On Envy

"If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon. But Napoleon envied Caeser, Caeser envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed. You cannot, therefore, get away from envy by means of success alone, for there will always be in history or legend some person even more successful than you are. You can get away from envy by enjoying the pleasures that come your way, by doing the work that you have to do, and by avoiding comparisons with those whom you imagine, perhaps quite falsely, to be more fortunate than yourself."

Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

Comments

Mayhem said…
Wonderful!

Just what I have been mulling over. Thankyou for clearing it out! :)
Sami Mughal said…
and homer simpson envied james watt...

and james watt envied da vinci...

and yet most of things we think da vinci invented were mere concepts! inpractical in his day and age to implement!
Ayesha said…
nah... if you know you're standing somewhere between Alexander and Hercules, you'd be more satisfied than the person who's living his life below Napolean... innit?

"by avoiding comparisons with those whom you imagine, perhaps quite falsely, to be more fortunate than yourself"... but that doesnt mean that MORE fortunate people DONT exist... they exist ALL THE TIME.. :)
Salman Latif said…
Very true!! The key lies to avoiding comparisons. That's all.
Kunwal said…
yep, envy can be a positive force with positive effects. there s nothing wrong in comparing yourself with others. it keeps yourself in check as well.
Qasim Aziz said…
I have read this book twice after being recommended by you.Not the profoundest of philosophical works by Russell,as he himself agrees,but surely a very good read.

But i'm afraid ,Schopenheur and Nietzsche have deep roots within my miserable soul. :)

But still i enjoyed reading the book ,the interesting thing is Russell regards Democracy a product of envy.Somewhat Nietzschen analysis there by Russell.