TED Talk – Envy, Jealousy and…?

So in my random searches on TED and YouTube, i came across this great TED talk. Funny, deserving of multiple views..

In this talk, Editor for the New York Times book review compares how envy is portrayed in fiction. While we do not seem to fully understand why we feel jealous- in fiction, we see different variations of it. We also see the same in social media- why people share etc.

This talk may make you think a lot about why you covet and why you dislike somebody for what they have. But here is the catch- you only feel envious about someone you can relate it to…  people of the same social economic background. Ie… you feel jealous of your work mates, your neighbors, your (yes!) friends. And this is because you feel entitled to the same prize as your friend because you came so close!! You do not feel jealous that someone won a Noble Prize, but if your neighbor wins an award for the best lawn, you will go on ebay and look for a lawnmower.
So how to be jealous and not be a dick?

Alain de Botton to the rescue. In this talk, Alain describes how to be kinder of your own and other people’s success. He also gives you important tips like 1) dont dislike someone who has a ferrari and 2) never go to your school reunion.

There… so now you have two nice talks to see you through the weekend and hopefully they will get you thinking.

Naturally I have been thinking long and hard about what is it that exists past this realization that we are unfortunately wired to be envious. You could take the routes Parul suggests- ie, become Tom Ripley, murder people and take over their lives OR- the more reasonable suggestion- to read literature where envy plays a central role, to understand it and rejoice that we are in good company.

Or- take the nobler route that Alain de Botton has laid out- which is to not be a snob.

I personally am a fan of the Ripley method, but for now… while my plans are still in their infancy… my enemies are safe.


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