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Things that people know: why are we happy for Eid?

The proverb "There is no joy like the joy of Eid" arouses the curiosity of Moshe who asks "Really?"

Joy to Id. Created using DALEE 2. Definitions - Avi Blizovsky
Joy to Id. Created using DALEE 2. Definitions – Avi Blizovsky

Of course, there is no "scale" to measure and compare the joy we will experience if we manage to shed 5 kg on a diet to the joy we will feel if our friends gain 5 kg. But even if it is impossible to determine whether the joy for Eid is the greatest of joys, it is undoubtedly the strangest of them. This is the most common type of joy but also the muted, repressed and disguised in our emotions. There is almost no children's story or folk tale that does not provide the listener with the pleasure of humiliating the wicked, and there is no police television series that does not include a close-up of the criminal in handcuffs. Simcha Laid is behind a large part of the jokes and enjoyment we derive from watching her in sports but she is almost never acknowledged. The estranged attitude toward this emotion is evidenced by the fact that in the 200,000-word dictionary of the English language there is no translation for "gloating" and English speakers are forced to import the German word Schdenfreude (gloating is not a satisfactory translation since it is a verb and not a state of mind and is often used in a sense similar to that of the verb " to mock" in Hebrew). It is tempting to see the omission of joy from the English vocabulary and its existence in the German dictionary as evidence of a deep cultural difference, but the psychologist Steven Pinker testifies to Anglo-Saxon students encountering the term Schdenfreude for the first time "They don't say 'How can there be joy in the suffering of another person? I do not understand the idea that does not exist in my language and culture'. Their response is 'Hey, is there a word for that? Cool! '". King Solomon is responsible for this small advantage of Hebrew over English when in the book of Proverbs he drowns out the concept while strongly condemning this pleasure "Sneer at the head, haref oshu; He rejoices at the feast, he will not be cleansed" (Proverbs, chapter XNUMX) only to fail himself at the joy of the feast in the same book: "The wicked are lost" (chapter XNUMX). Simcha Laid appears already in the third year of life when a child competing for attention or social status in the group fails.

Why is such a powerful emotion needed?

Why is such a powerful emotion needed and why is it so difficult to admit it? Humans have a unique ability to feel empathy and compassion, that is, to adapt the other person's point of view and participate in their feelings. This is an essential ability for social life and the brain is adapted to identification through areas that respond to transmissions from others by activating "mirror cells", i.e. nerve cells that are active both when we experience an emotion and when we recognize it in others. Two emotions require us to act completely opposite, the envy in which we experience distress in the face of another person's success and the joy of the pair in which we recognize distress and respond to it with joy. The need for the "opposite emotions" may stem from the need to punish a person for deviating from rules, so for example, it was found that "mirror cells" were not activated when seeing the pain of a person who had previously been observed cheating in a game. But even when it comes to fair play, it's not worth identifying with those who are too successful. Social status-an essential resource for survival and reproduction is relative: we need to be not just good but better than the members of our social reference group and when our status is threatened we should take off our gloves. Magnetic imaging of the brain allows researchers to check how areas of the brain are activated in different situations. Jealousy, processed in the same area of ​​the brain where we experience "social pain", is the result of a conflict between our positive assessment of ourselves and a fact that does not correspond to this assessment. Acknowledging inferiority always hurts and it signals a real danger to social status. According to the school of evolutionary psychology, we are the offspring of parents whose social status allowed them to reproduce, that is, those who were not indifferent to their position in the hierarchy and developed a motivation to eliminate threats to the status. This impulse may stimulate an action designed to increase our achievements, i.e. "writers' envy", but the fall of a competitor promotes us in the same way and, therefore, stimulates to action brain pathways linked to a positive reward, i.e. joy, and in particular awakens to the activity of the Striatum - a part of the brain that provides us with a reward for successes. When, under laboratory conditions, the subjects (students, of course, who else would spend their time watching videos while connected to an MRI machine?) were shown interviews with other students, some excellent (and therefore representing a threat to status) and some mediocre. After the interview, it "turns out" that the student was caught in a criminal act and expelled from the university. It turns out that the threatening excellence turns off the identification mechanisms in the brain, so we stop "putting ourselves in the shoes" of a person whose success threatens us, and the way is opened to feelings of envy and joy for Id. When the student who fails is presented as inferior in his achievements, the identification with him is maintained and the feeling is of sharing in the sorrow. The joy for Id is especially strong towards members of the same sex: men will be more happy for men's troubles and women for the downfall of other women, as can be expected from emotions designed by evolution for "internal" competition between males or between females for relative position in the group. The connection between jealousy and joy and the desire for inferiority is at the root of its repression: recognition of such feelings means recognition of the superiority of the other and it itself, therefore, endangers our status. Perhaps this is the reason that joy at Eid is often disguised as the pursuit of justice, that is, as a legitimate emotion to express those feelings - it is permissible to rejoice at Eid if only a moral justification is found for the fall of the opponent. Poetic justice is a wonderful means of enjoying joy for Eid without pangs of conscience and feelings of inferiority. As mentioned, Id's jealousy and joy will be directed towards a competitor in the group we belong to; And they are unnecessary when it comes to someone we don't compare ourselves to. Privileges of nobles did not arouse envy and their fall did not arouse joy among the common people as long as there was hermetic social separation and nothing that happened to them changed the status of those outside the aristocracy. Similarly, we can rejoice in the joy of a Hollywood star but find it difficult to digest the success of a friend who went to high school with us. Joy to Id is a complex emotion, an examination of people whose different parts of their brains were damaged revealed that it is possible to lose the ability to feel joy to Id even when empathy is preserved, i.e. the ability to correctly identify emotions in others and adapt their point of view. Joy for Eid requires the activation of several areas in the two lobes of the brain required to simultaneously represent the emotional state of the other person and the opposite state in "I". Brain science confirms that "there is no joy like joy for the soul" - this is an important emotion that there is a good reason to feel and an equally good reason to repress.

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One response

  1. Interesting and "nice", only that unnecessary bravado should have been avoided
    and instead of "situations" write situations,
    instead of "status" rank or position,
    We have had enough of the mocked foreign language on other sites
    What else the writer demonstrates his linguistic ability
    By comparing other languages,
    We will write and speak Hebrew without the goat

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