Monday, October 25, 2010


I learned a new Latin phrase yesterday. (It’s all a part of my secret plan to learn one new Latin phrase a day for the rest of my life—NOT.)

Here is the Latin phrase: delectatio morosa. Translated, it means “delighting in others’ misfortunes.”

I also know that Buddhists have a term that means the 180-degree opposite: mudita, the concept of experiencing happiness at another’s good fortune.

Example 1: The richest, most arrogant athlete on the planet is caught in an affair—no, let's make that several affairs—that eventually cost him millions of dollars and his marriage. Ah-ha!! We feel smug. Our simple, modest lives seem validated; we may not be the richest, most arrogant athlete on the planet, but by George, at least we’re not scumbags. (delectatio morosa).

Example 2: The richest, most arrogant athlete on the planet signs another four-year, $100 million contract. And even though we have recently been laid off from our own pauper-wage jobs, we feel extremely happy for the good fortune of the athlete. (mudita).

Here’s the hard part. I’m supposed to be aiming for the mudita instead of the delectatio morosa. What?!? I don’t know about you, but that’s not my natural inclination.

Why, if I gave up my delectatio morosa , I’d have to stop slowing down and gawking at traffic accidents. I’d have to stop reading movie magazine covers at the checkout counter at Kmart to find out if Ashton is really cheating on Demi. I’d have to stop scanning the “Foreclosures” and “Court News” sections of the local newspaper, looking for familiar names. I'd have to hope that government figures from the opposition political party (gasp!) can solve our national financial crisis.

But I think I want to try it.

From now on, if you have good news to share, you can count on me to support your joy and celebrate your victory. And if you experience tragedy, I will try not to be one of the circling vultures feeding off your vulnerability and pain. That’s the plan anyway.

This sounds like quite a challenge for a Monday morning—the Latin phrase speakers and the Buddhists, locked in battle for my soul.

Picture Source:


Elaine said...

You have my support--100%! And I am going to give it my best shot as well--mudita!

Anonymous said...

I loved this blog. It was very timely due to a situation at work... Thanks, Mom.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Those Buddhists, they are always full of so much wisdom? Would the old turtle in Kung Fu Panda have been a Buddhist? I loved every little nugget of wisdom he uttered. This is how my mind works....I relate everything to computer animated films. It works for me.