11 votes

For Humans to Progress We MUST Learn to Channel Envy Productivley

I believe more strongly everyday that desire accounts for 99% of 'bad' human action. So, this is an extremely important topic to address. Please try to keep this in mind in the future.

When confronted by sufficient desire to provoke action there are three general options for the actor to choose from:

1. Take what causes the desire by use or threat of force against the possessor.

2. Trade with the possessor for what is desired.

3. Learn how to acquire something equivalent to what is desired through one's own productive capacities.

These can be applied to any situation where desire is present. For instance, suppose one man desires another man's attractive wife. Option 1 may lead to rape at gunpoint. Option 2 could entail paying the couple a sum of money in exchange for a favor. Option 3 may cause the envious man to seek a woman with similar qualities.

I urge you to brainstorm whatever mischievous actions you can conjure up and attempt to find a place where this doesn't apply. Keep in mind that desire also occurs when a person may potentially lose something. Even most of the seemingly unconscionable actions performed by sociopaths result from some manifestation of desire.

For humans to progress, our species must learn to channel desire productively on a large scale. The ever present "option 1" must be avoided.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Desire vs Envy - overcome by Contentment, Love & Thankfulness

Romans 13:9 KJV
For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Why channel envy? Why not just confess it as wrong and move in the direction of love?

The original commandment:

Exodus 20:17 KJV
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

How about this one:

Hebrews 13:5 KJV
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Contentment is the key. It is something that must be learned because it is not possible to have everything that we might desire which could turn negatively to envy.

Philippians 4:11 KJV
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

I think being content has a lot to do with being thankful and grateful.

I agree though with the choices you present:

"When confronted by sufficient envy to provoke action there are three general options for the actor to choose from:

1. Take what causes the envy by use or threat of force against the possessor.

2. Trade with the possessor for what is envied.

3. Learn how to acquire something equivalent to what is envied through one's own productive capacities."

However, I would like to change the word “envied” to the word “desired.” And also add that if something cannot be achieved it is time to be content and thankful and perhaps contentment and thankfulness are more worth the cost than that which would be expended or traded for the item desired. i.e. I could acquire alot of things at the expense of my family... Thus a setting of priorities is in order before determining a course of action.

Wiki: Envy is best defined as a resentful emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement or possession and wishes that the other lacked it." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Envy

Wiki: Desire is a sense of longing for a person or object or hoping for an outcome. The same sense is expressed by emotions such as "craving" or "hankering". When a person desires something or someone, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of the item or person, and they want to take actions to obtain their goal. The motivational aspect of desire has long been noted by philosophers; Hobbes (1588–1679) asserted that human desire is the fundamental motivation of all human action. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desire

Perhaps it is just semantics, but envy carries a negative connotation while desire carries a positive one. Don't let your desires move into the realm of envy.


I agree bear that I should have used the word desire for the....

sole reason that the word envy has just driven the conversation towards nothing but arguments regarding semantics. In my mind, envy and desire are synonymous. Envy can be malicious or benign, but I digress. The post would have achieved my goal more effectively had I used the word desire - as I have admitted to previously in the comments below.

For the purpose of trying to generate a more constructive discussion, I have changed it.

The only constructive purpose envy could generate;

The only constructive discussion envy could generate is one concerning justice and how to deal with envious people when they choose force to take what they covet.

"For the purpose of trying to generate a more constructive discussion, I have changed it."

Good luck. I'll just try and keep it in mind that you wanted to use malicious desire to serve productive purposes. It makes me wonder how you'd define productive purposes...


Hi DW, How are you doing? I think this is a great topic in the light of "Christmas" and all the wants and desires prevalent this time of year as we see what others get and what we receive...

I am sorry, I did not read the thread completely and did not realize you had been battling semantics already.

I hope some of the things I highlighted regarding love, contentment, priorities and thankfulness were appropriate to the topic regardless of the semantics dealing with envy and desire. I do believe regarding the points of action you offered that the first one:

“1. Take what causes the envy by use or threat of force against the possessor.”

Will result from unchecked envy.

And that the other 2 courses of action you suggested are constructive to the end of achieving desired goals via positive actions. However those actions must be tempered between priorities.

I heard a talk recently regarding golf balls… http://discoveringdirection.com/2012/06/15/mayonnaise-jar-go...

So, I would add a 4th point but would make it the first point.

Consider the cost of achieving your desire and determine whether the desire is commensurate with your life goals. Goals I try to hold to is an acronym learned as a child which spells JOY:

1. Jesus (Is this God’s will for me?)
2. Others (How will this affect others?)
3. Yourself (How will this affect me?)


I covered that last bit in a topic that got less attention...

The Importance of Practical Philosophy - http://www.dailypaul.com/266943/the-importance-of-practical-...

