This article discusses an important aspect of envy as an unconscious information processing mechanism. Since the proposition of "unconscious" denotes outside awareness, deeply hidden from easy conscious examination, several conjectures--some highly abstract--are introduced and may be perplexing. Intelligent consideration of these ideas requires open-minded consideration.
I write this very brief hypothesis to put forth the idea that even if "envy' is intrinsic and reflexive if recognized, it can be harnessed and managed. No one is condemned merely for his or her innate givens---being five feet or seven feet, man or woman, born in China, America, Egypt, Syria, Israel, etc., talented in quantum physics, or aesthetically attractive, and so on. What matters is recognizing one's own given strengths and weaknesses, testing them fairly, and working hard to improve. Envy, jealousy, resentment, contempt, condescension, and working against rather than with---ourselves and those around is a no-win/no-win vicious circle of defeat.
A word of warning is needed: often, conjectures about unconscious processes are met with suspicion, if not disbelief. In fact, negative material like that related to "unconscious envy" is particularly "hard to digest" and provokes a reflexive rejection, devaluation, and "condescension"---attitudes of patronizing superiority and disdain. The aim of such binary splitting is to cut the worth and existence of what is negated. With these provisos, the following is offered.
In “Ayurveda: A Comprehensive Guide to Traditional Indian Medicine for the West,” I spoke about the ancient conception of the Five Elements that make up the Universe. These "Elements" are principles or inferred operating mechanisms underlying all created things, even the mind.
In my discussion of Akasha or Ether, the first of these five Elements---fundamental principles organizing the universe, I relate it to modern scientific conceptions such as the Higgs Field and bosons, sometimes called the "God particle" since it is so elemental.
In my book, “Biomental Child Development: Perspectives on Psychology and Parenting” (2013), I again discuss the Higgs field concept and draw a parallel to "mental space." Mental space correlates with the opening of mind and mental processes. This is a mentalization of real life experience. It is an ecologically valid idea emphasizing the meaningfulness of salient human experience as the “mental” aspect of the biomental person.
This conception argues that mental space "in the beginning" at birth is a directionless vacuum within which mental particles (“bosons”)--sensations, feelings, thoughts, imaginations, and fantasies--are given the opportunity to arise, take shape, and interact.
Envy, as described in the “Envy Theory” book, posits that fission is possible in this "birthing chamber" that becomes the mind----one thought multiplies into many. A rough approximation to scientific theories is the following: that a psychological quantum fluctuation in brain matter occurs at birth as the temporary appearance of energy particles out of space, as suggested by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Mental fission means that the nucleus of a mental atom splits into smaller and subtle parts. Hence, by extension to psychology, creation of mental life is evoked, and the mind becomes populated in all its brilliance and mystery!
The central point is this: the mind's default information processing is "binary splitting." This means to understand is to break into twos in order to distinguish and to contrast, and then to attempt a reconciliation. If envy dominates---which often occurs to varying degrees--- the split becomes felt as superior/good contrasted with inferior/bad. The mind experiences a sense of the inferior as "the stranger," and this alienation emerges as condescension that may become forms of hatred.
While envy at root is an unconscious information processing mechanism after it arises, it bubbles up to the subliminal and consciously aware layers of mind. Here, if unmodulated by reason and positive emotions (e.g., love, agreeableness, cooperation, and gratitude) over time, envy behaves in ways that spoil, devalue, and efface that what it perceives as superior or "good." Envy acts as anti-creation.
An everyday phenomenon illustrating the surfacing of envy is found in attitudes characterized by "condescension" and "patronizing." The person suffering with envy behaves with impertinence, lack of mutual respect, subtle contempt, and downright bad manners masked by needing to control.
Envy cannot tolerate any perception of "goodness."
Envy relentlessly attempts to cut goodness on every level.
Envy is mental “anti-matter.” It is auto-destructive.
This is why envy is so irrational and paradoxical. It arises out of nowhere and then tries to obliterate what good is perceived as present and available. Speculations about the evolutionary roots of fear, predation, and xenophobia directly correlate with these ideas. When these prehistoric survival mechanisms go awry, a "no win-no win" alienation scenario is set up and becomes maximally self-defeating.
This nonconscious modus operandi of self-sabotage may be the "Grand Paradox" of the human mind--still present to this day, and eerily influential.
Not only individual psychology but also social phenomena across the globe show such self-defeating uncooperativeness.
Today, we know about positive emotionality, and have it as an opportunity to learn from experience and to better our lives---and those we love.
Knowledge is power.
Self-knowledge is self-empowering!
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