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Envy, as seen from the Halcyon Pond

Guest post by Nadia
Reflections on Halcyon Pond & The World Beyond Halcyon Pond
Remarks on Envy™, The Food Drink of Glampions

Envy is the sin that “looks with grudging hatred upon other men’s gifts and good fortune, taking every opportunity to run them down or deprive them of their happiness. (Dorothy Sayers Purgatory, Notes on Canto XIII)

It is an impoverished soul who seeks to deprive others of their happiness. It’s bad enough that any soul would want to diminish others. The end result should bring them pleasure, but it rarely does.

The soul’s poverty can be so deep that it cannot be filled, at least not from outside sources. They take from others but with no positive returns, the result is a net negative. And that is what I appreciated about your post. First, envy is poisonous and second, it is fed by people’s “twisted opinion of themselves”.

I know sin isn’t everyone’s thing, but I went back to Dante’s work because envy is among the seven cardinal sins. I believe we have lost sight of just how poisonous it is. It took me a long time to understand that much of what others say in conversation is actually a reflection of what they’re saying to themselves. And so much of what a person sees of another is distorted by their image of themselves.

You wrote of the triad of Envy : Insecurity : Defensiveness. There was podcast on This American Life recently that brought this into astonishing focus for me. A female comic was being asked about the comments posted by trolls on her site. The producer found the person posting some of the worst comments. There is a brilliant section where the troll is being interviewed and asked about his motivations. And it all came back to his self-hatred. He was chastened when he realized what he was doing.

I could go on further about this, but it’s the second half of the post that I’m especially drawn to. I think you move off the subject of envy and on to something even more important, and that is shining our own light. I’m going to interpret very loosely here and say it’s about courage.

The courage to try not knowing if you’ll succeed. No, that’s not it. It’s the courage to try, without even having a measure of what success might be. To not even take an accounting of success or failure.

I’ve spent hours in the Picasso Museum (Picasso fascinates me), which has an exhaustive collection of his works. Much of what’s hanging on the walls is awful. But when you walk through and study all his work, you can see how each phase of his art built on the phases before and how he extended himself from an expert representational artist to the crazy, wonderful artist he became by exploring step-by-step without fear and certainly without giving a damn what anyone thought of what he produced.

May I suggest that you consider reposting the second half of this piece focusing on shining our own lights without being distracted by “two dimensional tokens of achievement.” I, like you, “want to thrive in a world of talented, bright shining stars.” For creativity to thrive there is no failure, just trials along the path of discovery. And each trial is a stepping-stone to the next thing to try, to the next idea.

By ΠιCΘLΣ

Life is short, so let’s be decent.

51 replies on “Envy, as seen from the Halcyon Pond”

How thought provoking – seeking the light by extinguishing that of others . . . . without realisation that a candle’s brightness is not diminished by lighting another.
I am guilty of being an impoverished soul – I try to fill that void from within, another hole in my character, never more apparent to mine self.

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Your words are so beautiful. I find it difficult to believe you are truly an impoverished soul. One of our greatest challenges is loving ourselves. My father told me early in my life that to “love each other as you love yourself” must start with loving yourself. It took me a very long time to understand it, but it is so true!

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Ah SB, you are a far more intellectual creature than I and reading your work constantly forces me to lift my game.
If I have learned nothing else from my mental-musings-incarnated-as-blog, it is that love and support comes from the most unexpected of places.
Thank you ladies x

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I’m so glad you have acknowledged us in this way. Your intellect has always shone through. I agree it does come from the sources you aren’t staring at, like the Björk song said.

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Aah, my original comment appears to have disappeared into the ether – apologies.
Thank you Nadia, for the post, for your kind words and for sharing your father’s wisdom. It may be an oft said phrase but only because it is so true.
Charity does begin at home x

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Thank you for participating in this wonderful conversation. It is so hard to face up to the truth of oneself and I think just the ability to do that can raise the quality of our lives a great deal.

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Very profound. I love the comment about ‘courage’ it’s a hard quality to find within ourselves, but once we’ve ignited the fire, there’s no limit to our accomplishments ❤

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Thank you SB! I take that as a compliment, from someone with such a giving soul as yourself. You’re never frightened to touch on the ‘hard stuff’. Keep up the amazing posts ❤

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Thank you very much for your encouragement. Yesterday, I had a good, hard think about why I started this blog in the first place and this guest post makes this clear. I feel comfortable being real with myself and that is why I believe I am happier than most people. Feedback like yours makes this worth it. Thank you.

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Just remember you always have someone in your corner…..me! And, if ever you’re mid weep, or want a grumble just send me a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Sometimes all we need to do is look in the mirror and see all our wonderful qualities, instead of the’supposed’ bad. Each morning, when brushing your teeth, tell your reflection how incredible you are, and how much you love yourself, and after a while your subconscious will believe it xox ❤

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I am feeling better thank you for the kind thoughts.
Don’t forget to use your protection bubble each day as well. Sometimes the unhappiness or negativity we feel, belongs to someone else. If we’re sensitive or empathic, or aura will collect other people’s ‘stuff’ to try to heal it for them, and then we’re left with the residual feelings 🙂

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Thanks for writing these thoughts. I think it’s interesting how envy, in our attempt to ruin someone else, actually ruins us. And by resisting the all-too-easy mode of obsession with what other people have we can actually improve our own work, and maybe give more value to others.

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You’re words are so true, Matt! I wish more people could see it this way. There’s such a strong win/dynamic at play, when in fact all of us win when anyone improves their own work, as you point out.

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I was caught by your phrase “I know sin isn’t everyone’s thing” and I couldn’t help but mourn for them. We are born into sin and they miss so much by not recognising this and not striving to rise above our human fate.

Now I MUST go read the post this was written for. Thanks so much for an excellent and thought-provoking read.

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Thanks for commenting. I’m sure Nadia will appreciate your comment when she drops by later. I understood the phrase, as you do, to mean that a lot of people are in denial about who they are and that life is meant to be a work in progress. There is much to be said for mindfulness and reflection. It’s got you a far way, as you’ve mentioned on the original article, and this took a lot of time, which you point out. The starting point is difficult, the journey is tough but once you’ve faced over those challenges, the outlook is even better. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here and there.

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Thank you, but there’s a dichotomy in your statement. If you were in fact an impoverished soul, being so self-aware that you recognize it, would argue that you are not. 🙂

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You’re an amazing pond seer. Thank you for letting me do this. I thought it couldn’t wait. I appreciate all the wonderful things you’ve said to me and reading your thoughts on envy was just a welcome growing experience. x

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Such a beautiful thing to say, Sabiscuit. Thank you.
I need to correct one thing I said, though. I’ve had an extensive conversation with a friend who challenged my statement about much of the work in the Picasso Museum being awful. First, it’s not much, just some. And awful is a misstatement. I do believe that some of the pieces were Picasso’s experiments. I often wondered if he had a hand in choosing what was hung. If he didn’t, it’s possible he would not have wanted them exhibited, which often happens to artists. If he did, it’s just another example of one thing I so admire in Picasso and that was his certainty that what he was creating needed to be seen. I believe art is a sacred act and I love being able to see all of Picasso’s work and the evolution of his art at the Picasso Museum.

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I trust the intent of your statement and understood what you meant. Being curated can lead to conflict but I think it’s a growing experience for any artist. I’m sure he didn’t have a hand in the exhibit. Often, curators are trying to make the same statement and when you arrive at the same conclusion, it’s a great fit.

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