Friday, February 01, 2008


SidewalkCat in the shadows

Long are the shadows and dark, that lead from light to my joy. Winter grips us now, and even the noonday sun hangs low. I am gnomon; by midday I stand taller beneath the shade of naked trees. Though dusk befalls me, I shall not weep. For the lesser lights that rule the night project the umbra and penumbra of my soul upon the concrete canvas of the city. By day, by night, by the morning's light and the evening's shade, I strive and thrive by Schattenfreude.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you mean Schadenfreude?
Codex/Hypertext blogger

2/01/2008 6:36 AM  
Blogger Jim Chen said...


I do mean Schattenfreude:

Schadenfreude = joy in the sorrow of others.

Schattenfreude = joy in shadows.

The former term is a vice; the latter, a virtue (at least as I've portrayed it). The former term is a real German word known to a large number of educated speakers of English; the former term is a portmanteau of my own creation.

Sorry to be so elusive, but as you and I have discussed, the modern world and the overwhelming amounts of information in it demand that we become more allusive.

In all events, thanks for noticing this post.


2/01/2008 8:13 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

Ah, yes, Schattenfreude, a word referring to the pleasures associated with "shadow play" or shadow puppetry.

Ah, yes, Schattenfreude, a term that describes the delights of film noir.

Ah, yes, Schattenfreude, an experience intimately familiar to the denizens of the Platonic Cave.

Ah, yes, Schattenfreude, a term familiar to those enchanted by Peter Suber's discussion of "The Shadow Problem." See

Ah, yes, Schattenfreude, used in reference to Japanese aesthetics: See Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows (1933; later editions available).

Ah, yes, Schattenfreude, Jung worried about it: Cf.: "Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected."

Well, you get the picture: what a wonderful word!

2/01/2008 10:18 AM  

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