Nice to hear from you bear. Have you been doing any reading lately?


on the reading :(

Yes, your original title to this post is what made me click. Perhaps you shouldn't have changed your title lol :)

I got a cheap version of an IPOD for Christmas so I could down load and listen...I still can't figure out how to use it. I had hope to listen to books while doing my housework.

Have you been reading lately? What?

I've been...

reading and re-reading Man, Economy, and State lately. I read the Reader's Digest version of The Road to Serfdom one day a few weeks ago. I've also read a little out of one of my quantum chemistry text books off and on. Sporadic reading more than anything.

I will change the title back due to your suggestion. Titles are definitely important.

Good move on the title

Good move on the title :)

quantum chemistry...Very much out of my current realm.

I had thought I'd like to be a doctor but never applied myself. Now I know I cannot be a doctor, maybe not even a nurse at this point. I have chemo brain. Perhaps you will discover the cure! Perhaps some tough reading might be the cure, but I like blogging instead.

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was recommended to me earlier this year. I checked it out from the library. It was over 600 pages and there are 3 volumes so I didn't even start. That was the first book I was going to download. Just like blogging, when I start reading I cannot stop and nothing gets done. I have put your philosophy post at the top of my reading list.
lol :)



I can relate to not getting anything done when in the middle of a good book. I sat down and read The Fountainhead in a little under a week.

That's too bad with respect to chemo brain. I hope it gets better over time, and I hope you don't have any future problems with the cancer. Maybe putting together some puzzles would help. I always enjoyed puzzles.

I like puzzles too.

I put one together last winter...it was like reading a good book. I didn't do anything else, but I did have a good time. I'll keep the puzzle idea in mind...I have a husband and 2 boys so I spread my time around...its all good :)

Not Sure About Envy

but I think the real problem with us is conditioning. We are conditioned to think that wealth and possessions and power is the measure of our worth. We are taught from birth that bigger is better, more is better, beautiful is better, being on top is better, etc. WHY does everyone strive to have a bigger house, a newer car, a lot of STUFF, the perfect marriage and so on? CONDITIONING! Envy is simply the result of not having achieved what society has taught us that we should have. The elite are the ones with the real problems. Unfortunately THEY are the ones that decide what we are taught to THINK we need. They do it to keep us working toward an unrealistic goal in order to fleece us along the way. Read "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America"


Suppose there are two cavemen...

that have historically been on equal footing. The two men are equal but able hunters and routinely have the same amount of success until one day one of the cavemen produces a spear. After the production, one of the men now is much more successful and, as a result, now has much more leisure time.

Do you suppose the caveman that lacks a spear will want one once he sees its effectiveness? Was that caveman conditioned to have that response? Or is the desire for the spear a natural mechanism for survival?

Perhaps women like the spear possessing caveman better now. Does this translate to modern desires to keep up with the Jones?

The envious caveman serves no productive purpose.

An envious caveman can't figure out how to make his own spear. Perhaps he's just too lazy? Perhaps he sees it as a dominance issue and doesn't think somebody else, somebody less than him should have something he doesn't? Maybe he's a flee bitten caveman moocher who doesn't know how to produce ANYTHING of value, and feeds off the group, knowing he has nothing to trade you for a spear of his own?

For whatever reason, that unarmed and envious caveman knows he needs THAT spear; YOUR SPEAR, and if he can't figure out how to get it from you, he'll kick it into the fire while you're not looking. (The fire you showed him how to make.)

You're grasping at straws now and you know it...


Not at all.

It's not envious for a caveman to want a spear of his own. It's envious for a caveman to want YOUR spear, covetous, and if he can't take it, he'll try and destroy it.

Is it envy that makes me want a better tool for the job? Was it envy that made the first hunter dream up the concept of a spear, or envy that made the second recognize the value in a spear? No.

It's envy to covet another mans spear, to unjustly want it without regard to his rights; recognizing it as his property. Are you familiar with a concept called liberty? Once you understand liberty, you'll understand the difference between enviously coveting a spear, and desiring one.

Again the post only addresses the case where the actor...

is not the original producer. You seem to be ignoring that.

If the caveman didn't envy the spear, he wouldn't want to acquire one of his own. There is such a thing as benign envy.

So you changed the headline for of your post aye?

What does that say about your honesty when you tried to argue that envy and desire are the same thing? If you believed that, you wouldn't edit the title would you?

"The actor is not the original producer"

I'm not ignoring it at all. Remember what I said about an envious caveman not being capable of producing or trading for his own spear? Whatever it is somebody envies is beyond their reach, something that they don't have a right to whether it be your spear, your money, your girl, your home, your land, your achievements, or your level of respect. They'll try to take what they covet with force.

YOU are the one ignoring something, and it's the difference between desire and envy, and not knowing the difference is why I'm forced to say over and over again that Anarchists are worthless to liberty.

