There's No Way One Can Tame the Green-eyed Monster

Published: 07th October 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2015 10:53 PM   |  A+A-

Fear and I were born twins together, said the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. So were jealousy and man. Jealousy is termed a negative emotion and it finds itself in the company, base company that is, of anger, hatred, rage, sadness et al. Feelings of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, success and luck is jealousy, says an anonymous wisdom quote. British Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, ‘Jealousy is the basis of democracy.’  ‘O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster... ,’ said Iago in Othello. Jealousy has an upside though. It makes one ambitious.

Our epics and history are replete with deeds of jealous men who would not scruple to do anything to achieve their ends. Duryodhan denied even a needle point of territory to the Pandavas. Greed for wealth and glory was not his only mover. It was jealousy that stoked the fire of anger in him against his cousins. Arjun envied Eklavya and Karna. He could barely bear the thought of being outshined by anyone.

If you go with Robert Audrey and other anthropologists of his ilk, territorial imperative is the root cause of all aggressions, conflicts and fights between countries, people and animals. But that need not be and is not the case always. Jealousy plays a pivotal role in pitting one person or country against another. Jealousy caused the city-states of Athens and Sparta to find themselves in eternal confrontation with each other. However, to ward off Persian attacks, they forgot their jealousies and fought together. The unity was momentary, though. Soon, jealousy took the better of them. Peer jealousy is as much talked and written about a subject as sibling jealousy. The source of most skirmishes that often come about between daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law need not be sought elsewhere. It is rooted in jealousy.

Politicians are notorious for possessing the crab mentality. There is no love lost between two political parties of any hues, especially the ruling and opposition ones. The opposition parties always express their utmost willingness to help the government. They are never tired of saying that they want the government to perform well. However, they say so only outwardly. In their heart of hearts, they only want the government to falter in its every step. It is jealousy that makes them do so. For, if the same party is returned to power one term after the other because of its good governance, when will others find themselves in power? After all, they too are in the quest of an opportunity to serve people!

Even eminent people were not innocent from jealousy. Mathematicians Leibniz and Huygens were known to be quite jealous of the English physicist Isaac Newton, who was apparently greater. There is an age-old saying that baldness and jealousy are kindred in that both defy cure. Medical science will, for sure, find a cure for baldness sooner or later. But jealousy will remain uncured as it is not amenable to medical treatment. For, it has no physical attributes unlike the other least or less injurious disorder. Nevertheless, can man, armed with his advancing scientific knowledge, conquer human emotions too of which jealousy is a prominent one?

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