Jealousy: Hate It Not Philosophy

People talk of jealousy as though it was an affliction of some sort. May be it is. May be it is a mental condition to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist before it is too late, before it turns debilitating. I don’t know. What I know is that it is quite natural for people to feel that someone has done better than they did, and they might not like the fact of someone else’s being more successful than they are. Since they have done all that they could to change their life and can do nothing more, there is only one thing they can do — hate the successful for their success. It’s just a feeling. It’s just an emotional response. And like all emotional responses, it is not reasonable in the sense that one cannot really call it ‘right’ in the strict sense of the term. But that’s not very important. What is important is that one has no right to call such a feeling ‘wrong’ either because feelings are not open to moral judgments. One cannot call one feeling better than or more reasonable or sounder than the other. One feels what one feels and one has every right to feel the way one feels without having to justify it.

I am not saying that jealousy is a feeling one should harbour or take pride in harbouring. It is certainly a negative emotion because it essentially makes one feel low of oneself, which is not healthy, but I am not talking of the people who are jealous but about the people who criticize others for being jealous. They should certainly stop hating jealous people or jealousy as an emotion because all emotions stand on the same plane so far as the moral standing of the emotions is concerned. Jealously is no less of an emotion than, say, love or empathy or kindness or compassion. One cannot make another compassionate. Similarly, one cannot make someone love someone or anyone. Likewise, one cannot make one jealous of someone or anyone. All of these — jealousy, love, compassion and so on — are simply emotional responses. One is free to feel how one feels without having to feel bad about it.

We want people to be good, but before we get anywhere close to achieving it we need to let people be bad because the best form of goodness is the one that emerges unscathed from the fire-test of badness. Let the light come fighting through the darkness, for what good is light if it cannot defeat darkness.

Originally published on Ezine Article on March 31, 2015


  1. I feel jealous often, but that is never because someone is more happy or successful than me. My jealousy is of a very specific kind, quintessentially feminine in nature. :p

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