Envy is a very human feeling. I say human because it’s one of those negatives that is common to us terrestrial beings and about which we struggle throughout our lives to be rid of in order for us to be defined or categorized as good human beings. Bad and good is the duality we are created with. In the case of envy too there is an opposite feeling we could nurture called kindness or good will. The path to goodness is necessary for each one of us because it adds to the merit that is needed for the ultimate salvation. If we find that hard to accept as a goal, then being good is a rational end in itself for creating social harmony and peace. I'm sure few would dispute this although a pervasive peace may not be lucrative for some who may stand to gain from the process of social disruption and violence. But a time has to come when even those opportunists will in their heart of hearts seek the compassion of a caring society.
In understanding the psychology of envy, we may say that it stems from selfish desire, greed and repressed regret about the fortunes of another person. But there is also an element of perceived competitiveness too. We feel envy toward those who we feel are on par with us on the social ladder. We the ordinary don’t feel envy towards the Buffets, the Ambanis or the Tatas – well, they are way above our league! But we do towards our neighbor. Yes, our neighbors or our colleagues are good examples, (yet, all good advice exhorts us to love our neighbor). Given that social stratification has landed us into social blocks of economic standings, we tend reside in neighborhoods or work in jobs that agree with our perceived socio-economic status. And so when someone in our own category buys a new car or motor-cycle, lands a good job, wins the popular boy or girl, or even gets a new electronic gadget, that envy begins to well. Envy, if allowed to take root and grow, can touch the ignition point of violence and the breakdown of society. Hope for a harmonious society is built on curbing envy and not allowing such a tsunami of negative emotions to finally wash away good hopes for the future. We can learn to appreciate others’ good fortunes. And thus, the good that we do will come back to us as grace, and in the most unimaginable ways; we have been promised that.
Such positive emotions can then enliven our Maldivian society. Can
such society? We all hope for it and we
pray that Allah gives us such leaders, and role models who would bring this