Ask A Genius 351 – Schadenfreude: How Do You Feel About Jung? Mixed.

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 351 – Schadenfreude: How Do You Feel About Jung? Mixed.

February 22, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You had some short ideas on Freud and Jung.

Rick Rosner: Schadenfreude is a helpful shorthand for a certain mixed emotion, and once you hear it, then it’s sticky for a lot of people who have experienced that Schadenfreude type thing. So, Schadenfreude is a meme once you’re aware of it, it sticks in your brain.

So, that’s what memes were meant to be, but then the term “memes” got taken over by people who do fun graphic jokes on Twitter and Instagram, and once they go viral they’re memes, but that’s a whole second meaning that isn’t exactly a sense of the first meaning.

That is a catchy mind bug that spreads through culture because the idea being expressed is handy or amusing. Then you said there was another thing you want to link to it.

Jacobsen: What do you think about Sir Carl Jung and the idea of the archetype? Those seem like memes evolved over time, which are almost statistical tendencies of forms that we have in our minds. They’re all Platonic-ish.

Rosner: I understand the handiness of archetypes and stereotypes; without admitting, I don’t think I believe in Jung’s form of archetypes. He thinks that we have evolved structures in the brain that we are more receptive to.

We have some cultural history already embedded in our brain via evolution and that can include archetypes. The myth of the heroes and certain types of men in some way and some types of women in other ways if they line up with certain archetypal roles.

I have never strongly believed in that. I believe in it even less strong now that there is more evidence in neuroscience that shows that the brain is constructivist instead of essentialist according to recent research results, which that the brain, each brain, builds its own concepts based on experience via culture and repeated personal experiences.

Those concepts aren’t inbuilt. People had arguments about this regarding language, whether we have inbuilt evolved language abilities or we have language centers evolved to make humans better at learning a language.

But a constructivist would say, “No, the brain is very flexible and it quickly builds structures in infancy when it’s super fluid, when it’s super flexible, in what it can do. It’s able to quickly build the capacity for language without having an inbuilt evolved capacity for language.”

So, based on the stuff I’ve read and heard about recently, I would disagree with a lot of inbuilt arguments as opposed to the spontaneously built over the life of your brain arguments.

Jacobsen: Okay.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

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