Issue nº 142

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Sixth deadly sin: Envy

Sixth deadly sin: Envy

According to the dictionary: s.f., from the Latin Invidia. Mixture of pain and anger; feeling of displeasure about the prosperity and happiness of someone else; desire to have what others have.

For the Catholic Church: Against the Tenth Commandment (You shall not covet thy neighbor’s house). It appears for the first time in Genesis, in the story of Cain and his brother Abel.

In a Jewish parable: A disciple asks the rabbis about the passage in Genesis: “The Lord was pleased about Abel and his offer, whereas he was not pleased about Cain and his offer. Cain was exceedingly angry and his face fell. Then the Lord said to him: Why are you angry and why did your face fall?”

The rabbis answered:

“God should have asked Cain: Why are you angry? Was it because I did not accept your offering, or because I accepted the offering of your brother?"

For journalist Zuenir Ventura: The verbs associated to it (envy) are corrosion and destruction. At the same time, it is necessary to see envy as a human reaction. All the theories about envy reckon that the best way to fight against it is to assume that everyone feels it, in different degrees.

For writer Giovanni Papini: The best revenge against those that want me to lower myself consists of attempting to fly to a higher peak. Perhaps I would not go up so much without the impulse of someone who wants me on the ground. The truly wise individual goes further: he makes use of his own defamation to retouch his portrait better and eliminate the shadows that the light throws on him. The envious person becomes, without wanting to, the collaborator of his perfection.

Envy and ethics: For the scientist and researcher Dr. William M. Shelton, envy is a reaction provoked by losers, who seek to evade reality by hiding behind a crusade seeking to reinstate “moral values”, “noble ideas”, and “social justice”. The situation becomes dangerous when the school system begins to develop in the student the conditioning for despising all those who manage to be successful, always attributing any success to corruption, manipulation and moral degradation. As the pursuit of success is something inherent to the human condition, the students end up in a schizophrenic process of hating exactly that which would lead them to happiness, thereby increasing the anxiety crises, and reducing the capacity to innovate and improve society.

Satan and the demons: The demons came to complain to the Prince of Darkness. For two years they had tempted a certain monk who lives in the desert. “We have offered him money, women, all we have in our repertoire, and nothing worked.”

- You don’t know how to do it properly – replied Satan. – Come and see how you should act in a case of this sort.

They all flew to the cavern where the holy monk lived. There, Satan whispered in his ear:

- Your friend Maccarius has just been promoted to Bishop of Alexandria.

Immediately the man blasphemed against the heavens, and lost his soul.

Comment from the Tao Te King: The perfect wise men of Ancient times were mysterious, supernatural, penetrating, and too profound to be understood by men.

They were alert like the man who crosses the stormy river thawing after the winter. Prudent like he who is the guest of someone very ceremonious. Evanescent like ice when it melts. Unpretentious like uncut wood as yet unshaped by human hands.

Who can, through serenity, purify little by little, what is impure? Who can become calm and stay like that for ever? He who follows the Perfect Path does not want to be full of anything.

(next: Sloth, last deadly sin)

"The Witch of Portobello" will be released in the UK on 4/23/07, in India on 4/18/07 and in the United States in May of 2007. If you wish to read the first chapters of the book, click here.

Issue nº 142