Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Envy, Gratitude, Happiness, and Hell

Apologies in advance: this post veered way off course, but it couldn't be helped. We'll try to right the bus tomorrow.

We left off with the idea that happiness must have something to do with getting and having what we want; or certainly it can't involve getting what we don't want.

This seems simple enough, but simple isn't necessarily easy. For as Pieper says, beneath this are two implicit questions, first, "What does man want?," and second, "What is meant by 'have?'"

Vis-a-vis the latter, I'm reminded of that fact that I live in an area where I am literally surrounded by open space for miles around. Few people take advantage of this space, certainly considering its expanse. Therefore, for all practical purposes it might as well be mine. I can "have" it to myself any time I want. It is as if I can have and enjoy the privileges of ownership without the burden of property taxes. So again: what is meant by "have"?

At the other extreme, what does it mean to "have" your own property in a country with weak to non-existent property rights? What does it mean to have a house in Iran or North Korea -- or even Hong Kong? I suppose the protests in Hong Kong have much to do with the meaning of "have," because if mainland China prevails, its residents will be had. Tyrants will always have what they have, and will have what you have as well.

Haves and have-nots. What makes leftists doubly nauseating is that they conceal their envious wantery under a fig-leaf of disingenuous have-nottery. Which is why:

When the exploiters disappear, the exploited split into exploiters and exploited. Yes, but only every time. What did Asians and Jews ever do to the left, aside from supporting it? And yet, they are among the primary victims of the left's institutional racism.

The revolutionary is ultimately an individual who does not dare to rob by himself. He doesn't even dare call it robbery, or even taxes -- rather, contributions. Moreover, Elizabeth Warren is only going to ask for them. But oddly enough, we won't be able to explain to the IRS that we politely decline the request.

The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another’s goods but the one who defends his own. The left is the institutionalization of envy. Moreover, envy for the left has gone from one of God's own Top Ten Obligations or Celestial No-No's to an actual virtue! Indeed, if you aren't saturated with envy, you can scarcely be called Woke.

The only man who should speak of wealth or power is one who did not extend his hand when they were within his reach. Warren? Ha! Imagine a person who would sink so low as to claim Indian Privilege for personal enrichment? Sanders? Ho! By selling envy to the envious, he has gone from living in a treehouse to living in three houses. Biden? Don't call him envious and grasping -- if you do, you're liable to be impeached.

Yes indeed, Revolutions do not solve any problem other than the economic problem of their leaders. Say what you want about AOC or Mayor Pete, but leftism has solved their own economic problems. Likewise Al Sharpton or the Obamas -- people with no skill but the ability to sell you a lot of the last thing you need.

No social class has exploited the others more brazenly than the one that today calls itself “the State.” The Trump presidency has been an ongoing revelation of just how brazenly we have been and are being exploited by the deep state.

The state was bad enough, but come to find out it is only the surface structure of a much deeper and more pernicious cancer which has metastasized into everything. It is why journalism and academia, for example, are so thoroughly corrupted. Note that a college education used to be about curing ignorance. Now it's about contracting a virus of the soul and intellect and spreading it to others.

What's up, Bob? This post is supposed to be about happiness, but it's veering way into envy! Fair point, except it turns out that happiness and envy are literally at psychic -- and spiritual -- antipodes. To revisit my psychoanalytic training -- I'll try not to bore you with details -- one of my seminal influences published a book called Envy and Gratitude, which you might say form the Hinge of Happiness.

Let's see how briefly I can conceptualize the essence of the crux of the gist. In psychoanalysis, envy is distinguished from jealousy, in that the latter is the painful desire for what one lacks, while envy essentially eliminates the pain of jealousy by attacking and spoiling the good object. This mechanism is vividly seen in many policies of the left, too many to chronicle here.

For example, as Heather MacDonald has so exhaustively documented, the entire infrastructure of the diversity scam revolves around the denial of black underachievement; or, more specifically, a transformation of this reality into something it is not. Therefore, as in so many areas, leftism is the disease it pretends to cure, the problem it pretends to solve, and the ignorance it pretends to relieve.

Meanwhile, the underachievement worsens, while white SJWs feel better about themselves, so it's a whine-win situation.

