Envy is the resentment one feels when someone else has something or is able to experience something that one is unable to have or to experience himself.  Envy is the foundation of many quarrels and fights between people.  The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and all that.  But there are certain conditions that seem to mitigate against the appearance of a lot of envy.  For instance, when people are well grounded in a community.  When people have a strong collective identity.

On the other hand, when people are not well-grounded in a community and are strongly individualistic, people tend to start comparing their own life situations to those of the people around them.  And of course, this leads to focusing on what other people have and what they themselves are lacking.  Modern technology, to the extent that it makes life experience more frictionless and mediated, has a negative effect on both individuals and community.  It causes people to sink into an experiential vacuum and therefore, to look for sources of abrasive friction to pull them out of the vacuum.  One very effective source is envy.  The resentment one can feel focusing on those things that others have and that one does not, provide a very effective means of lifting oneself out of a state of numbness.  It is like the sheer appearance of something that is very desirable to a person can act as a provocation, a creation of an adversarial situation that, although it never explodes forward to develop an abrasive friction in the external world, does promulgate the expression of an abrasive friction inside the envious person such that it can temporarily at least lift the person out of his numbness.

And then there is the envy of whole countries.  After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia lost much of its position of power in relation to the United States.  Certainly, this is a major reason that Russia decided to try and take over Ukraine.  To rebuild a Russian empire that would be able to compete effectively with the United States and, for that matter, with an emboldened China.  Envy is one of the major emotions that is sustaining Russia in its campaign against Ukraine.  It is thought by many that, should Russia succeed in its campaign to take over Ukraine, it will move on to take over Moldova, Poland, Lithuania, and other countries on its western flank. In other words, rather than assuaging its feelings of envy towards the United States and China, it will just stimulate them further.

In the United States, we have a complicated relationship towards envy.  On the one hand, America is a very individualistic country, where people are expected to take care of themselves and pull themselves up by their boot straps when things are down.  On the other hand, America is also a very egalitarian country, where people who pull too far ahead of their neighbors can be subject to recriminations generated by envy.  The way that this frequently gets sorted out is that people can be successful as long as it is still comprehensible.  Understanding gives the people around the very productive people a sense of control. Making a lot of money in business is comprehensible.  Coming up with new ideas for art, music, literature, science and philosophy is not always comprehensible.  People don’t understand how ideas can be created.  And that gives the creators a potential for control over their public.  Americans love to find a way to put such people in their place.  They are so envious of people with the mysterious capacity to create.  And it shows in how the agents of these creative people as well as the companies that market their productions can exploit them.  Often, it is the most gifted people who get the most exploited.  And in the process of being so exploited, they become extremely leveled.  Put in their place.

This is very different from the way these gifted people are perceived in Europe and Latin America.  In these places, the general public feels no need to understand or control the creative processes of gifted people.  There, gifted people are not seen in competition with people in the general public, but rather in collaboration.  Gifted people bring honor to the general public in these countries rather than resentment.  Which means that a better situation is generated all the way around for the gifted people and for both the actual general public as well as the potential general public.  The gifted people are able to make good unfettered healthy imprints on their fields of experience and the public is able to be properly receptive to them.  And everybody is able to feel vibrantly alive as a result.  And fight off on a more sustained level the numbness that is constantly threatening to overpower them.


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Durante mi estadía en la Ciudad de México en los años setenta, me di cuenta que esta enorme ciudad contenía en sus colonias distintos "medio ambientes vivenciales", que iban desde muy antiguas a muy recientes; desde muy primitivas a muy modernas.

Observé que había diferencias sutiles en la conducta de la gente y en sus interacciones en las diferentes colonias. Esta observación fue fundamental en la fundación de mis teorías con respecto a los efectos de la tecnología moderna sobre los medio ambientes vivenciales y sobre la conducta humana.

En México, publiqué mi libro "Paisaje Sin Terreno" (Editorial Pax-México), y luego di conferencias para la U.N.A.M. y la Universidad Anahuac. También, presenté un ensayo para un Congreso de Psicología.

Ahora que mis hijas son adultas, tengo el tiempo de explorar mis ideas de vuelta. Le agradezco mucho a ForoJudio.com y en especial al Sr. Daniel Ajzen por la oportunidad de presentar mis ideas.