Envy, Enmity and Jealousy

Envy is a sense of discontent arising out of jealousy of a person about the advantages, possessions, fame and glory of others. On similar lines, Jealousy is a type of resentful longing of a person aroused by possessions and qualities of another person or group of persons.

According to Charles Darwin envy is part of evolution: Envy enabled species to survive; envy helped prevent catastrophic mass destruction of species. Darwin’s theory tells that humans behave in such a way as to help one individual to overtake another in the survival track of existence. The theory targets biological drives of humans which include the urge for procreation.

Even though envy involves jealousy, in essence, envy is not jealousy but it is the feeling of acute resentment inflicted by the possessions of others that the afflicted one does not possess or could not afford to acquire. In contrast, jealousy is an insatiable thirst of a person ignited by someone or something that the person is somehow or somewhere attached to.

‘Envy’ has so many other explanations, too: A person who enjoys pleasure out of another one’s misfortune is envy. Similarly, an urge to outdo or to undo the advantages enjoyed by rivals is envy. It is not rare where some people feel overwhelmingly driven by envy when they come across someone else owning desirable items including properties that the envious do not have. For example, think of a person whose neighbour bought a costly new brand car which the person concerned couldn’t afford to buy. Here the feelings of envy make the person lose self-esteem and he becomes a worried person. In similar situations envy brings in frantic sense of emptiness inside oneself. In substance, as Aristotle put it straight, envy is “the pain caused by the good fortune of others”.

The root cause of envy could be the reluctance or inability to realize one’s own well-being instead of comparing it with others’ well-being or possessions. Envy is a widespread, evil-filled phenomenon that pervades the minds of ill-groomed persons among the human chain.

A group of Researchers has come up with a theory that envy and jealousy are inborn traits having their roots in genealogy. But this theory does not contain proven scientific evidence. It is abundantly clear that the parental trajectory of a person has nothing to do with his or her emotional feelings of envy and jealousy. There are innumerable cases where the fathers and the mothers or even the great grant parents of envy-ridden people were gracious with full of love and compassion for fellow humans including neighbors and relatives despite the fellow humans being in more advantageous situations and possessions. It is doubtful, therefore, whether genes which are the blueprint for life are related to envy. Genes only determine physical traits like what to look like and what to inherit from paternal routes. In the same context, some physiologists in the West have propounded that envy and jealousy are the working results of the frontal cortex of the brain. The theory appears to be reliable because all feelings, emotions and thoughts are produced by excitation and inhibitions that take place in the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of human brain. But the scientists, it seems, have failed to put forward the factors that cause excitation of brain center concerned for building up the emotive mental attitudes of envy and jealousy.

There comes the significance of the discoveries made by the Russian Physiologist Dr. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov on reflex action of the central nervous system. Pavlov through his extensive researches had proved that various stimuli emanating from internal and external sources which he named the “environs” excite the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex. Repeat excitation creates nerve to nerve communication-channels, namely the reflexes. The nerve to nerve communication of reflexes is necessary for the reach of stimuli from various environs to excite the sensory centres for feelings and emotions. Depending upon the nature of input from the environs and the human type, sensory experiences vary from person to person. Children brought up in surroundings which have ambiance of love and compassion, mutual respect and honesty, affection and happiness for everything in the vicinity grow up into adulthood as nascent citizenry devoid of harmful thoughts of envy and jealousy. This is the working of the conditioned reflexes formed in the nervous system by the influence of the surrounding environs. On the other hand, there are isolated cases where the family atmosphere is altogether in a reverse trajectory: The parents, especially male bastions in such families fight throughout their life for quenching their insatiable thirst to acquire and possess properties and valuables, fame and heritages of others by hook or crook. Alongside, they nurture the illicit feeling of envy over what others have. They cannot tolerate any one else owning more than or equal to what they possess or what they are. They look at others not with love and compassion but with jealousy. With the pull of conditioned reflexes, the children of such families when they grow up into adulthood, no doubt, will turn out to be envious of others; envious of the possessions of others.

The analysis thus brings out the truth that the basic reason for envy and jealousy of a person is nothing other than the environs that surround the individual. Surrounding environs comprise family, neighbourhood, schools, colleges, friends and the workplace. Persons infected by envy have mistaken or wrong notion about how to achieve real happiness through possessions. This is because of the influence of the environs where the persons are brought up. What is needed in such situations is to bring in a change in the environs whereby the afflicted are guided to find satisfaction in what they possess and reinvent their own abilities and acumen to achieve goals instead of envying on others.

Evaluation of envy cannot be completed unless its co-brother enmity is elucidated: Enmity is that state of mind which nurtures active hostility of hate, bitterness, friction, malice, animosity, aversion, antagonism, acrimony and ill will towards outside agencies such as individuals, groups or nations. Envy and Enmity have common links: Quite often envy incites enmity.  There is a saying that “the enemy of my friend is my enemy; the friend of my enemy is my enemy and the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

No wonder, there is hardly any place for enmity without the company of envy. Throughout the history, enmity has worked its way ahead through clashes and fights among families, clans, tribes, religions and nations all of which had envy as its booster. Human evolution itself is an example for envy and enmity. Envy can be regarded as positive attitude so long as it limits itself in achievements and progress of the individuals concerned without the interference of jealousy and anguish against others. Overwhelming envy gives birth to enmity: All the destructive trends that prevail across the world can be rightly attributed to enmity born out of envy-jealousy paternity.


