Re : genetic unselfishness

From: Joao Pedro de Magalhaes (
Date: Mon Jan 24 2000 - 09:25:12 MST


>At 04:23 PM 24/01/00 +0100, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes wrote:
>>I believe that there is some genetic mechanism to
>>make humans take pleasure out of other humans' pleasure.
>And of course out of others' displeasure. (The Germans have a useful word
>for this.)

I don't know; It depends on the case and the person in question. If it's
someone completely strange to me, I take no pleasure out of that person's
displeasure (unless, of course, I can gain something out of it).

>In fact, in my forthcoming book TRANSREALIST FICTION I coin a term for the
>pleasure we receive in *hearing about* the misfortunes of others, at great
>length: Scheherazadenfreude.

Of course practical people will call it "Sche" or "Schefre" of "SZF" because
no-one uses such long words in conversations. And I personally don't think I
take pleasure in hearing about other people's misfortunes, unless it's a
funny story. Do you take pleasure in hearing about the death of someone's
mother? If it's something really bad, I think I get pain, even if I don't
know the person in question.


Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
The University of Namur (FUNDP)
Unit of Cellular Biochemistry & Biology
Rue de Bruxelles, 61
B-5000 Namur BELGIUM

Fax: + 32 81 724135
Phone: + 32 81 724133
Reason's Triumph:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:37 MDT