Saturday, December 24, 2005

Making It Up

Jealousy is the desire to maintain one’s own possession. Envy is the desire to acquire the possession of another. They are distinct and in fact hostile emotions, evolved one to overcome the other. And in the race to gain an advantage, they have given each other such potently positive feedback and grown to such an inflamed state that they stand out like blemishes among our subtler and sightlier motivations. The make-up with which we hide them is therefore some of our best and most expensive. The complexity, for instance, of the laws regarding property on the one hand and taxation on the other, and the number of people involved in creating, enforcing, and interpreting these laws give the impression that we are serving a far, far better cause than our jealous and envious nature.

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