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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Envy (also called invidiousness) may be defined as an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."[1]

Envy can also derive from a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar to the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been he or she who had the desired object.[2][3]

Bertrand Russell said envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.[4] It is a universal and most unfortunate aspect of human nature because not only is the envious person rendered unhappy by his envy, but also wishes to inflict misfortune on others. Although envy is generally seen as something negative, Russell also believed that envy was a driving force behind the movement towards democracy and must be endured in order to achieve a more just social system.[5]

Contents

In psychology

Envy and narcissists

Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her.[6]

Envy, jealousy and schadenfreude

"Envy" and "jealousy" are often used interchangeably, but in correct usage, both words stand for two different distinct emotions. In proper usage, jealousy is the fear of losing something that one possesses to another person (a loved one in the prototypical form), while envy is the pain or frustration caused by another person having something that one does not have oneself. Envy typically involves two people, and jealousy typically involves three people. Envy and jealousy result from different situations and are distinct emotional experiences.[7] Both envy and jealousy are etymologically related to schadenfreude, the rejoicing at, or taking joy in, or getting pleasure from the misfortunes of others.[8][9]

In philosophy

Aristotle (in Rhetoric) defined envy (phthonos) "as the pain caused by the good fortune of others",[10][11] while Kant defined it as "a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another's because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others" (in Metaphysics of Morals). In Buddhism the third of the four divine abidings is mudita, taking joy in the good fortune of another. This virtue is considered the antidote to envy and the opposite of schadenfreude.

In the arts

In Britain, the United States and other English-speaking cultures, envy is often associated with the color green, as in "green with envy". The phrase "green-eyed monster" refers to an individual whose current actions appear motivated by envy. This is based on a line from Shakespeare's Othello. Shakespeare mentions it also in The Merchant of Venice when Portia states: "How all the other passions fleet to air, as doubtful thoughts and rash embraced despair and shuddering fear and green-eyed jealousy!" Envy is known as one of the most powerful human emotions for its ability to control one as if envy was an entity in itself. Countless men and women have fallen prey to brief periods of intense envy followed by anger which then translates into aggression. One of the most common examples is a pair of lovers in which a secret love is discovered and can lead to sorrow, then intense envy, and eventually anger and aggression.

In religion

Jacques Callot, The Seven Deadly Sins - Envy.JPG

Envy is one of the Seven deadly sins of the Christian Church. The Book of Exodus [Exo 20:17] states: "You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour."

In Islam, envy (Hassad in Arabic) can destroy one's good deeds. Therefore, one must be content with what God has given to them by saying Maashallah (God has willed it).

See also

References

  1. ^ Parrott, W. G., & Smith, R. H. (1993). And belongs to Ami. Distinguishing the experiences of envy and jealousy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 906-920.
  2. ^ Salovey, P., & Rodin, J. (1984). Some antecedents and consequences of social comparison jealousy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 780-792.
  3. ^ Elster, J. (1991). Envy in social life. In R. J. Zeckhauser (Ed.), Strategy and choices(pp. 49-82). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  4. ^ Russell, Bertrand (1930). The Conquest of Happiness. New York: H. Liverwright. 
  5. ^ Russell(1930), p. 90-91
  6. ^ Narcissistic personality disorder - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) American Psychiatric Association (2000)
  7. ^ Smith, Richard H. and Kim, Sung Hee. Psychological Bulletin, 2007, Vol. 133, No. 1, 46-64.
  8. ^ Bailey, Nathan (1737). Universal Etymological English Dictionary. London. http://books.google.com/books?id=VuYIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PT286&dq=Nathan+Bailey. 
  9. ^ Bailey, Nathan (1751). Dictionarium Britannicum. London. 
  10. ^ Pedrick, Victoria; Oberhelman, Steven M. (2006). The Soul of Tragedy: Essays on Athenian Drama. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-65306-8. 
  11. ^ 2.7.1108b1-10

Further reading

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Envy is an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it." Envy is one of the seven deadly sins.

Contents

Sourced

  • O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;
    It is the green-ey'd monster which doth mock
    The meat it feeds on.
  • ENVY, n. Emulation adapted to the meanest capacity.
  • Envy and wrath shorten the life.
    • The Bible, Old Testament, Ecclesiasticus 30:24
  • This only grant me, that my means may lie
    Too low for envy, for contempt too high.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • The covetous man is like a camel with a great hunch on his back; heaven's gate must be made higher and broader, or he will hardly get in.
    • Thomas Adams, p. 167.
  • What a wretched and apostate state is this! To be offended with excellence, and to hate a man because we approve him! The condition of the envious man is the most emphatically miserable; he is not only incapable of rejoicing in another's merit or success, but lives in a world wherein all mankind are in a plot against his quiet, studying their own happiness and advantage.
    • Joseph Addison, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 209.
  • It is the practice of the multitude to bark at eminent men, as little dogs do at strangers.
  • Of covetousness, we may truly say that it makes' both the Alpha and Omega in the devil's alphabet, and that it is the first vice in corrupt nature which moves, and the last which dies.
    • Robert South, p. 167.
  • The covetous person lives as if the world were made altogether for him, and not he for the world.
    • Robert South, p. 167.
  • The covetous man heaps up riches, not to enjoy them, but to have them.
  • If we did but know how little some enjoy of the great things that they possess, there would not be much envy in the world.

Unsourced

  • Because I envied your normal life, it seems that envy is my sin.
  • Covetous men are fools, miserable wretches, buzzards, madmen, who live by themselves, in perpetual slavery, fear, suspicion, sorrow, discontent, with more of gall than honey in their enjoyments; who are rather possessed by their money than possessors of it.
  • Covetousness, like a candle ill made, smothers the splendor of a happy fortune in its own grease.
    • F. Osborn
  • Covetousness, which is idolatry.
  • Envy is a thousand times worse than hunger, since it is hunger of the spirit.
  • He deservedly loses his own property who covets that of another.
  • If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that it may be said to possess him.
  • If thou seeketh to obtain by force what our Lord did not give thee, thou wilt not get it.
  • Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope.
  • The covetous person lives as if the world were made altogether for him, and not he for the world; to take in everything, and part with nothing.
    • Robert South
  • The only instance of a despairing sinner left upon record in the New Testament is that of a treacherous and greedy Judas.
  • There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man's affections centre in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold on the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end.
    • Richard Mant
  • The worst present for an envious person is a palace… with a view of a better one.
  • There's no profit in envy.
    • Quark. A Ferengi proverb. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Those who give not till they die show that they would not then if they could keep it any longer.
  • Why are we so blind? That which we improve, we have, that which we hoard is not for ourselves.
    • Dorothee DeLuzy
  • Envy never enriched any man.
    • English 17th Century proverb.
  • Envy shoots at others and wounds herself.
    • English 16th Century proverb

External links

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