Monday, 2 December 2013
The spirit of envy...
There are a lot of angles that I could explore on this concept, for example I totally disagree with his final phrase, but I'll stick to one angle for this post.
Boris's concept of the "spirit of envy and keeping up the Jonses" really struck me - first of all as something that I expect some churches would pray for as a demon to be cast out of people! But also, it struck me as the ultimate recipe for misery.
Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism all speak against envy. Buddha said "Do not overate what you have received or envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind".
In the Bible it says "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30. The Bible talks throughout the Old and New Testaments about envy being destructive.
Boris Johnson claims to be heir apparent of Margaret Thatcher but even she once said "The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build".
I firmly believe in (and attempt to practise) the art of counting my blessings, feeling gratitude for what I have and who I am. I try very hard to remember people who are less fortunate that me and compare myself to them - not in a gloating way but just to realise how very lucky I am. I also try to help out people who are less fortunate in whatever small ways I can. I'm no saint of course, I could do a lot more.
Another point that I try to remember is that looking at others, we only see the outside. Comparing our insides to other people's outsides is a fools' game as you never know what's really going on with them. People can look all glossy and fantastic then you find out that they're in an abusive marriage or they actually feel like an impostor in their job or all their wealth is built on an unstable stack of debt and exploitation.
Henry Coffin said, "Envy is the art of counting another fellow's blessings instead of your own". It's around Thanksgiving or Harvest festival in many parts of the world now. I think as we come up to the great consumer melt-down that is Christmas, it's a great time to count our blessings and rest from the endless stress of trying to keep up with these mythical Joneses.