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Rangie's avatar

Is taking pleasure in knowing someone's chickens came home to roost, as bad as seeking revenge yourself?

Asked by Rangie (3656points) April 19th, 2010

If someone did something to harm you and got away with it, would you dismiss it or seek revenge? But then, you find out that they were damaged in some way due to their own bad deeds elsewhere.
Would you take delight in that knowledge or feel a type of sadness for that person?

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29 Answers

Zen_Again's avatar


It’s natural.

Pandora's avatar

Not always delighted but I would feel as if life made things even.

kevbo's avatar

If anything, the phenomenon is old enough to have it’s own Japanese proverb:

If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by.

(Now I remember I asked a similar question a while back. I don’t enjoy it as much as I think I will. Usually, I feel pity.)

netgrrl's avatar

The word Schadenfreude comes to mind:
satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

jrpowell's avatar

If someone fucked me over and ended up having something bad happen to them I would probably laugh.

But that depends on the scale. I would laugh if my first girlfriend that treated me horribly had 60 gallons of bubble bath put in her hot tub. But I would forgive and do what I could to help if she was diagnosed with cancer.

MissAnthrope's avatar

It’s not as bad, but I don’t think it’s good. Ideally, I should be able to let a small person’s actions roll off my back and move on, I should not wish bad things on people, nor should I revel in their misfortune. That sort of thinking is bad karma.

That’s ideally, in terms of my religious views. In reality, I feel elated when someone who has mistreated me gets their just desserts in terms of punishment by the Universe. But then, I feel kind of guilty about being so jazzed about someone getting a karmic bitchslap.

phillis's avatar

It depends on the level of pain inflicted onto me by the transgressor. You wanna talk smack, no problem. You attack me directly, oh, yeah….there will be a problem, but it won’t be mine. But even that cannot compare with what I would do to someone if they hurt my husband, or especially, my children.

I don’t typically relish watching somebody get their come-uppance, but it is rare, and again, it depends on the depth and duration of the pain they inflicted onto me or others. I never wish anything bad onto someone. It doesn’t go that far with me. I can be called out. I know it’s wrong, and I am working on it. I offer no excuses for a bad attitude.

zophu's avatar

Think about what retribution is. It is to teach lessons, to punish. It shouldn’t be over-indulged in, though it can be pleasurable. Problems come when you resort to hate or other selfish feelings. One should be punished for their own good, or for the good of their community—never just to receive pain.

And remember: the best punishments only hurt, not harm, if they hurt at all.

Rangie's avatar

I love honest answers, no matter how much it hurts. I would take a secret delight in their, going around, came around. But, I wouldn’t want to admit it to myself, let alone someone else. What can I say, I am human. Some people need their chickens coming home, maybe they won’t continue to do those bad deeds. I do draw the line at revenge. Well, maybe not. It depends there on the degree of pain they caused. In general I avoid revenge at all cost.

phillis's avatar

I can appreciate that, Rangie. I have to agree with you on one point. Revenge is not a dish best served cold. It’s best not made at all. That is some serious karmic retribution you dally with, when you actively seek to destroy another person, in part or in whole.

Buttonstc's avatar

There’s one crucial distinction here. Revenge carries with it the implication that you took some type of action to bring the circumstances about.

Just delighting in the fact that the “universe” brought about their comeuppan e isn’t ideal, but it’s on a totally lesser scale than DIY.

Rangie's avatar

@phillis, Yes buttonstc says it for me. Revenge carries with it the implication that you took some type of action to bring the circumstances about. That I would not take part in. I guess the revenge I might be talking about would be if someone killed a member of my family, I would be hoping they would get the worst punishment possible. Taking delight in someone else having taken revenge on that person, is just as bad as taking the revenge yourself. Finding out just plain old misfortune, like the engine in their car blew up, I would secretly take delight in that, and even that is wrong.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I beleive in karma. As far as revenge to those who’ve done me wrong, It’s extremely rare for me to do so. It’s a question of maturity and sometimes, I ain’t that mature. Whatever wrong I do will come back to me, so it’s a decision I make. I have to be honest here.
But, much more often than not, it will come down to the universe doing it for me and I do take small bit of contentment from that. I take it as a form of closure. Read the Cask of Amontillado for a really good revenge story.

