Tuesday, March 28, 2006

On jealousy

Envy consists in wanting what someone else has. Though potentially unpleasant,it’s understandable enough, as it follows naturally from a positive appreciation of the object’s value. Jealousy, by contrast, is the purely negative emotion which involves wishing that the other lacked the object of value. (I mean for these definitions to be stipulative.) Such an attitude seems quite thoroughly unreasonable, at least if the object in question is shareable. For rivalrous objects, one might want the other to lose the object solely as a means to one’s own gaining of it. Such “instrumental jealousy” lies in the service of envy, and so may inherit the latter’s reasons. But to begrudge another’s benefit, for its own sake and not for costs to oneself, seems blackly indefensible.

What, then, are we to make of romantic jealousy, i.e. the possessive desire for our partner’s exclusive attention? Is it simply unreasonable? Is the value of one’s relationship necessarily diminished in virtue of its non-exclusive character? Surely not: the value of a relationship is grounded in its deep or intrinsic character, not merely incidental or comparative aspects. (One occasionally hears homophobic rhetoric implying that one’s marriage would somehow be “devalued” if gay people were allowed to marry too. But this is absurd. Truly valuable relationships do not rest their value on such fragile foundations). What matters is your relationship, not any other one – even if the other involves your partner.

Granted, it may just be intrinsically unpleasant to imagine your partner having sex with someone else. But while we can give an evolutionary explanation of why such ‘pure jealousy’ might evolve, that doesn’t suffice to justify it. One can also give scientific explanations of violent anger, but we should resist such pernicious emotions all the same.

What of the concerns about ‘sharing’? They sound to me unreasonably possessive. Your partner’s time and attention may be taken up by any other hobbies or interests that they have, but those are not legitimate grounds for complaint (unless you are being thoroughly neglected). It isn’t clear why an interest in another person should be treated any differently, at least on those grounds.

I take it the real worry here concerns affection. Some may implicitly believe that individuals have a fixed emotional capacity, so that the more they care for someone else, the less they care for you. But when made explicit like this, such a view does not sound very plausible. Consider parental love. Surely nobody
would claim that children from large families are loved less by their parents than is an ‘only child’. But why should romantic love (or its precursors) be any different?

Perhaps we want to be “special”; but it isn’t clear why exclusivity should create added value here. As previously noted, any non-deluded evaluation of one's partner needs to be consistent with the recognition that they’re not uniquely special, i.e. special in a way that everyone else fails to be. Our ‘specialness’ needs to be consistent with other people being special too. So, as noted above, we should look to intrinsic rather than comparative values. We have value for who we are, considered in ourselves, rather than considered in comparison to other people.

That’s all well and good from an objective point of view, but we still want to have a special significance for our significant others, even if it is recognized as a merely “subjective” or agent-relative importance. But we can grant this without requiring total uniqueness. Again, the parental analogy is illustrative: a child wouldn’t want her parents to treat her no differently from all the other kids in the world. She should have a special place in her parents’ world. But she needn’t be the only person in this place; she can share it with her few siblings, without diminishing its value in any way at all. So again: why is the romantic case any different? If someone has two significant others, must they be the less significant for this?

Perhaps I’m missing something obvious, since my armchair certainly doesn’t offer the most comprehensive view of the world. But at least in light of the issues discussed so far, it seems to me that jealousy largely is irrational, so that more reasonable creatures would not get so possessive or hung up on issues of romantic exclusivity. Whether we’re capable of being more reasonable creatures is, of course, another question entirely.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I tried to escape all of my life.
Escape from whom I loved the most,
escape from the place that I lived in,
escape from the values that I grew with.
I escaped, went trough a lot of bizarre observations,
felt a lot of indescribable,
saw a lot of unspeakable.
When I reached the end of the way, Sun was setting, and I couldn’t go any further.
That was the end of the way; the red line.

I had grown with my perceptions.
I tried to remember all of the things that I saw, but nothing came to my mind,
seemed like all of it was insignificant stories.
All I could think of was when It all started;
All this chaos in me, all this homelessness.
It all started when I gazed into your eyes for the first time,
and saw the strangest meaning in them.
That made me insane, a glad insane who never lived normally again,
happily though. I escaped from you too, I had to go away.
But I traveled all this way to the end of the world by thought of your eyes.
I wanted to discover your eyes at the end of the earth, on the sun.
This is why I said to you that day, " I feel like I have the same distance with you at each point, each crucial point.”,
and you looked at me as If I was not making sense.
I died right there, right at the end of the way, right at the very moment of sunset.
The air smelled like your eyes, your crucial eyes.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Look at these new fancy things that people have picked up for sometime like attacking global terrorism, communal harmony, helping 3rd world countries in need(of course after waging a war at them and destroying them beyond roots). Interesting enough, i came across this group One.org . Well, as a non-american, how do u react to one.org ?
the declaration goes.. "we beleive in the best american tradition.... blah blah" and you are supposed to sign it if you support one.org so they can get more funds. i'm not the kind of person who likes to be bound by virtual lines but i dont want to sign a declation that clearly boasts abt someone's superiority more than being a declaration calling for help and support. I would wish if they just said, we are a group trying to help people in need and hence folks please join and contribute for having a better world. But no...they had to say they were americans and they are the cleanest of people who have this broad mind of helping others and all that crap. I might be wrong and they might be doing lots of good, but what is the point in doing a favor to the world, if you still want the credit to go just to your country. If the declaration read on the lines of.. "one world.. blah blah" it would have been more credible to me as a further, the idea is to get 1% of the earnings of all americans, to distribute wealth to poor countries. it could sound easy and simple to a bono or danny glover holding millions with a silver spoon up their ass. but have they thought about the poor people in their country and how they will contribute to it ? Interestingly countries like India spend several crores on their armed forces. A recent survey i read claimed that the amount of money india spends in arms and armed forces for one single year could actually feed all the people below the poverty line in this country for a week. I am not sure of the correctness of this statement, but however believe we do spend a lot of money into arms and for what? To have a peaceful better world. Not only us, the whole world does this. How can we have a peaceful life and world surrounded by guns? I simply cannot understand this arguement. Anyway, coming back to one.org, americans have a 60 billion debt on credit cards and imagine an additional 1% tax ripped off their hands every month. Alright so now you got the money, so you give it to the poor. but has any thought gone into why these countries are still poor ? variety of reasons, depending on the country. Religious and cultural reasons in islamic countries, and corruption (almost all countries not just true with India though India Rules the roost). Another reason is illetracy.Havent countries like india prospered even with all these shackles ? isnt it for the country itself to awake itself and grow ? and finally, wouldnt it be encouraging for all these shackles if these funds reach them ? isnt it like encouraing corruption, laziness and poor cultural barriers ? doesnt one.org realise that these countries are poor because of the debt they owe to the west ? isnt it a better thing to do to write off these debts and help these nations grow than give them funds ? definitely fighting the cause is better than fighting the effect. I feel one.org is a good step forward but is just a gimmick to show the superiority of americans and to make themselves feel better in the world arena.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Half Empty or Half Full?

An optimist is supposed to say half full, a pessimist is supposed to say half empty but a nerd will say...Hey that is a conical glass and vertical bisection will in fact result in two halves of equal volume so you all are wrong. Now the question is ? What am i? What are you...??? Ha ha ha ! Sorry folks, i am currently feeling nerdish, so thought will vent out some of my profound ideas and enlighten you guys!