Envy is a tricky one.

Some internet theories say all hatred flows from envy. That’s not true. People tend to hate those they envy, but people also tend to hate the weak. Disgust may just as well be a source of hatred. You could theorize that the left hates from envy, the right hates from disgust.

Envy is a very basic emotion. Strangely, it is omitted from the six basic emotion list psychologists like so much. Just like hatred I might add. But I’m pretty sure that envy is universal, recognized across cultures.

On the one hand you could say that envy is not such a major emotion; people feel pangs of envy all the time. For instance, I envy Aidan Maclear for being younger than I am and already getting more comments than I do. But you get over that stuff. You realize it’s no big deal, you’re enjoying your own life.

Then again, envy was the reason Cain killed his brother Abel. Which is basically the second story in the bible, so you might say envy is one of the biggest sins around, second only to Adam’s sin of following a woman’s lead.

After all, you can’t count on people getting over their envy. It’s out of your control. Some people get over their envy and find joy in life, others wallow in their envy for the rest of their life.

I guess the good news is that envy in itself is an admission of weakness, so if you find yourself envied by others you are de facto in a strong position. Of course, that didn’t save Abel.

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