“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.” Buddha
I do a lot of reading and thinking about why the world around us seems to be becoming a complete shithole for everyone. There’s plenty out there to read about the moneyed elites, conspiracy theories, feminism and the resultant breakdown of families and morality and how governments around the world are becoming more authoritarian. One thing that there is a dearth of information or even informed opinion on is why did people let this happen? You’ve got to admit, there’s a hell of a lot more of us out here than there are of them in the halls of power. You can blame education, the media, Hollywood; shit there seems to be no end of what there is to blame for all this stuff. The blame never goes to where it really belongs.
And so, I’ve come to an interesting if unintended conclusion.
The problem is the average person and his/her envy of those who might have more/better than they do even if it is just their perception.
“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” Harold Coffin
Personally, I’ve never understood envy. I grew up far from rich, hell, I remember as a kid seeing one of my father’s paychecks and I’ll never forget the figure. For fifty hours of work, after taxes, $49.00 back in the mid-sixties. But, we were never hungry and even though the roof leaked at times, we always had that roof over our heads. I guess that it came with growing up in an area where there weren’t huge disparities between the more affluent and the middle class population. But one thing I do remember was that my mother was extremely interested with the proverbial “keeping up with the Joneses”. It seemed a complete waste of time to me but she never got over her obsession.
“Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that.” Oliver Stone
And here we get to the root of the problem. The average person is completely susceptible to demagoguery, propaganda, programming and is unable to see what are lies and truths on what they see on TV, read in the newspapers, listen to on the radio and pretty much doesn’t care about learning the truth. But, they envy those who drive Mercedes and BMW’s, live in large mansions and are unable to rationally figure out why their choices in life have added up to their pitiful existence. Your average person is also completely and always filled with fear, anxiety and envy. And it’s encouraged by the elites. So, they wish destruction for those that might have accomplished more or have more than them.
“Five enemies of peace inhabit with us – avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.” Petrarch
Petrarch was an optimist. What he describes is average human nature. It’s all around us; one just has to visit the nearest workplace, office, Wal-Mart or mall to see it in all its sorry state.
“Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Actually, if you are able to think and draw conclusions, it’s pretty easy to explain. Your average person is relatively unable to critically think about their condition and as such can’t see their own deficiencies. That’s just a nice way of saying that they’re easily influenced. Plus with the push for the past sixty years of “equality” you have every dumbass out there buying into the premise that he or she should have just as much as everybody else. Then the results become obvious. First, envy that over a period of time metastasizes into hate. That results in an easily influenced individual. And those individuals vote.
“When men are full of envy they disparage everything, whether it be good or bad.” Tacitus
Remind you of anyone? It reminds me of pretty much 90% of everyone I’ve known or worked with over the past thirty years. How many people around you disparage everything around them, especially the people that surround them? Men are bad enough about it but women are much worse. You only have to hear a woman talk about one of her supposed friends to get all the proof you need for this.
“The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.” Jim Rohn
Anyone who has had any success in a competitive field knows about this. No matter how good an individual’s social skills are or how nice they treat colleagues, 90% of them are going to be envious. And they will do anything to alleviate their envious feelings. That generally equates to doing everything they can to bring the object of their envy down and in any way they can. This is the root of office politics. And why I’ve always had a rule that I live by and learned the hard way, “No good deed goes unpunished”. It takes a certain amount of intelligence, cunning and a very thick skin not to mention a severe tendency towards psychopathy to negotiate the corporate world these days. And it’s not just your co-workers, often a person’s boss will participate. I had an “aha” moment about twenty years ago when my immediate supervisor was promoted and the new guy who took his place called me into his office and told me straight up, “Your name will never come up in a meeting that I’m involved in.” It wasn’t long after that I was transferred.
“The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.” Victor Hugo
If it’s admiration, it’s the sickest form I’ve ever experienced. There really isn’t any room any more for excellence, for working for a common good, for teamwork, for building something that is greater as a whole than its parts, for cooperation and for community. Everyone has become his own island and if that island is incapable of critical thinking, introspection and foreseeing the consequences of their actions then the wickedness sets in and envy is a direct symptom of that wickedness. Plus a perpetual attitude of, “What’s in it for me?”
Thus the problems you see that surround us.
I don’t have much hope for the Boomer generation, they’ve bought into the lies and the envy business that they were programmed for. I don’t have much hope for the Facebook generation either, they seem not to realize that they’re completely and totally screwed, socially and financially.
I sometimes wonder if what we’re seeing happening around us is a complete de-evolution to what humans actually are when the pressures of survival are removed. When there are no more places to explore, no place where an individual can get away and enjoy some solitude. When anything they might aspire to is almost immediately denigrated. When it’s not what you can do, it’s how connections and ass-kissing are much more important. When there’s no dignity or honor left.
If that’s the case, the human animal is a sorry excuse to have inherited this planet.
And I don’t envy him one bit.