Hello Sexy People!
“Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look:
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous”
(Caesar, Act 1 Scene 2)
Beware the Ides of March! Well, at least if your name is Caesar. As you may recall, it was on the Ides of March (March 15th) that Cassius and Brutus enacted their plan to murder Julius Caesar. But what would motivate these men to commit such a brutal act?
As Cassius laments Caesar’s advantages…
“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus: and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.”
…it is in this envious state that he convinces Brutus to conspire with him to kill Caesar and stop him from gaining too much power. And, as Brutus later declares in defense of his actions, “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (Brutus, Act 3 Scene 2)
While some might attribute their actions to jealousy, it was rather envy, disguised all in the name of Rome. But, what does jealousy really mean? Where does the word come from? How does jealousy differ from envy? And what’s up with those weird windows?
According to Merriam-Webster, the words “zealous” and “jealous” share a joint etymology from the Latin zelus. For this reason, they previously shared roughly the same meaning and there are instances in 16th and 17th biblical writing that use the words interchangeably. However, during the 18th century, zealous had earned its own definition “signifying warmly engaged or ardent on behalf of someone or something.” It is this connection with excessive feeling that we attribute to it today.
Meanwhile, the terms “jealous” and “jealousy” continue to define the emotion of feeling we get “when something we have is threatened by a third person.” As this definition endures, most of us are quite familiar with it as a powerful emotion; one that can be so intense that it drives people to commit murder.
Yet, while we often use envy and jealousy as synonyms, they are not (although there is some debate about this). In an article in “Psychology Today”, the demarcation among psychologists is that “…envy is a two-person situation whereas jealousy is a three-person situation. Envy is a reaction to lacking something. Jealousy is a reaction to the threat of losing something (usually someone).” In her book: “Jealousy Survival Guide”, Kitty describes the two words this way: Envy —> WANTING what someone else has … versus … Jealousy —> FEAR of potentially LOSING what you have (That fear can lead to feeling intolerant and hostile toward a [perceived] rival, as well as being fiercely vigilant in guarding a [perceived] possession.) She goes on to say: “Jealousy is a complex emotion, often a combination of fear, anger, sadness, and doubt. Unpacking all that interlocking stuff can take attention, care, and understanding.”
Interestingly, while not the first to originate a color connection with emotion, Shakespeare described envy as the green sickness in “Antony and Cleopatra,” yet used the same hue for jealousy in “Othello”: “O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” So no wonder we are all confused.
Regardless of its origins, jealousy is an important emotion, especially when discussing consensual non-monogamy (CNM). Of course, jealousy isn’t unique to those who practice CNM. However, it is an emotion that is potentially more likely to get stirred up by the mere fact that you are intentionally adding multiple people in the mix – there are more people with whom to share oneself.
On a final note, the word jealousy has another previous meaning: “permitting one to see without being seen”. Based on this definition, during the 18th century, the French version jalousie was co-opted to name a particular kind of window. These louver-style windows are most often associated with tropical climates due to their ability to permit airflow with the slats open in unison. While the parallel slats could be made of glass or acrylic, the traditional use of wood (and its opacity) was thought to “protect the interior of the house from jealous, peering eyes.” (For images of jalousie windows, see: https://archive.org/details/LudmanWindoTiteJalousies)
So, keep away from Brutus this month, consider the possible difference between the two emotions of jealousy and envy and keep your blinds closed.
Until next time …
With love and gratitude,
Kitty Chambliss, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP
Founder, Loving Without Boundaries
- https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/green+with+envygreen-eyed monster/green with envy
- Shakespeare, William. “Anthony and Cleopatra”.
- Shakespeare, William. “Julius Caesar”.
- Shakespeare, William. “Othello”.
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