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23 April 2009 @ 06:30 pm
Theatrical Muse: Week 279: Question 279  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 1161


Schadenfreude.


Love can be about the satisfaction and scintillating pleasure derived from your lover’s misfortune. Their pain turned to your emotional gold, as can be felt by the people who indulge in the pain, pleasure, dominance triad, the trio of concepts that the submissive mentality originally arises out of. Bondage, dominance, submission, masochism, as well as discipline and sadism, depending on how you interpret the acronym. With all this in context when examining the world of kinks, then a lot of schadenfreude is possible. Whipping is not just about harming someone, or causing them pain, it is not sadistic in the sense that murderers or medieval tormenters may do or have done it. It is done, and expertly so by those long experienced in the act, to create pleasure for one or more parties through one person’s pain.

Going to another area, let’s imagine a different situation. For instance, the act of strapping a collar around the neck of your submissive playmate and getting them to play the part of pet is not just about humiliation. It is about the satisfaction derived from their misfortune of being collared, of being treated in an inferior manner, this all done in order to derive the very pleasure they have been seeking! It is perhaps why some church groups and stagnant minded politicians will always attack the lifestyle of a BDSM lover, once they have ridden the gay love horse or the abortion horse right back into the ground again. From my perspective, I am a man who works with various laws to be able to perform and understand the roles of my job adequately, to the best of my ability. I fully understand the definition of murder, of grievous bodily harm, and so on and so on. Leading the sexual lifestyle that I do, however, I have also been privy to supposedly darker sides of the human psyche that are nowhere near as harmful or dark as the things I see in my morgue. What the politicians and tightly bound church groups take offense at is the fact that people like me enjoy hurting others for sexual gratification, and being hurt back, for our pleasure or the pleasure of another. People like me, we may draw blood if the partner desires it, and our skin may be broken if that is what sets us off, but, oh, I have seen true horror, and what the indulgence of a BDSM lifestyle does to a person, to other people, is nowhere close.

In my lifetime I have seen two meanings of schadenfreude that humanity likes to indulge in. One is, of course, kink play, bondage, dominance, submission, masochism, as it were. It is the world of whips, straps, pulling, pushing, shouting, that illicit and seemingly naughty experience of pressuring someone to their edge, and if you are lucky, being pushed to your own infinite boundaries. This satisfaction is derived out of the misfortunate circumstance of the other person, caused by being at your pain wielding hands. The play is safe, it is with sanity intended, and it is consensual, but as it is so often with the pressuring of boundaries resulting from kink play, there is a risk involved. Whether it is a small or large risk, therefore, depends on the play being indulged in, the act being committed, on whether there is an understanding between the two halves of the whole that will prevent each of them from being irrevocably harmed.

Then there is the other kind of schadenfreude that I might often see in my job as a Medical Examiner. This pleasure derived from misfortune transcends inwardly laughing at someone with ice cream in their face, and it far surpasses even the most seemingly harsh bondage and whipping sessions. It is what, as far as I understand, drives some murderers to murder, some rapists to rape, some assaulters to assault, amongst many other variations of harmful acts that humanity can willing perform on unwilling participants. Yes, some murderers do murder by accident, but that is about the extent of those who are safe from this kind of emotion. When someone willingly murders, even if it is for a brief moment, they are said to experience satisfaction, because, after all, they have just completed an act with some or much intention behind it. Whether they have planned the murderer, or whether they have just willed it into happening shortly before they carried it out, for those who intend to kill, there is always a glimmer of pleasure for a job done, one that for whatever reason, they desired to be complete. People who kill, and serial killers are a prime example of this, do find pleasure in the pain and misfortune of someone else, and because this seeking of satisfaction has lead them to break the laws and conventions of society as they currently stand, they are inevitably punished.

What the church groups and politicians don’t understand is that my kind of schadenfreude, the one I indulge in, inside my bedroom, is one permitted by law. It is consensual harm to another person in order to provide satisfaction to them, as well as to derive it for personal use. I whipped my wife, I bonded her with intricate rope knots, but I never abused her, I never broke the law, and when she said stop, I knew to stop, and to halt there and then until she was ready to continue or be set free. See, in the play of BDSM, there should always, and most often, is a stop word, there is that knowledge of how much a person can be pushed, how much they can take before they need to halt, to rest, to be set loose for recuperation. In murder, there is no stop word, in rape, the roles of dominance and submission are overridden with the intention to cause pain through hate filled harm, in assault the conventions of stop, of go, or push and pull, are thrown aside into law breaking nonexistence. So yes, I do believe that schadenfreude can exist in a beneficial realm, but alternately, when the concept is used with ill and law breaking purposes intended, then it is not beneficial anymore, it is not even good. I do know the meaning, for a large majority of my life I have been intricately aware of this dual realms of harm, one where harm is alright, and one where harm is harmful beyond reprieve. I know, being the man I am, leading the life I lead, having the experiences I have had, that I will never, ever, forget this difference. For now and forever more, I remember the many roles I can play in society, and while my role in life may change from where I am know to where I may end up in death, being a murderer, a law breaker, will never be the kind of schadenfreude filled role I will ever permit myself to inhabit.
 
 
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