You Are Not Cruel For Reading the Ashley Madison List (and the Germans Can Prove it)
It's been a week since Cheat Gate 2015 was released and I would be lying if I said I didn't read the first 1000 names. Most of you would be lying too if you said otherwise. Since then, I have seen more Facebook post than I care to count and I am looking forward to the day when it isn't discussed all of the time.
I have my opinions on infidelity but that isn't on the agenda for today. #sorry
I do want to put some knowledge in that brain of yours about a little German word conveying a large concept called Schadenfreude. Translated it means "joy-pain" and it is the primal pleasure in another's misfortune. German 101. Don't ask me how it is pronounced because I have no clue.
The second part is that research, according to Richard Smith, professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, on schadenfreude theory shows that "rejoicing in the failure of others is not inspired by cruelty so much as status." Thank you Jena Pincott for the great article discussing this one.
Basically, we want high achievers to fail because it makes us feel morally superior. Plain and simple. In the Ashley Madison release, seeing names of prominent people we know makes us feel morally superior because "my husband's name isn't on there" or "you sit in church pretending like you're a Christian", blah, blah, blah. Hens clucking everywhere.
Bottom line, and this is just my opinion: Get over it. Get over the scandal. Imagine it was you or someone very close to you. Stop the judgment on people who messed up. It's up to them to make it right and our schadenfreude mindset is only making it worse.
Also, please refer to my previous post on How to Be A Decent Person.