Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Comparison is the Thief of Joy"

"Comparison is the thief of joy" - Theodore Roosevelt

One of my posters, Earl, linked to a site about how many depressed people are on Facebook. Why? Because they are comparing themselves to others and think the others have it better than they do.

Incidentally, I use Facebook for entertainment and have found it goofy. People post pictures of their meals. Lots of kittens and puppies, too, some of which are excruciatingly cute.

When people compare themselves to others and feel bad, that's because of envy, which is the only one of the Seven Deadly Sins that isn't any fun at all.

Envy is invidious comparison. That's what the "evil eye" is. You compare yourself to someone, are envious, and the envious get that look on their faces.

I know two women who are quite good-looking. I've asked both if other women were envious of them. Answer; yes, some were, and they had that look on their faces. Sometimes they tried to hurt these good-looking women in some way. Oftentimes by being extremely rude to them in public.

I've always been a low-envy person and didn't even feel it until I was 27, and that was in the content of a relationship with a women. Before that I didn't have a clue, even though I had been the object of other's envy, and that was always about a woman I had and they didn't.

I was mystified about why they were talking behind my back. But then, that's what envy does. No one says "I envy you." Instead they pull a Salieri on you (Salieri in the movie Amadeus was eaten alive with his envy of Mozart and stabbed him in the back every chance he could get).

These guys were comparing themselves to me and found themselves lacking. I had what they wanted and couldn't get.

The ancient Greeks noticed that the benign form of envy is admiration. And what you admire someone you want to emulate them. with envy you just want to tear them down.

There are entire ideologies based on the abolition of envy (which ain't gonna happen). Liberalism/leftism/socialism, for example.

My experience with these people is that they aren't very good-looking, not in the slightest. The men are weak-looking and the women are fat and ugly (Stalin had a pockmarked face, fused toes on one foot, and a withered arm).

Now of course the more envious Third Worlders we let into this country the worse things are going to get. They compare themselves to us, find themselves wanting, refuse to admit their envy, and so project their problems on us. Strangely, this is never talked about. But then, that's the problem with envy: hardly anyone wants to talk about it. And the envious sure as hell will never admit it.


The Obvious said...

"Now of course the more envious Third Worlders we let into this country the worse things are going to get."

Yep, and they'll hide behind chants like "Racism" to disguise their envy.

The fact that where third worlders go, they bring the third world with them will be completely lost on them.

A.B. Prosper said...

Envy can be healthy when it motivates people to work to achieve

Also the problem with envy being assumed as a sin is that in many ways its not until it gets out of hand. Sin here being "gross imbalance"

Its an evolutionarily evolved reaction to perceived gross inequality and injustice.

The assumption that some people deserve huge amounts more isn't supported by the conditions in which early humans evolved in. Its was nearly impossible for someone in s small tribe in the stone age to accumulate a gross surplus of goods and was likely custom for someone who did accumulate a lot to share with the tribe.

This helped preserved the tribe in times of hardship and in come case probably prevented the big man from dying in a hunting accident or just being refused aid during a hunt.

This instinct doesn't scale of course but what we have a whole group of control tools developed to facilitate the imbalances created by early agrarian structures, hence Cain and Abel.

A caveat, in general the material benefits of more developed cultures and the ability to engage in regular commerce with non kin are worth the differential conditions but only to a certain degree.

This is why pretty much every society has had to develop some kind of wealth transfer, otherwise the have not's have little reason to support the society.

If you simply enslave people with sufficient brutality and make them work against their own interests, that works well enough but you can't make a good moral argument against it and its possible that the salves might revolt or the people you want to enslave might prove to be too strong and so on.

Now one point here, the mirror of Envy is Entitlement. When you decide that you are so much more important that the people under you that you are obligated too, and that you are so important they deserve little or nothing, you are just as bad they are.

This entitlement complex also includes the safety of you and your kin. The idea that one is entitled to be left alone or treated morally is false. You have no such rights, you have only reciprocal duties and obligations, no reciprocation, no rights. And to note here, consequences can normally be collective to the degree of impaired suffering.

An eye for an eye, life for a life, child for a child

Reciprocity even in war.

Now an important mitigating factor to this here is proximity and kinship.

The US is obligated to the US and its people alone and to no one else. Bringing in people who give little or nothing is destructive to the social good since there is no reciprocation

The smartest thing we can do is to take care of our own, keep people out to minimize new obligations and deal evenhandedly with others. We do not do this and in so not doing, we are destroying ourselves

beppo said...

Just before reading this I read a short bio of Gramsci: under five feet in height with a deformed back.