Mitleid, miterleben, miterleiden (Mauthner)

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
I would be glad if you help me finding adequate translations for this paragraph:

"Mitleid? Ja. Wenn wir unter leiden das verstehen, was es ursprünglich hieß; passiv erleben, ohne Schmerz miterleben. Alle Kreatur erlebt die Eine Welt. Jeder Einzelne erlebt sie mit, miterleidet sie. Nimmt sie wahr, soviel seine Wimper hält: der Mensch, das Tier, die Pflanze, der Regentropfen. Wir wollen mitleidig sein, wie die Blumen und der Regentropfen mitleiden. Das Mitleiden ist die Freude der Blume und des Regentropfens."

I understand Mauthner is stressing the literal meaning of the word Mitleid and the like: mit = with/together/along with, leiden: suffer (but I believe he is stressing the idea of passivity, and not that of suffering as a pain). I don't have much trouble rendering that into Portuguese, because we have "compaixão" (real cognate of compassion).
But then comes passiv erleben, ohne Schmerz miterleben, which makes me think on passively live/experience, co-experience without pain.
... erlebt sie (die Welt) mit could be to co-experience the world.
miterleidet sie
(this is the most tricky to me here) = co-suffer it?
wir wollen mitleidig sein = we wish to be compassive

Thanks in advance for your opinion!
  • kgildner

    English - Ottawa Valley
    For "passiv erleben, ohne Schmerz miterleben", I'd tend towards "experience (things) passively, without pain"

    If you're allowed to use neologisms and the like, "co-experience" sounds like a good option for "miterleben", since the classic translation of "witness" doesn't convey the same meaning. On the same token, you could continue to use the "co-" prefix in the context of suffering to translate "miterleiden", but I must admit that I find the term "co-suffer" somewhat awkward.

    As for "mitleidig", I'd go with "compassionate" or "sympathetic".


    Senior Member
    Sharing in suffering, compassionately? Yes, if we understand by suffering what it originally meant: experiencing passively, sharing, with no pain, in experiencing. Every creature experiences the One World. Each individual shares in experiencing it, in suffering it. Perceives it to the extent their eye can hold: man, animal, plant, raindrop. We want to be compassionate, sharing in suffering as the flowers and the raindrop do. To share in suffering is the flower's and the raindrop's joy.

    Pretty much suffering in so few lines. :D

    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >