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Why do some things appear to cause "sadness"?

Snan
Posts: 2
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8/12/2016 2:19:25 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
What does it mean for something to be "sad"?
Or what properties are necessary to evoke sadness in our minds/hearts?

What makes me wonder is the following:
There is a very famous scene from a series, that many (many many) people consider to be one of the saddest thing, they ever saw in their lives.
(Chimera Scene from FullMetalAlchemist).

I watched that scene and frankly I am really confused. The scene is indeed morbid and I suppose one could describe it as sad, but I didn't feel the single first stir of emotion.
I did NOT feel sad. For me, the reason I didn't consider the scene to be sad was the fact, that I didn't have any emotional relationship/bond with the character, that eventually died, and I can't believe that any other viewer managed to built any significant bond. The show just didn't put any effort into that particular character.

That brings me to the point of thinking, that it's sufficient for a scenario to be objectively sad, so people will actually feel sadness.

Experiment:
I introduce you now to a new fictional character.
His name is David. David was a middle-class pianist, barely earning enough money to provide for his family, but he recently lost all his fingers in a tragic attempt to save his daughter in an accident. Unfortunately he didn't succeed, so his daughter died in a horrible crash. Now he can't play the piano, has no job and another daughter, he can't provide for anymore.
END

I suspect everyone of us would accept, that the term "sad" would be applicable for this story. But did anyone of you feel any real sadness? If so, why?
If not, why not?
Would the exact same scenario evoke more emotions if I would have provided more details about the characters?
Or would the "mere-exposure-effect" increase the level of sadness one would feel:
By that I mean: Imagine I wrote many more stories about david, writing about his life and you read all of them over many weeks, if not months. Would the accident from earlier have a bigger impact then?
If so, why?

One could of course argue, that people obviously care more about their close friends and family instead of strangers on the other side of the earth. But is a bond necessary?
Are there properties, that are absolutely necessary or do we just need a sufficient amount of arbitrary reasons?

Pardon me, this is my first post on this website.
Have a nice day
janesix
Posts: 3,491
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8/12/2016 6:30:41 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/12/2016 2:19:25 PM, Snan wrote:
What does it mean for something to be "sad"?
Or what properties are necessary to evoke sadness in our minds/hearts?

What makes me wonder is the following:
There is a very famous scene from a series, that many (many many) people consider to be one of the saddest thing, they ever saw in their lives.
(Chimera Scene from FullMetalAlchemist).

I watched that scene and frankly I am really confused. The scene is indeed morbid and I suppose one could describe it as sad, but I didn't feel the single first stir of emotion.
I did NOT feel sad. For me, the reason I didn't consider the scene to be sad was the fact, that I didn't have any emotional relationship/bond with the character, that eventually died, and I can't believe that any other viewer managed to built any significant bond. The show just didn't put any effort into that particular character.

That brings me to the point of thinking, that it's sufficient for a scenario to be objectively sad, so people will actually feel sadness.

Experiment:
I introduce you now to a new fictional character.
His name is David. David was a middle-class pianist, barely earning enough money to provide for his family, but he recently lost all his fingers in a tragic attempt to save his daughter in an accident. Unfortunately he didn't succeed, so his daughter died in a horrible crash. Now he can't play the piano, has no job and another daughter, he can't provide for anymore.
END

I suspect everyone of us would accept, that the term "sad" would be applicable for this story. But did anyone of you feel any real sadness? If so, why?
If not, why not?
Would the exact same scenario evoke more emotions if I would have provided more details about the characters?
Or would the "mere-exposure-effect" increase the level of sadness one would feel:
By that I mean: Imagine I wrote many more stories about david, writing about his life and you read all of them over many weeks, if not months. Would the accident from earlier have a bigger impact then?
If so, why?

One could of course argue, that people obviously care more about their close friends and family instead of strangers on the other side of the earth. But is a bond necessary?
Are there properties, that are absolutely necessary or do we just need a sufficient amount of arbitrary reasons?

Pardon me, this is my first post on this website.
Have a nice day

A bond is probably necessary in some scenarios. But not always. Many people would feel sad at looking at a picture of a starving child for instance.
wuliheron
Posts: 105
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8/12/2016 7:16:36 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
Happiness consists of those feelings people say the want, while unhappiness are the feelings people say they don't want. Someone might lose their hands in an accident and claim to have found God and happiness in the process. No doubt some might argue they are merely living in denial, however, happiness can now be measured using fMRI brain scans which have proven that Buddhist monks who live austere lifestyles and try to be content with their lives are happier than the average Joe with all their cars and houses and whatnot.

My own view is that harmony neither acts nor reasons whenever the only thing we can know is that we know nothing and whenever harmony is lost balance will be restored. You could say negative emotions focus our attention, while positive ones expand our horizons and the two will transform into one another in extreme situations.
Hiu
Posts: 1,015
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8/13/2016 1:03:19 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
I don't necessarily think a bond is necessary to invoke sadness. I think the stimuli/stimulus must invoke something that runs contrary to the state of being that is, your mood. That stimuli whatever it is could invoke a memory or a feeling you have about a particular thing that you find deplorable. For example, when I see cancer patients in pain and suffering I begin to tear up, because the visual image of the patient suffering, invokes an image and a reminder of a mother who I lost to cancer. However, I may see a small child suffering from a disease and I become sad because the image of a small human being suffering is a negative stimuli I witness.