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injurious, degrading, anti-social feeling may be entirely or almost
entirely eradicated from the human breast.
The primitive desire--and this primitive desire of the race is still
fully exhibited by children--is to take possession of everything nice
or useful that somebody else has and which we have not. But our
education and our cultural standards, including fear of punishment,
have so repressed this desire, have put it so deeply in the
background, that normal human beings hardly feel it at all.
It is only improperly brought up people, mental defectives and those
unable to adjust themselves to their environment who still have this
primitive feeling of taking or stealing. And so with many other
feelings and emotions; and so with jealousy.
If we, at the very first notice of a manifestation of jealousy by a
child, should frown upon it, if we should explain to the child or
adolescent that jealousy is a mean, degrading feeling, that it is a
feeling to be ashamed of, a feeling to hide and not to show off or
even be proud of--as some are now--then jealousy would manifest itself
in a much smaller number of individuals, and those unfortunate enough
to be attacked by it would try to repress it, to hide it, to overcome
it, so that it would eventually become paler and less acute and its
consequences would be less significant, less disastrous for both the
victim and for the persons concerned. Feelings, let us bear in mind,
are not spontaneous things uninfluenced by any environmental factors.
Feelings are like plants; under one environment you may foster their
growth and make them develop luxuriantly; under another environment
you may dwarf their growth and strangle them.
In order to enable us to inhibit the growth of the demon of jealousy,
we must learn what its essence is and what factors are favorable to
=Causes of Jealousy=
The essential factor in jealousy is _fear_. Fear of losing the beloved
object, fear of losing the person who provides you with sexual
satisfaction, or the mere economic fear of losing a material provider.
The latter kind of fear is, of course, more often manifested--even
though unconsciously--in women. Women who have no love for their
husbands are nevertheless often fiercely jealous, because consciously
or unconsciously they are afraid that their husbands may desert them
for other women, and that they may thus find themselves in a
precarious economic condition.
Another factor in jealousy is wounded _vanity_. We do not like to feel
that somebody is considered superior to us. This feeling of wounded
vanity is present in other varieties of envy or rivalry. A person who
loses in a race or gets a lower mark in his examination than his rival
may be filled with a feeling of envy and hatred almost equal in
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