Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Acknowledging Envy

We, who are ordinary people, are apt to develop a discontent that runs into envy and jealousy, until it becomes bitter and hard, and that destroys not only our own happiness, but is exceedingly unjust towards those in the presence of whom we are thus discontented and envious. Suppose a person is handsomer than I am, has more brain power, more money, occupies a more distinguished position in society. For what is such a person responsible ? He did not make himself handsome. He did not earn the money which he inherited. He did not manufacture the brain power which has come from his ancestors. These things are conferred upon him. It is not out of spite to us, that he is handsomer or richer or better endowed in any way. It is no personal injury to us, on his part, that he possesses these things. He is only responsible for the use that he makes of these endowments ; and, therefore, his responsibility may be larger and more critical than ours. But there is something unspeakably mean and little-souled in being bitter, envious, spiteful toward a person, because he is better off in any way than we are.

Minot J. Savage (1841-1918)

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