Someone with whom I share an exclusive relationship decides to make it semi-exclusive. This hurts. Sometimes fleeting, sometimes deep. But is this hurt due to the shift of allegiance/love/companionship/friendship(?) causing a void in our lives? or is it due to the shift making a statement about our worth?

I have always claimed that having a richer life leads to lesser jealousy. This seems intuitively appealing to me, and further, if I ponder about it in the light of the above questions, it rings true as well. A richer life leads to voids being filled up again, quickly. A richer life gives us a good measure of self-worth that is hard to dent by one person. But is it this simple always? Can we define ‘richer’ lives for ourselves easily enough?

Consider this other deeper form of jealousy: someone specific doesn’t have to shift to someone else to evoke this feeling. I could realize myself that someone else is better than me at something. A classic example would be from Abhimaan, where a random photographer makes Subir cringe. Or take Salieri’s stinging jealousy-ridden admiration of Mozart from Amadeus. Though both movies don’t truly redeem the inflicted person, they do showcase the jealousy through some brilliant acting (and direction of course).

Does a richer life help here? What is a richer life in this context? Could Salieri define his life with anything other than his music? What if someone is better at something that I have devoted my entire life for? Does it matter? Here, I cannot even say that “it shouldn’t”. I don’t know. I have not defined my life around one concept for it to hit me that hard. What if a person I have devoted my life to goes away? Is the hurt this time again because of the void she creates? Or is it a statement about what I am in totality?

Does (philosophical) rationalization help? The gap between thought and emotion persists. But over the years, I have felt the gap reduce. The more it reduces the more I can rationalize, and the lesser I get hurt. But on the flip side, the more the gap reduces, fewer things make me happy (to a lesser extent that too). Ironically, the symmetry between happiness and sadness makes me happy. Strange neh?

8 thoughts on “Meta-happiness

  1. For starters — The blog could have been named so appropriately otherwise!

    Jealousy is defintely related to the notion of your evaluation of ‘worth’ in someone else’s pysche! Like I feel what he/she feels wht I’m worth ..

    The void that is created wouldn’t evoke jealousy I suppose, some other emotions probably like loneliness. Which could be filled by a richer/more busy life.

    I’m not so sure if Jealousy born out of not being the best can be treated similarly.

    Also, there is symmetry of expectations that comes into picture somewhere here ..

  2. Being hurt and being jealous are two different things, although they can intersect at times. Being jealous because you were hurt is an immediate, often a child-like, defensive response, and It is best to accept it and get over it as soon as possible.

    A richer life does mean lesser misery in many, many ways. But busier or fuller lives is not a panacea for hurts and heartbreaks. Some hurts never completely heal and for that specific reason keep us human enough to know what it is to be truly hurt, what is to be truly happy, and what it is to truly move on…

    Like you said, defining a “richer” life is a tough task, and fuller or busier does not always equate to “richer”.

    Jealousy because someone else is better than what I am very good at: Well, if this were true, Mozart would have been jealous of Beethoven, and Beethoven of Bach and Bach of Strauss, Milton of Shakespeare, ad infinitum. Instead, each created his own art, they individualized their separate talents. If one tries hard enough to internalize one’s work, or passion or art, one will make it so completely his / her own that question of jealousy or envy doesn’t arise. What feeds jealousy is comparison, negative comparison with the other, to be more precise. Just as in grammar, in life, it is easy to live in the certainty of absolutes, and easiest in the delusion of superlatives, than to live in the trickier, less easier worlds of comparatives!

    Doesn’t the beauty of philosophy lie in the fact that it allows us to think about what we feel?! That we do not end up being beasts totally ruled by passions, nor stop at being heartless contraptions. When we think about what we feel, we grow a little, expand a tad…and inhale the breath of a life a little more.

  3. “… A richer life leads to voids being filled up again… ” A void that’s easily “fillable” could only be a “narrow” void, created by someone who was easily replacable, someone who wasn’t important at all, in the first place. Wouldn’t this mean that a richer life is full of too many associations that are not important? Consider this even from the perspective of the “easily replacable” people that we were talking about, above. The fact that they moved or shifted, shows that you weren’t important to them either. Why would one want such a life?