They need to ignore what threatens that caveman's liberty, the second caveman's covetous nature, the one without a spear, nor will they serve justice on the second caveman or "cavemen" when they come to take what they covet.

It doesn't stop at trinkets either. Covetous (cave)men LOVE ganging up on you, and they'll take much more than your spear. They'll take your home, your land, your women, and your children. They'll cut out their hearts just to prove that they serve what's right and just, to show that they've won, and that "damned know it all caveman with the spear" was NOTHING, just another fool here to serve them.

Benign envy.... Could that describe any Anarchists life story? They unjustly want something, but need somebody else to serve as their instrument of injustice. There's something else about Anarchists that becomes clear when you talk to them; they're cowards; benign in their envy, and need to find somebody else to serve their envy: "For Humans to Progress We MUST Learn to Channel ENVY Productively"

Who is it that's "grasping at straws"? I would call changing the entire subject of your idea "grasping" for a life preserver.

Don't EVER try and tell me envy can serve some productive purpose Anarchist. I'll stomp your envious ass because unlike an Anarchist, I'm a Libertarian and have NO PROBLEM serving justice.

I changed it because arguing about semantics is fruitless...

I still hold that desire and envy are the same thing.

You changed it because you figured out that it WASN'T semantics

You changed it because you figured out that it WASN'T semantics, that there's a big difference between desire and envy. You changed it because you figured out that you couldn't win the argument.

You changed it because you don't like losing, and knew trying to make the case that envy can serve some productive purpose is a losing argument unless what you WANT (Anarchist) is to foster an envious culture and encourage people to steal and destroy.

If it's just semantics, change it back?

You can believe whatever makes you happy with yourself..

I'm not going to lose any sleep one way or the other.

I only seek constructive discussion that leads to me potentially learning something of value. Going around in circles talking with you certainly has not served any productive purpose.

I wish you well.

If you would like to discuss the original intent of the post - which is still intact - I would be happy to do so as long as it is productive, and you decide to be more respectful.

You're absolutely right about people being conditioned to covet.

You're absolutely right about people being conditioned to covet. Our world is under attack by those who survive by fostering that culture; one that exalts the disgusting, putting it on a pedestal and saying: "this is what you should want. This is what you should want to be. This is what will get you the prestige you covet."

We aren't called The Great Satan for nothing, and once you understand why, you can't stop seeing it. Satan's also known for preying on people by answering their unjust prayers. (Be careful what you wish for)

I call them misery merchants, destroyers, men who thrive on suffering and want all the worlds people on their knees begging them to answer their unjust prayers. The more miserable and covetous people become, and the harder they'll pray to be saved.

I think the problem is pride.

At least,that is the best word I can use to describe the problems of the world..By pride, I mean ,the sense of self importance and the urge to defend it at all costs.The video link at the bottom of this post talks about this..

A person should have pride in what they've legitimately...



Pride cometh before the fall.


This post has been squandered due to my use of the word...

envy. While I still hold that desire is necessarily a manifestation of envy, all the comments have revolved around how broadly envy can be defined - which is an utter waste of time.



Until you understand the cause of injustice, all your best efforts will blow up in your face, leaving you wondering why it didn't work.

Anarchists are akin to gun grabbers. An Anarchist is a gun grabbers booger eating little brother. Government is force, and just like a gun grabber, Anarchists blame injustice on the gun while wondering how they can use envy to serve productive ends. You can't get rid of injustice, violence, or mans covetous nature by getting rid of government, or guns. Envy is why governments now serve injustice. It's why JFK stood on a stage begging for help with what he called a conspiracy of covet means, and nobody would listen.

He was surrounded by the covetous horde.

deacon's picture

a waste of time?

by broadly interpreting a word in your own post
that word is not for you to define,it is defined already,not
only that,you can't set the parameters of the use of that word
but if you say so

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

As I've said below...

Envy and desire both share the synonym covet. And again, in mathematics if a=b and b=c, then a=c. If only language were as precise. I cannot be responsible for the ambiguity of words.

you don't know the difference between just, and unjust desires

So you admit that you don't know the difference?

You've shown that you don't know the difference between unjust desires and just desires. Understanding the difference is born from an understanding of liberty; knowing what you have a right to.

In the real world, a world filled with covetous people who do nothing but envy their neighbors property and try to take what they covet with force, "covet" COULD be mistaken as a synonym for desire. Most people don't know the difference, and those who don't; Anarchists and looters are worthless to liberty because they think they can create a peaceful and just world through envy and destruction.

In a way I suppose they're right, because after all the covetous people get destroyed, the meek inherit the earth.

In the case where a person is not the original producer,

any good that is desired doesn't originally belong to them. As a consequence, the desire is for a good in the possession of another.

To demonstrate, what is something that you currently desire?