Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Minute of envy

"Pride, Envy, and Avarice are the three sparks that have set these hearts on fire."
-- Dante, Inferno, canto VI, line 74
(with a hat tip to the 1968 edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, ed. Emily Morison Beck)

We think of envy as an ugly emotion, but is it always? Envy often comes jumbled up with other emotions that we see as more benign (I don't mean pride and avarice, obviously). Because there are so many different kinds of people in the world, there are a multitude of reasons for envy, both good and bad. I'm not sure I'd want to be someone who didn't feel envy at least occasionally; it shows you're alive. (I think I'll probably take a pass, however, on visiting whichever circle of hell Dante's describing.)

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