feel genuinely happy, if one of your friends succeeds or do you prefer to feel genuinely happy if one of your acquaintances/enemies fails? Or both?

Now think about the politics of the usual parties these days. The ruling party tries to ramp up the excitement of any tiny improvement, even if it’s hard to prove there was any. The opposition tries to dig into any tiny failure of the ruling party, even if it might have been an honest mistake.

Maybe this is just a bias I have, which is unfounded. But I like to be around people who support each other, who rather ask “How can I help you”, than people who say “I knew this would fail”. On the other hand, I respect people who tell me, that in their experience, something I’d like to do, will probably fail (with reasons). No real problem with people who say, after I failed, “I told you so”. I generally like the progressive attitude, to let everyone create something, that may fail or succeed. I also like the conservative mindset, that says “This never, ever worked, so don’t do it”.

I certainly don’t like people who encourage you to run into every trap, just to be spiteful about your misfortune. The people who encourage you to do things that worked for them, but may not necessarily work for you in the same way, are closer to my heart. It FEELS better to me, to be around encouraging people, but I’m not sure this is always the path to success. This may lead to all these follies we see around us now, in the political sphere. I don’t feel close to my harshest critics, but I appreciated their input none the less, and they may have guided me more to success, than the hooray crowd.

Not trying to be intentionally confused about it, but I think there needs to be a balance. And Jordan Peterson expressed an insight, insofar as he said, that the “left” and the “right”, both need to be present at every political decision, otherwise it might become catastrophic.

What I see in politics these days is the trend towards jealousy in the left/green oriented parts of society, which often leads to policies that guarantee failure – if they are in power – so that they can glee in spitefulness. But the counterpart in conservative circles is more or less the same. They insist that the left/green politics will end in failure, because ‘their stupid’ policies are disregarding those needs and ignore compassion towards people, who may be encouraged towards a better way of life. IMO this leads into a downward spiral and unavoidable societal destruction, even if the conservatives are factually correct.

Out of my biased view, it may be better, to encourage people towards compassion and compersion, without shunning spitefulness or shaming. The latter remains a powerful tool to make sure, shit like this doesn’t happen again. Learning from failure is learning. Encouraging failure is not learning, it’s baiting people into hazard. In the end, I believe (believe, not know) that the scientific method (method, not dogma) is encouraging people to progress instead of regress.

What do you think?

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