Rangie's avatar

Basically, I just don’t want to know. Then I don’t have to deal with how I feel about it. I don’t want to ever be happy for someone’s misfortune. So if by chance I would be, it is better not to know.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

@Rangie you do make a good point. Hear, Hear!

phillis's avatar

@Rangie It is a good point, and that is not reality. You can’t hide your head and know yourself completely at the same time. You see people earn their rewards all the time. Be it good or not-so-good, we always get what’s coming to us. Wouldn’t is suck to find out one day that you’re a mean-as-hell person, when all those years, you thought otherwise? I can’t think of a ruder awakening than that. I gotta opt for truth.

@buttonistk (sorry, the page is screwing up, so I can’t see your name) thank you for the clarification. It cemented what I kinda knew.

JeffVader's avatar

To me, that just sounds like a description of the human condition…

Pandora's avatar

Oh, I like to know. The reason I like to know especially if what they did to me came back to bite them. Its not always so I can delight in it. Although at times it is. But rather because I want them to look me in the face and realize their shame. Especially if I have been harboring ill feelings towards this person. Often once they realize they may come back and apologize or at least give me a knowing look. Then I can trust them not to be such a douche again and start to place my trust in them again. Of course this is simply for those I love or trust or both. For everyone else, it just makes me smile. Of course, like stated earlier it would also depend on the level of punishment they received and some things I would’nt wish on an enemy.
Lets say a drunk driver hit me with his car and I suffered some injuries but survived. If I heard that a drunk driver kill a family member of his, I would not rejoice. Of course I would see it as Karma but I would never wish that to happen to anyone. The most I would’ve hoped for was he drove into a Mayors car (no one hurt) and got locked up for a few months and found some help for his drinking.
Of course I always learn from my bad karma. Everytime I find something bad happen to me that I thought was undeserved I look and try to figure out what I’ve might’ve done similar in the past to deserve it. Most of the times I do. Sometimes I don’t and just remember to keep in mind the lesson I learned so I don’t do the same to someone else.
Life is full of lessons. If you shut your eyes either way, then you learn nothing.

Kayak8's avatar

I appreciate the irony of this type of situation in movies. In real life, I would not/have not so far been overtly vengeful. But I can also see how it happens in little ways that cause internal struggle—for example, being self-protective and choosing not to talk to certain people that are disruptive to your world, I can still draw comfort from my “unreachable-ness” to the other person and there is some vengeance in that (albeit at a much lower frequency).

The whole notion of someone committing a vengeful act for which we seek “re-venge” always leaves with it the problem of equity. I may think what I do back is less than what they did to me, but I have no real idea where my actions might fit on their internal scale of hurtful impact.

I work really hard not to let other people live “rent free” in my head, but some are harder to evict than others . . .

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t want to live that way.

Trillian's avatar

I pretty much walk away knowing that the universal law will come into play at some point. I also am aware that it is human to want to be there or know about it when it happens. I don’t like feeling things like this, so I try to distract myself. I don’t want that Karma coming back on me.

Cruiser's avatar

I always wonder about what motivates someone to knowingly harm or take advantage of another person. My first reaction is to consider that person has bigger issues to deal with that would cause them to do whatever it was that they felt that need to do. Some people are inherently evil, some momentarily desperate, some simply messed up in the head and don’t know better. Karma is a powerful equalizer and if I see the opportunity to give Karma a hand at righting a wrong I will do so especially if it involves myself or my family.

slick44's avatar

@phillis… You go girl! im with you.

phillis's avatar

@slick44 Thanks! Were you talking about the revenge thing? That shit can have lethal consequences for the seeker :(

evandad's avatar

I wouldn’t be really happy unless I did it myself.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would much rather watch karma run it’s course. There is nothing more satisfying than poetic justice.

Rangie's avatar

@PandoraBoxx and you don’t have to blame yourself for anything. My mom always said revenge is the start of an internal sore.

cockswain's avatar

I would receive total delight, and would feel better than had I personally sought revenge.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

getting way with something; beating the system. People say when a loved one was murdered and such that they have to have closure or they want justice for the victim, that usually mean vengeance. They can’t do it themselves so they have to leave it up to the law. There is something about knowing someone seem to get away with something that goes against the core of fairness with most people. If some one wronged me and I could not even the score for whatever reason but later learned that something shady they did caused them worlds of hurt I chuckle in my soul and think “good for that” but sad it was not me to have had “released the Crackin”.

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