Envy: The Real Green-Eyed Monster

You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

Exodus 34:14

Jealousy. It’s been making the rounds in philosophy as of late. Many people are considering new forms of intimate relationships (such as polyamory). Several of these thinkers argue against jealousy.

Take, for example, this article at Aeon on love without jealousy. The picture painted is one of a terrible emotion that motivates us to do terrible things.

As a highly jealous person, I am actually proud of my jealousy. I hope it never goes away. It does in fact motivate me–for the better. It makes me keep and protect my love. It makes me guard my love. It makes me strive to be better for my love.

When philosophers argue against jealousy, I do believe the proper emotion they should be objecting to is envy for it is envy that is the real green-eyed monster. Envy, as a matter of definition, harbors resentment. This, in turn, moves the envy-holder to bad acts.

If there is an emotion philosophers should do away with, without a doubt it is envy.


Author: Jennifer Lawson

Philosopher. That is all.

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