I have come to conclusion that sadism is inherent in human beings. We take pleasure in someone else’s misery. At the same time, we are blinded by our prejudices. We want to take the version of the events which suits our narrative and our built up perception. We like to form an opinion based on what is presented to us, especially when someone who claims to be suffering from something presents it to us. After all, who wouldn’t want to side with the victim? Empathy, too, comes naturally.
We seldom go to the bottom of the things, especially when we get a chance to be a ‘hero’ by taking up the cause of the ‘victim’ and championing the crusade against the person we are told has wronged.
I have noticed this a lot on Twitter. I myself have found Twitter fights extremely entertaining. However, till now, most of such fights were by people I hardly knew. However, recently I came across a few instances where things went way too far. Abusive Direct Messages were sent, some naming and shaming happened, accusations of swindling people of money were put up, personal grudges were taken out against others. Oh, and not to forget the tattoo with a typo.
I went through Facebook profile of someone today who was being trolled for her comments on a sadhu. She came across as a very, very, very lonely person who didn’t really have many friends. She had put up a few notes on Facebook talking about how she feels suicidal. She feels lonely. She feels ugly. She feels she is not pretty. She is really, really troubled. Her comments were nasty. But what has made her so bitter? Was it growing up and being bullied? Does cyber bullying make things worse? Yes, her comments were nasty, but weren’t the replies too? Yes, she had freedom of speech and as did those who replied. But if she’s going to be nasty, do we have to one up our nastiness quotient?
That’s when I realised, what if all other Twitter fights I have seen as ‘entertainment’ were nothing but someone’s personal grudge being taken out? What if her nastiness is a result of being on the receiving end of such nastiness in real life and all the repressed feelings are finally coming out because she stopped caring about what others have to think because she thinks others don’t think about her anyway? Or maybe she’s just pure nasty to the core. I don’t know. But does it really matter?
When and why did someone’s misery become my entertainment? When did I become so insensitive towards other people’s misery? I am a good person. I am extremely sensitive. I even cry while watching Sasural Simar Ka where Simar became a daayan at one point and Rolli had a duplicate/banjaran. I put popcorn salt-clad fingers in my eyes while watching Sultan to rub my tears away, which only furthered my woes. So if I am so sensitive, when did I start taking pleasure in someone else’s suffering? This is not me. This was never me.
Being a sadist is so easy, though. It sucks you in.
I guess I am going to make a conscious effort from now onwards to be nicer.
Unless, of course, if you are Arvind Kejriwal or an avid Aam Aadmi Party supporter.