User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 26

  1. #1
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INXP
    Posts
    5,584

    Default Why are we so attracted to misfortune?

    Seems so odd, to me, that as a species we are so attracted to misfortune.

    Think about it - stories that only have a happy sequence of events are "sickeningly nice". We laugh at the misfortunes of others - slapstick is probably one of the few elements of humour common to all studied societies.

    Why on earth is it so appealing? Is it that we enjoy the misfortunes of others because by inference it is for our own personal advancement (we enjoy watching others eliminate themselves from competition?). Is it that we want to appreciate adversity/a challenge before something has worth?

    Do you in fact disagree - it is unappealing, or that something else is the draw?

    Here's a relevant quote, from the esteemed Mr Tolkien :

    Quote Originally Posted by J R R Tolkien in "the Hobbit"

    Now, it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating and gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling, anyway


    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    MBTI
    NICE
    Posts
    1,721

    Default

    I always like Dame Edna Everage's assertion that she was "born with the ability to laugh at others' misfortunes".

    I think the English are some of the finest at satire, which is effectively a laugh at politicians, celebrity misfortune. The tabloids specialise in building them up to knock 'em down. It's ingrained in the culture.

  3. #3
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    MBTI
    INxJ
    Enneagram
    4
    Socionics
    ILI
    Posts
    544

    Default

    Some different ideas...

    1. Laughing at others misfortunes reminds us that we're not alone in being fallible, human, and a servant to luck, even at times when it feels like we're the only one. To laugh at misfortune is to appreciate misfortune as a yardstick with which man judges the events that have befallen him. The laugh elevates our ego to the level of our fellow man. We are reminded not that we aren't deficient -- but that others are, too. The feeling of "internal communion" with other humans, empathy, basking in the human abstract, w/e, compels us to laugh. Also see Schadenfreude.

    2. A misfortune is as chaotic and off the wall as things get. No form of "order" integrates misfortune into its structure as something to be expected, you don't expect a car to hit you while you're crossing the street, but if you're paranoid you might entertain the thought and enjoy it throughly. It's always a surprise, always something different with each different case of misfortune that happens... you might as well ask why all kinds of sexual fetishes exist!

    3. After a while we take happiness and contentment for granted but sorrow, disappointment definitely have their own taste and texture and we can't realy get used to it. An acquired taste, if you will, like mustard and misfortune provides them in the full. Surely contentment is a nice place to be but it's not the whole spectrum of human emotion, hardly! so it seems perfectly normal to help yourself to some bits of disappointment and misfortune too, and want them as you a child would like a small slab of milk chocolate as dessert. My own acquired taste? It's disgust. I love macabre art/photography, with blood and violence -- and I absolutely can not stare at some works for extended periods of time, as I'm disgusted (in an incredulous way, not negative). It is almost contradictory -- but it is great. So it might be with misfortune.
    Not really.

  4. #4
    Senior Member WobblyStilettos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    MBTI
    INFP
    Posts
    331

    Default

    Interesting question... I really don't like seeing people's misfortune, especially if I know them or can see the effects on them, but on TV and in books I think it makes the stories seem more real and believable (unless it's Home and Away). I also think it's helps people to connect with eachother, like uniting against a common enemy
    Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

  5. #5
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    7,233

    Default

    Good ideas already proposed.

    I think misfortune serves as a distraction from our own anxiety. We identify with the person suffering and feel whatever depression and sadness there is to feel, which means there's nothing to worry about, because it (the sadness that we're constantly trying to escape) is already here. Confronting depression relieves anxiety and makes us feel good inside. At the same time, we know it's kind of a game, because it's not really our sadness that we're feeling, so we can control it and leave it when we want, and don't have to carry it around like a burden.

    My mom was telling me about Eckhart Tolle's idea of the pain-body which I think is very apropos. He says, from what I understand, that pain and conflict feed this pain-body that we carry around and identify with, and that feel pleasurable. I don't know enough to go into depth at all, but I think he's right that drama feels pleasurable (for whatever reason).

  6. #6
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    MBTI
    JIxT
    Posts
    418

    Default

    Society as a whole has a constant drive to improve itself. What improves if there is no misfortune to motivate the masses?
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  7. #7
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    MBTI
    ENFJ
    Posts
    6,707

    Default

    In the context of a story, straight, unadulterated happiness and order is boring. We need some misery and chaos to make it interesting. It's even become a requirement that a story has 'conflict,' some adversity. If there's no adversity, there's no later success.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  8. #8
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    MBTI
    JIxT
    Posts
    418

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    In the context of a story, straight, unadulterated happiness and order is boring. We need some misery and chaos to make it interesting. It's even become a requirement that a story has 'conflict,' some adversity. If there's no adversity, there's no later success.
    Good point, success is only relative.
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  9. #9
    mrs disregard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INFP
    Posts
    7,855

    Default

    Because it's something everyone can relate to. Sharing anecdotes of misfortune with your brother is a centripetal force. Also, it brings one back down to ground in that you are given an opportunity to laugh at the ways of life instead of fear them.

  10. #10
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INXP
    Posts
    5,584

    Default

    Great comments above, to try and hone down why and how this stuff is "needed" by us, and it sounds like there are a whole plethora of reasons.

    One message that keeps coming through is that we need mistery to make it interesting. But.. why? Why is it dull to hear about happy successes. Weird, isn't it.

Similar Threads

  1. [NF] Why are emotions so important to you?
    By Virtual ghost in forum The NF Idyllic (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, INFJ)
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: 08-28-2017, 08:01 PM
  2. [MBTItm] Why are INFP so attracted to ENTPs?!
    By Soar337 in forum The NT Rationale (ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, INTJ)
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 11-19-2015, 09:26 AM
  3. why are we so angry?
    By sculpting in forum Myers-Briggs and Jungian Cognitive Functions
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12-28-2009, 10:17 PM
  4. [INTP] What type are we INTPs attracted to?
    By Gewitter27 in forum The NT Rationale (ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, INTJ)
    Replies: 137
    Last Post: 09-03-2009, 10:03 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO