In Thomas Harris' novel, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter gives Clarice a hint as to how to find the killer. "Seek first principles," he tells her. "What does he do? He envies...he covets." (You can see the killer's envy in his last words to Clarice, after she shoots him: "How does it feel to be so beautiful?")
Harris, who had studied with the FBI's serial-killer unit for information for his novel, understood intimately of which he wrote. These kinds of killers always envy, and because they envy, they hate. Almost always they envy and hate women, almost always because of childhood abuse. They project their problems onto innocent women and kill them. Their hate and envy, coupled with their reptilian lack of a conscience, permits them to commit serial murder. The psychological sequence runs thus: envy to scapegoating to evil.
This sequence also exists in the movie, Amadeus. Salieri envies and hates Mozart, because Mozart posesses a profound musical genius, and Salieri's talent is miniscule. Predictably, he blames his problems on Mozart, and wants to bring him down and destroy him. Which he does, subtly. His reward is similar to the murderer's in Silence: he ends up in an asylum, where he cuts his wrists. Envy, to scapegoating, to evil.
This sequence was noticed thousands of years ago, in the story of the Garden of Eden. Eve blames her behavior on the serpent, a symbol of envy and therefore also of hate. Adam blames Eve. God kicks them out, and they enter the world "knowing good and evil." Envy, to scapegoating, to evil.
I pay attention to myths. They don't survive thousands of years until they have universal truth to them. I generally don't pay attention to modern "science" unless it confirms ancient wisdom. When the psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote, "Scapegoating is the genesis of human evil," I listened.
The story of the Garden of Eden also suggests evil and hate have no conscience, no more than a reptile has a conscience. In describing the serpent as "subtle," it points out envy and hate usually operate in a backstabbing way. Very rarely does anyone declare, "I envy you." It's an admission of inferiority.
The entire 20th century was the era of hate, envy, scapegoating and mass murder. Historians estimate 177 million people lost their lives because of Communism and Nazism, both of which are based on the aforementioned traits.
Blame the non-Aryans and kill them; blame the capitalists and kill them. Then our problems will evaporate and Utopia shall reign.
In the U.S. the Democrats, who are America's Communist Party, have traditionally been far more scapegoating towards Republicans than the reverse. They see them as evil. And the Democratic Party is based on envy, theft and greed. Envy, to scapegoating. to evil.
When the wisdom of the story of the Garden of Eden is applied to the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, a bit more nuanced reason for them emerges.
The "Right" sees the attacks as being on our "freedom," "democracy" and "capitalism." This is asinine and barely worth discussing. People don't fly planes into buildings screaming, "Die freedom-loving democratic capitalist!"
The idea that the attacks were based on envy is, I believe, far more correct.
The Islamic world is a thousand years behind the West. I've heard it described as "Nietzsche's crab": try to help it and it claws you; leave it alone and it goes backwards.
What they envy is our power and wealth. We are so superior the U.S. alone could militarily defeat all 22 Islamic countries combined, with an almost contemptible ease (ruling is another story. a mistake shown by the old saying, "You can conquer a country on horseback, but you must dismount to rule it"). In that sense the attacks were partly symbolic, to "bring us down."
They envy our superiority, our wealth, our power.
The Left, and libertarians, see the attacks as a response to our meddling in the Middle East. This is more correct than what the "Right," believes, but not totally.
The Islamic world blames it problems on the West because we have interfered in their part of the world. Yet our interference is ultimately not the cause of their poverty and backwardness. They are the cause of it. But because of scapegoating, they're going to blame their problems the West, or whatever else is convenient. But they are not going to look at the log in their eye, only the speck in someone else's, just as we do the same.
This is not to suggest that the US's meddling in the Middle East hasn't harmed them, and harmed them greatly. It has. But overwhelmingly, they've fouled their own nests, and have no one to blame but themselves. People who think that using their children as suicide bombers is acceptable are worshipping Moloch and destroying themselves, but are too deluded to know it.
Does this envy run both ways? They envy us; do we envy them? What do they have for us to envy? Absolutely nothing, except one thing: oil. And I think "envy" might be too strong of a word. "Covet" sounds more correct. We covet their oil, even though we have plenty of our own, if we would just drill for it.
It does not surprise me at all that the only emotion forbidden in the Ten Commandments is envy. It's the basis of so many other sins: murder, theft, greed. War, partly because we are greedy for their oil.
What does the wisdom of the story of the Garden of Eden tell us about the WWIII we are apparently hurtling into headlong? They envy us, see us as evil, and scapegoat us. We covet what they have, see them as evil, and scapegoat them.
Each lacks a conscience concerning the other, sees them as evil, as "things." The result: a long war, in which each is convinced they are right and the other is wrong. War, famine, pestilence, destruction, caused by the fact each is utterly convinced they are in the right.
The myth of the Garden of Eden is indeed instructive...now if only the people in government would listen to what it's telling them.