Electric Green Eyes

Envy is my least favourite of emotions.

If you aren’t familiar with the Seven Deadly Sins, Invidia is the Sixth. It is commonly confused with Jealousy, as the 2 may be closely related in certain ways.

Envy is what you feel when you see someone have what you want. It is usually exacerbated when you believe that that someone is as qualified, or lesser, to possess the item in question. You can either passively feel all this and get yourself into a quandary, or you can go so far as to wish ill upon said privileged someone. I’ve had marginal issues with Envy being distinguished from Lust on the list, as Envy is a form of Lust, after all; just that it may not have a single material target, and is possibly more negative than lusting after someone.

Jealousy is all about feeling threatened in a relationship by another presence, qualified only by the reactions of the other parties to the relationship. IMO, this is total HS.

Anyway, I was thinking about how what/who I envy has characterized certain pivotal portions of my life.

I’m not here to bore the general public with them. I just want to pick on one particular ‘thing’ that still afflicts me. Motivation.

I can read all I want about Maslow and Herzberg and Vroom and whoever else, but none of it changes the fact that I haven’t found any one item, phenomenon, concept or ‘thing’ that motivates me.

If I pose the question of “Motivates me towards what?”, I haven’t arrived at a fully truthful answer to that yet. I can say that I want to be motivated to better myself, but that isn’t all, and anyway that shouldn’t be something that I ‘need’ specific motivation towards, since it should be a part of being. So the question of what I want to be motivated towards remained unanswered while I obsess over my apparent lack of true motivation.

I don’t know if everyone has the same insecurities as I have. Fact is, I hate a lot of things about myself. Sometimes my thoughts are so common that I find myself repulsive. Sometimes I look back on a period of time and realize that I never did anything intellectually productive during it, and despise myself more. However, I despise myself most of all when I discover something I really want, find my (however sincere) efforts thoroughly unmotivated and lacking of even a semblance of passion, and, worst of all, find myself envying someone else for having it easy. Oh, what a bitter thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.

I’ve experienced this disgraceful emotion twice in my entire life thus far, and have been quite disturbed by the magnitude of my reactions (over something extremely trivial, on the surface) both times. This isn’t intended to be a confession or an apology, though. It’s more like a quiet statement of hope that I’ll never go through that again.

There’s an interesting quote on the subject by Bertrand Russell, who shows up in the most surprising of facets of my life:

“Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed.”

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