Materialism – Its All for all

Materialism is that process of thought and action which upholds that everything in the universe, including all what is attributed to mind, including even the so-called miracles, is either the product of matter or is dependent on matter. Materialism rejects the beliefs of soul, spirit, supernatural powers and extra-sensory experiences of the so-called sixth sense:

Materialism as a system of philosophical thought came out during the early part of the Seventeenth Century. End of the sixteenth Century paved the way for the emergence of science and technology: The emergence led light rays to penetrate into the darkness of subjective imaginations of the human race.

Science and scientific quest for unraveling the unknown mysteries of Universe became tool at the hands of sections among the science-savvy pursuers of the yore. Among them were the thinkers like Galileo, Bacon, Descartes and others of the ilk. They expounded the basics of materialism through the route of rationalism in thoughts and action. It was a path breaking trend; materialism so developed was a revolution in itself in the field of natural science, social science, means of production, discoveries and inventions. Dialectical Materialism as expounded by Karl Marx forms a part of Materialism which is directed at social science, means of production, discoveries and inventions.

The Universe originated as a result of a Big Bang that took place some fifteen billion years ago. The theory is widely accepted by  scientific community as well as the general public who refuse to accept the Creationist-belief that universe was created by the Almighty God. Big Bang was the explosion of an unimaginably tiny but dense and hot piece of object; the explosion disbursed matter in the form of galaxies, stars, planets, black holes and countless other particles in Space. Evolution that followed the Big Bang saw the emergence of innumerable species including the Homo sapiens in the form of humans placed at the top of the ladder.

The Big Bang was a terrific phenomenon based on matter; all the species which came into existence are the product of matter. There are nothing in space other than matter and phenomena attributable to matter. The tenets of materialism are therefore firm and irrevocable. Beliefs are imaginations of human brain: Materialism could unravel the falsity of soul, spirit, supernatural powers and extra-sensory experiences. Materialism established that there is no soul or spirit that sustains life; materialism detected that ‘power’ in whatever way it pervades the Universe is natural and that therefore there is no supernatural power anywhere in the universe; materialism proved that there is no extra sense in human brain other than the existing five senses and without the presence of the existing senses, there could be no extra-sensory experience of sixth sense ever possible.

Materialists are supposed to accept and adhere to the principles of materialism. However, some people who pretend themselves as materialists argue that matter is primary thing having physical properties like size, shape, color, magnetic charge and location: As per their views, there are things which do not have these attributes of matter and therefore everything in the universe cannot be taken for granted as matter. The so-called materialists do not appear to understand what matter is? According to science, matter is something which occupies space, which exists in space. The existence does not need size, shape, color, charge or specific location. The arguers, for sure, stand aloof outside materialism; at best such materialists are fence-sitters like skeptics.

There are also critiques of materialism who direct their finger towards ‘mind’ saying that mind is not matter and therefore materialism does not apply to mind. Their arguments are baseless for, mind is property of matter; phenomena of mind depend on matter; without matter the phenomenon is nothing. The entire thought processes of mind including what is termed as consciousness, is product of matter, is dependent on matter: Humans are the inhabitants of planet Earth in the Universe. Earth is matter and the inhabitants of the Earth comprising humans are the product of matter. Humans are made up of matter; human brain is a part of human body and hence brain which houses the nervous system comprising countless nerve cells is also matter. Feelings and emotions are felt as a result of excitation of the nerve cells. Excitation takes place when stimuli from the environs react with the nerve cells. The stimuli from environs reach central nervous system through various nerve connections in the sensory centers that represent vision, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. These sensory nerve centers are there in the body at the time of birth. The mental activity that enables cardiac pulsations, blood circulation, breathing and ingestion are ingrained in the nervous system at the time of birth and are made possible through permanent nerve connections controlled by unconditioned reflex actions. The mental activity governed by unconditioned reflex action keeps the organism to meet basic subsistence needs of the body. These bare needs are supplemented by countless nerve connections which are formed after the organism is born. Such after-born nerve connections are activated and controlled by conditioned reflex actions. Human mind represents the combination of both the unconditioned and conditioned reflex actions that take place in the central nervous system. The organism survives in the environment; the organism grows and fulfills its biological calls through the nervous actions which are guided, controlled and executed by the unconditioned and the conditioned reflex actions. These then are supported and supplemented by inherent biochemical formulations of congenital origin. The entire process taken together is what constitutes ‘Mind’. Mind is phenomena generated by matter. Mind cannot and does not stand outside materialism. Mind has nothing to do with spirit world developed in the imagery of ignorant philosophers.

Matter is the only reality in the Universe: Materialism is all that is of reality: Everything including thoughts and actions is of reality; everything relating to cognition is of reality: Materialism covers everything which is of reality. Even for physical wellness and worldly-possessions which humans value the most, materialism is the pathway for fulfillment.