George Friedrich Handel successfully exposed Jealousy and Envy, which are the most
powerful of negative emotions. Handel also depicts Narcissism in a new light:
1) Handel – Hercules ‘Jealousy! Infernal pest’
“Jealousy! Infernal pest,
Tyrant of the human breast!
How from slightest causes bred
Dost thou lift thy hated head!
Trifles, light as floating air,
Strongest proofs to thee appear!”
2) Handel: Envy! Eldest born of hell!! (Saul)
“Envy! Eldest born of hell!
Cease in human breast to dwell.
Ever at all good repining,
Still the happy undermining!
God and Man by thee infested,
Thou by God and Man detested!
Most thyself thou dost torment,
At once the crime and punishment.”
(Although popular culture often uses jealousy and envy as synonyms, modern philosophers and psychologists have argued for conceptual distinctions between jealousy and envy. For example, philosopher John Rawls distinguishes between jealousy and envy on the ground that jealousy involves the wish to keep what one has, and envy the wish to get what one does not have.)
3) Handel “Semele” : “Myself I Shall Adore” :
When I read the titles and first lines of Handel’s
Jealousy:Eternal Pest and Envy:Eldest born of Hell,
I was mildly surprised because I am more used to kind of lumping them together somehow in my Western mind though I do rather understand the distinction. I was surprised to see how close this expression is to the distinction between envy and jealousy that is made in Islam.
Neither is praiseworthy, i.e. both attitudes are considered activities of the lower self/nafs and blemishes on the heart, which if indulged in amount to sin.
Simple Sufi working description:
Jealousy….seeing something another has (material or spiritual) and wanting the same for oneself.
(not as deadly to the soul as envy but can lurk in expressions of admiration and praise)
Envy….seeing something another has (material or spiritual) and wanting it for oneself but also resenting that the other has this gift i.e. there is a component of wishing it would be taken from them whether or not it came to be the lot of the envier. In other word the envier ‘hates’ that another has what h/she wants for themselves.
Yes…mixed emotions. They may mean something different for each of us.
Jealousy I think is a mix of fear and resentment, feeling inferior and loss. Envy may lean more towards the direction of anger and resentment. Both are coupled with a low self-esteem and disappointed expectations.
I wrote something about it a while ago
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