It’s good advice to talk about what you know. It can save you from embarassment or even danger. It also shows the real size of your pride 🙂
On this occasion though, there is a subject that I know nothing about whatsoever. To be more precise, I know about but not of. I know it from others and via books. I have thought about it, trying to define the limits by going as close as I can through other subjects (like finding the shape of a little one through the blanket that hides it). I have compared it with other subjects. I have experimented with it (especially in situations where I am reliably informed it happens). I have a pretty good handle of it… except I cannot know it. Not really.
For me, the subject is jealousy.
I know envy. In fact, it took me years to get to a point where I can actually differentiate between the two. They tend to flow into one another, mingle, then separate on a discordant note that jars the mind. I can think of jealousy, you see, because I know envy. I can think about the limits of jealousy by using envy as a guide and greed or scarcity as cats’ eyes on the road.
The simplest way I know to tell them apart is possession. Do you have it? Then it’s jealousy. Do you not have it? Then it’s envy. But is it difficult even then.
For example, as a child, I told my mother that the stork should come and take my little sister away again. Was it envy or jealousy? I tend to think it’s envy, for two reasons. One, I was the oldest, I was used to my mother’s full attention, now I didn’t have it. So it’s envy. Of course, you could also say that I had my mother’s full attention and I was in danger of losing said attention to my little sister. In which case it’s jealousy. Right, so let’s find another example.
Er… I can’t. I can find many more examples for envy. I tend not to envy possessions (as in money, objects, clothes etc.) and find myself turning a pale shade of lime when it comes to experiences, potentials, skills. The ability to organize something in Excel, the freedom to travel, the space you have on the farm where I could plant a forest, yes, I envy all that.
I have loved. I have watched people I love start relationships with other people, sometimes completely unsuitable. I have watched them have happy relationships, too. I have loved and been loved in return. But I have never been jealous of any of them. It always made more sense to me to help a relationship grow (say, between the boy I loved and the girl he loved – not me).
Going deeper, maybe it wasn’t real love. Hm… years have passed, looking back, it still shines as brightly. In some cases, it never actually faded at all. Deeper still, maybe my infamous defence walls have blocked the actual “bad” feelings of jealousy. What brings down defence walls? Alcohol? Been there, done that, no result. Danger? Ditto. Either I have impregnable defence walls (which they’re not, I can occasionally take them down myself so I can open up completely, and yes, sometimes I do get hurt) or I actually can’t feel jealousy.
So argument number two, with one possible count of jealousy and the rest of envy… what’s the likelyhood that the first one wasn’t envy after all?
Now, about that envy… should I try to cure myself or just use it to motivate myself?