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Of Envy by Francis Bacon and Modern Envy Traps

Ambition is the most unique human emotion. It has negative and positive connotations. However, when driven positively, it can achieve success.
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Ahmed Naveed

The essay is helpful psychologically. It is an application essay that possesses a wealth of information regarding the reasons for jealousy and how one can protect oneself from other people’s envy. Bacon examined in detail the universal human emotions. Bacon sheds light on human emotions such as envy and jealousy. He proclaims that a guy in love or who is jealous of another can have substantial influence. The term ‘envy’ is employed in this article as jealousy. If the term ‘envy’ refers to the spirit of imitation,’ it is not a negative emotion; nonetheless, jealousy is a negative emotion that has harmful implications on both individuals who feel it and those who are its objects. While the envious man may wish to equal the accomplishments of the man he envies, the jealous man wishes to harm him. The theme of the essay is relevant to modern times.

Bacon commences the essay by stating one of his beliefs. He expresses that feelings of love and envy manifest in the eyes of the person experiencing them and profoundly affect the person sharing them, especially if the objects of these feelings are present in front of the person experiencing them. However, this notion must be clarified and may be unfamiliar to most people. Bacon then describes the types of people who are jealous of others, those who become the objects of jealousy, and the distinction between public and private jealousy. Envy is portrayed as an unworthy passion. No one feels envy when a guy of extraordinary talent or virtue achieves promotion and development in life.

Envy or jealousy is a fundamental human flaw that everyone suffers. Specific individuals become infatuated with this sensation. Perhaps the essential part of this emotion is revealed after Bacon’s article. He informs us that envy is the most persistent of all feelings, causing a man to pine or languish. Envy is a horrible emotion for him.

Text of the Essay. THERE be none of the affections, which have been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love and envy. They both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions; and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the present of the objects; which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see likewise, the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye; and the astrologers, call the evil influences of the stars, evil aspects; so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation or irradiation of the eye. Nay, some have been so curious, as to note, that the times when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph; for that sets an edge upon envy: and besides, at such times the spirits of the person envied, do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.

But leaving these curiosities (though not unworthy to be thought on, in fit place), we will handle, what persons are apt to envy others; what persons are most subject to be envied themselves; and what is the difference between public and private envy.

A man that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others. For men’s minds, will either feed upon their own good, or upon others’ evil; and who wanteth the one, will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope, to attain to another’s virtue, will seek to come at even hand, by depressing another’s fortune.

A man that is busy, and inquisitive, is commonly envious. For to know much of other men’s matters, cannot be because all that ado may concern his own estate; therefore it must needs be, that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure, in looking upon the fortunes of others. Neither can he, that mindeth but his own business, find much matter for envy. For envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home: Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus.

Men of noble birth, are noted to be envious towards new men, when they rise. For the distance is altered, and it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on, they think themselves, go back.

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