Tuesday, June 14, 2011

weltschmerz


weltschmerz [ˈvɛltˌʃmɛrts] n.

1.) A weary or pessimistic feeling about life; an apathetic or vaguely yearning attitude (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).

Etymology: German : Welt, world + Schmerz, pain (from Middle High German smërze, from Old High German smerzo)

"Too much questioning and too little active responsibility lead, almost as often as too much sensualism does, to the edge of the slope, at the bottom of which lie pessimism and the nightmare or suicidal view of life. But to the diseases which reflection breeds, still further reflection can oppose effective remedies; and it is of the melancholy and Weltschmerz bred of reflection that I now proceed to speak" ("Is Life Worth Living?", William James, 1895).

(Das Eismeer, Caspar David Friedrich, 1824)
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My housemates are away and I'm taking care of their cats. So, I'm reading in my garden yesterday afternoon when one of the cats comes over the fence carrying a pigeon bigger than he is. It's not dead, though, and the cat is just torturing it. What is the correct response in this situation? Am I obligated to put the pigeon out of its misery? Why? The cat is the one being immoral, not me. By this logic, aren't we obligated to stop all cats (even lions, tigers, etc.) from torturing their prey?

26 comments:

AllenTesch said...

So that's what I've been feeling. And yes, put the pigeon out of it's misery. You aren't the one being immoral, but you are the one that knows better.

Drake Sigar said...

Probably wants you to eat the pigeon. Those silly buggers think we’re the pets.

Liz Fichera said...

Weirdly, that word sounds like its definition.

Moobeat said...

interesting

Fang said...

Looking at the German words in it, it makes very good sence.
(oh God, German oral activity next week ): )

Banacek said...

German words are so pretty.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Weltschmerz is one of those words of which I can never remember the definition. Have to look it up every time! Annoying.

As for the cat, it is not being immoral in the least. It is simply behaving according to its nature. Yes, you should put the pigeon out of its misery as an act of compassion to end the creature's pain.

Dear Girl Wallflower said...

hej guy, what an awesome blog you have! I love reading books and searching synonyms, I also learn languages...you have a smart idea to share this! about the cat, I will def stop her from torturing more, could be worse if its a lion or a tiger...so when I have the chance, I would save lives!

Astronomy Pirate said...

There are no morals in nature, let the cat have it's fun.

Also, that word, is very apt in describing many things.

JayJay said...

Weltschmerz - I can identify with this word this morning. Re: the pigeon - depends on how messed up it is. If it is just rattled pop it in a box and put it in a dark room to calm down then let it go. Then again the cat was just doing what comes natural and it probably would have eaten the pigeon later.

MRanthrope said...

Sadistic cats are my favorite.

Kicking Rocks said...

that painting is beautiful!

DEZMOND said...

I don't like people who have weltschmerz :(

Intraman said...

i don't think you can morally judge the cat, it's just natural. if a tornado killed a bunch of people it would be tragic but it would not qualify as evil per se. i think the same goes for the cat, it's just acting accordingly with its nature. now if the sight of torture pains you, you are well in your own right to prevent the cat from going on.

Wintermute said...

that kid over there is so emo, hes weltschmerz.

I would of stopped the cat and left the bird. could have a disease

raven eli said...

now this right here is a good word: blahhh
meaning: today

Blk Jesus said...

id be hard to spell that

Meri said...

German words are so fun to say :)

bruno said...

Moral don't apply to nature...

Dejch said...

Yeah this word is definitly german! :)

Bibi said...

Don't interfere. It's in the cat's nature to play (torture) and kill. If he's finished with it, and the bird is still alive, I'm afraid you'll have to man up and kill the pigeon yourself. No need to make it suffer any further.
Just like Bruno said, moral doesn't apply to nature.

jos xx said...

it sucks to hear that in england the weather is rainly. Sry to tell you (and probably anger you even more - here the weather is just fantastic, and while I read this strange word you posted, I can only say that life is simply great...at the moment). More summer posts to be published.

don't interfere with the cat thing. i wouldn't.

jos xx

Pool Fool said...

looks strange for me

Kristin H said...

I actually would have thought the word would be more optimistic... oh well, my German is not strong.

Henry said...

@Bruno+Bibi: Agreed, morality does not apply to nature.

Ana said...

i feel that fucking weltschmerz sometimes. that picture is pure chaos/destruction.

as for the pigeon...i would let it be with the cat, but just because i wouldn't be cold enough to kill it myself without need...

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