Back to the psychoanalytic definition of envy: at bottom -- i.e., unconsciously -- it is "a destructive attack on the sources of life, on the good object, not on the bad object." If this sounds crazy, it's because it is. Why, for example, does the left ceaselessly attack the most decent nation in history, while defending one of the worst, Iran? Why does it attack Western Civilization? Christianity? White men? Israel? At least in part to make the pain go away.

Take the so-called Palestinians. I have a two word solution to all their problems: Imitate. Israel. Indeed, I can also reduce the source of all their problems to two words: Destroy. Israel. If they could only cease the latter and engage in the former, affluence and happiness would follow. But then, this would also destroy a lucrative regime that enriches a whole class of leaders that mirrors our own class of Sharptons, Obamas, and other grievance mongers.

Again, gratitude isn't only at the other psychic extreme, but isn't possible so long as one is filled with envy. It is "akin to object-love" and is "counterposed to envy, a response which diminishes or kills gratitude to the object."

To open this discussion to the widest possible angle, if God is love, then envy is very nearly the "anti-God," since it isn't just the absence of the good, but an attack on it. Which is frankly diabolical, no? Gosh. Might this be why the most hellish -- and unhappy -- places on earth were built with bricks of envy? Communism. National socialism. Democrat run cities. Etc.

Funny/sad story: my wife was recently accused of being a white supremacist because of something the accuser saw in my office. Am I a white supremacist? No, worse: I am grateful!


Gagdad Bob said...

Fairness! as a cover for envy.

Anonymous said...

Good sir, what was seen in your office? Curious.

julie said...

My kids have a favorite series of books, the most recent featuring a villain called The Fair Fairy.

The thought of you and Mrs. G. as white supremacists is utterly laughable, but then that's the clown world we live in.

re. Prager U, the New York Slimes had a pearl-clutching piece recently complaining that Prager U is too easily accessible to young people, and might change their minds. Sounds fair to me...

Gagdad Bob said...

What did the person see? She never made it clear, but it might have been a hand-made poster I have, with various gag memes such as "White privilege = being held responsible for the acts of your ancestors by folks who accept no responsibility for the acts of their children," or "Race Card: a tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data."

I see another one that actually goes to today's post: "The charge of racism puzzles whites who feel not hostility but only baffled good will." The superiority of western civilization provokes humiliation which is excites envy, such that destroying it "is the inmost desire of the league of designated victims we call 'minorities.'" Only leftist minority members, of course, so it has nothing to do with race per se.

julie said...

Re. envy, Project Veritas' latest features a Bernie Bro Antifa member longing to bring back the gulags, which he claims were actually decent places where people received a "living wage" and conjugal visits, and it was just meant for re-education. In other words, they want to take everything away from us, but it's just for our own good, and we should learn to be happy with the privileges they'll give us. They especially want to break billionaires, apparently, but I guess that means Bernie can keep his money and mansions since he's only a multi-millionaire.

Anonymous said...

So Bob, those gag meme examples depict very stark Political Correctness violations. You are playing with fire.

I'm an old guy, and I remember when Sen. Joe McCarthy and his side-kick served me a subpeona to testify for their special committee in '53. I was puzzled; I was an Army Intelligence officer at Ft. Moulton. I assumed the questions would be about someone else. All expenses paid to New York, what the heck.

But no. The questions were about me. A copy of Dostoyevsky or Solzynitsen was seen in my home by someone who attended a dinner there. Explain that, sir. What else do you have, Marx? The Army dentist I went to was a member of the communist party. Did I know that? Why did I pick that dentist? What did we talk about? Russian authors, eh? Like that stuff?

No charges were filed, but I was drummed out of intelligence and was put in charge of the trash disposal service. After a while I left the Army, and promptly became a freelance agent and was picked up by the left for darn good money. McCarthy made me the man I became.

The moral of the story: Even ridiculous suspicions around a hot-button issue du jour can be very damaging. My advice: take down the memes and enjoy them in private.

-Old Man Stickity


Cousin Dupree said...

I've been telling Bob for years that he needs a mancave inside his mancave for the really shocking stuff. Plus, then I can have my own room.

julie said...

Dupree, you need an "It's OK to be a raccoon" sign.