TED Conversations

Questions First

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Why Do We Like To Share Tragedy?

As this post (http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/06/are-we-helping/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29&utm_content=Google+UK) mentions, many people tend to share information about tragic events like accidents, bombings, tsunamis, etc and the question is "why"?

Is it just to inform others? Is it to express our sympathy or solidarity?

+2
Share:
progress indicator
  • thumb
    Jul 11 2013: Sharing makes people feel less isolated in their pain. There may also be some hope that someone outside the tragedy can help.

    Tragedy can also make people feel contemplative about life and their place in it along with everyone else's place in it. Tragedy has a way, often, of making people value their human connections more.
  • Jul 12 2013: I think for many reasons.

    In the case of personal tragedy, talking about it with others may help you get through some very tough times as Kate, Mary M.,Fritzie and TED Friend all mention below. There is a chance that by group support you feel less isolated and more able to cope with your situation. there is also the chance that you will get some direct help from friends if they choose to offer help. Many of the 12 step programs for various addictions take advantage of group strength to help individuals at various stages in recovery.

    In the case of attention seeking, people enjoy reporting about the misfortune of themselves or others so that they get the attention of large groups. This might lead to temporary sympathy in the case of personal misfortune, or a belief that you are somehow "more in the know" relative to some external tragedy and might be used as either a conduit to get more information or somehow channel resources, energy or sympathy to the misfortunate group. If this is truly not the case, then it is a pathetic temporary adrenaline rush and will be followed by loss of group confidence.

    In the case of just idle conversation or personal chatting, then passing information about the tragedy to inform friends and neighbors is a good thing. This enables them to learn more about the topic if they care to, and possibly pick-up some lessons learned from the experiences that can be used to prevent them frorm having a similar experience.
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Jul 12 2013: One reason people may be more reluctant to share good news is that it can come off as bragging and particularly inappropriate at a time and place where many people who hear them might be struggling.

        Another possibility is that people come to take the good news for granted and therefore don't even think to mention it.
      • thumb
        Jul 12 2013: I will sneak in a spot of good news, then, of having just been liberated from my cast for broken foot. So yes, the weekend should be fine!
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2013: @Kate. Walking with weight evenly balanced on my two feet is a delight.
  • Jul 12 2013: Good quesiton!It reminds me another question:why people are more emational,passionate by tragedy?why we laught when we feel happy,why we cry when we feel sad?why are we born so?why don't we cry when we feel happy?ooo..I am used to know those questions.but why?
  • Jul 16 2013: As morbid as it may sound I think its a way to comfort ourselves. Whenever you see or hear of a catastrophic event that killed many people, you are horrified, but a small part of you is also relieved and happy that it wasn't you and that you are lucky enough to still be alive and doing relatively well compared to those other people. Suddenly the fact that your friend has a has a hotter girlfriend than you or that you didn't get an A+ on that test doesn't matter as much and doesn't hurt you as much in the face of such destruction and carnage that befell another poor soul. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you, dear reader, continued to read this partly because you saw the word morbid in the first sentence. We are attracted to morbidity because it illuminates our good fortune in matters typically taken for granted. One day I watched a video online of a woman's head getting cut off by a members of a drug cartel, and honestly, that may have been the first time I was truly happy to still be alive and well.
  • thumb
    Jul 14 2013: thank you for taking time to comment Deepak. I wrote in a flurry and a bit of sarcasm meant well. I have learned that given time, reflection and prayer my life's journey has taught and shown me that a "rudder" is always there to assist in many ways. If I would define the eyes in which I view this life it is an eternal, realistic optimist. there are those that see danger and at every turn and that is when the "I told you so. see it's a ongoing battle this life is" They hold on to others misfortunes for some sort of validation. I will never be able to "wrap my brain around" this view. I truly cry when a tragedy takes a life, sweeps away a home for they are kindred spirits. Deepak, there are human beings on this planet that live every day with such horrendous devastation with no "rudder" to hang on to. these are the stories we should be sharing and people who need our prayers for the strife life throws my way living in the United States is but a grain of sand. When I commented to this question this is the populous I had in mind. again, thank you for sharing.
  • thumb
    Jul 13 2013: waiting for the "left shoe to fall" is far more easier and takes little faith to believe than " that it all works out in the end". we share tragedy to say, I knew it, I told you so. life is a battle we are all victim to and we have little hope of wining. The eternal pessimist.
  • thumb
    Jul 13 2013: For the most part I would like to think to learn from other people's mistakes. I don't think it is for entertainment as I speak for myself.

    Emergency landing (fuel vapor lock at 1000 feet) single engine land airplane landed in drainage canal in 2005 over populated area. I had the luxury of leaving the gear up. For other aircraft pilots (I know some are here on Ted) out there flying fixed gear , hold the breaks to hydroplane on water. I learned this after the fact of my accident. I walked away with no injuries.

    The title of this thread makes me think of the album "good news for people who love bad news" by modest mouse
  • thumb
    Jul 12 2013: .
    .
    It is our symbiosis in action!
    Symbiosis (saved in our DNA) let us survive.

    (Be Happy Validly! pp 24)
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Jul 16 2013: .Thanks!

        Yes, I have.
        I coped by the principle of symbiosis. (Be Happy Validly! p 27).