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Summary of Question:Envy
Category:General Sikhism
Date Posted:Friday, 7/09/2010 2:34 PM MDT



I was just wondering why "Envy" isn't one of the Five Evils, or would it come under Greed. I thought that at first and then I thought Greed is more materialistic whereas Envy can be either. Just popped up in my head i don't know why. Thank You.



Sat Nam,
What comes into my mind is that envy is not based on real desires. It is more of an insecurity. A false perception that someone else has something better than you do.
We fail to see the bigger picture of other people's lives so we envy them for the things they have. We do not see what things they are lacking. Their life can be completely miserable and they may need lots of help but our false perception blocks the realistic view and hinders our compassion for them.

Here is what Wikipedia says about that. I think it has an interesting point of view:
Envy (also called invidiousness) is best defined as an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."[1]

Envy can also derive from a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar to the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been he or she who had the desired object.[2][3]

Bertrand Russell said envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.[4] It is a universal and most unfortunate aspect of human nature because not only is the envious person rendered unhappy by his envy, but also wishes to inflict misfortune on others. Although envy is generally seen as something negative, Russell also believed that envy was a driving force behind the movement towards democracy and must be endured in order to achieve a more just social system.[5]


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