    Couldn’tagree more with you about the relationship between the “gap” (betweenthought and emotion) and one’s sensitivity to happiness/sadness.


  4. I don’t find jealousy in itself to be a negative emotion. It’s almost a biological reaction. The after-thought really can help alleviate the jealous-feeling (reduce the ‘gap’). The after-thought that knows that reaction has no rational basis. It’s usually a combination of being secure in a relationship, being comfortable with one’s own self, trusting someone, and objectively seeing what you are seeing – and not of actually being more occupied with one’s life.

    The sad aspect of jealousy is that it usually comes with being possessive (most likely negative) and leads to miscommunication. I always wished that it was healthier to talk about it. Somehow that slight openness can result in amazing intimacy – or comfort – or, in the least, more transparency between two people – unless, of course, we are crossing our limits – a sure sign to stop right there and start thinking.

    As for the being hurt, I am not sure if jealousy really has much to do with it. I get hurt when I am betrayed – not when I am jealous. (That said, however, I have really been hurt in the past by some illogically jealous individuals). At times, my (or other person’s) immediate feeling tells me lot about where the relation might be going and if that’s the direction that makes sense at all. Talking about it makes us find solutions together. Often, it simply makes me laugh. Most likely, it gets replaced by admiration for the person I might have become jealous of, or, if I am the object, it flatters me. It’s quite funny and quite sweet overall.

    Really – do we really need to quash it? – when it could lead to ummmmm amazing reactions ? Do we really need to blame it for the negativity of an individual?

  5. > I have always claimed that having a richer life leads to lesser jealousy.

    I have trouble believing this hypothesis, completely. If the kind of richness with which you enrich your life brings you back to the same kinds of associations, then would it not be reinforcing?

    BTW, is this counter-“jealousy” strategy extendable to a general post-failure strategy? Despite my slightly critical comment above, I think have a fair idea what you mean.

  6. Quote – “Someone with whom I share an exclusive relationship decides to make it semi-exclusive”

    Rich and Richer are words, but sad and happy are moods.

    I know one thing for sure, BE prepared for the worst and nothing will hurt ya.

    and by worst I don’t mean going to an extreme to make yourself look bad( Like tayzwi would try – you are an xtremes dude). There are things we tend to cover up and these tend to open up when the relationship gets more relaxing.

    These inconsistencies attract the opposite sex to veer off in search of another “sophisticated” kind.

    And STOP ASSUMING ( i know the world, internet, newspapers thrives on assumption), but if you want clarity in a relationship, everything, absolutely everything from the word GO! needs to be clarified.

    On a last note, a quote from a movie last night “I will stay for as long as you need me but don’t want me, I will be gone when you want me but don’t need me” …. ponder on that teju!

    good day!

  7. Since I feel jobless, lemme take two contradicting views.

    You don’t get rich for nothing. Your richness is the reward the society has bestowed on you for having been excellent at something, for having made a difference to the lives and businesses of people with your brain, brawn, skill, looks or capital. You may still be jealous. But richness indicates (if not help) your ability to overcome the jealousy. I won’t go on to say that the rich man doesn’t have problems. Just that he is equipped to handle them. The poor man anyway has more of them and he is ill equipped.

    Is money the answer? I don’t think so. Some of the things in life don’t feel good if bought. Love for instance. And some of the things can’t be bought. The list is too big. But money can make sure that your jealousy, loneliness and agony don’t stem from things that could be bought. But where does pursuit of money take you? Not too far from where and how you started. Endless pursuit of money can make you feel miserable while you are actually not. And you need to pursue it if you want to put an end to the pursuit. It’s like having to smoke to avoid the craving.

    To quote Martin Sheen from Wall Street, “Money is something you need if only you don’t die tomorrow”. The catch is, you need to live your life as if today is your last day on planet earth, to make life fun. Naalina Chinntheyalli Balabaradu… Baalina Moolavelli Kelabaradu…Preeti Maadabaradu…Maadidare Jagake Hedara Baaradu….

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