Invidia: The Seven Sins – part III of VII

“Pride, envy, avarice - these are the sparks have set on fire the hearts of all men
- Dante

When Virgil takes Dante to Purgatory in Canto XIII he sees people wearing coats that look like grey and bruised flesh, their eyes are sewn up with iron wires in a terrace where the blind leads the blind as they stretch out towards any good angel and fragment of love they can find. Here Dante also meet Sapia, a noblewoman purged for taking greater joy in others misfortunes than her own fortune.

Invidia or envy is about feeling sadness for another man’s good fortune, it is the negation of charitas (charity), an absence of love...

Invidia is also integral to the mystical powers of those who possess the evil eye. Naturally, some possess the ‘evil eye’ because of an overflowing of an inherent power undirected – but care should be observed so this most negative effect is not taking hold.

A person possessing the ‘evil eye’ and who is suffering from the affliction of invidia will constantly reap misfortune and this will in turn call upon anger and greed to walk with envy.

Invidia is perhaps the most poisonous of the vices, it contaminates the envious one and also its environment in a rapid and brutal way where the seed of misfortune is planted in all corners, bridges and crossroads of life where it grows hasty into a thorny and foul plant that seek only to harm its environment not realizing that the greatest harm is the putrid heart of the envious one.

If we have everything, but lack love, we have nothing and charity is an attitude that seeks the well being of our fellow men and women, because if your life gets better – my life gets better, as Awo Falokun so often writes in his books.  Charity is indeed an antidote for Invidia.

Envy is not solely to take joy in another person’s misfortune; it is also about wishing for you what your friend and neighbour have. It can also mask itself behind a feeling of your friend of neighbour being undeserving of their good fortune – and that you see yourself as more worthy of a particular good fortune. Invidia is a most ugly and monstrous illness that set out to sabotage not only one’s own fortune, but ANY good fortune the envious one sees.

The wish for one’s life to get better, to have condition similar to ones friends and neighbours is a good thing, because in this we dream of our achievements and what becomes flesh must first be born in dreams. But the desire for possessing what someone else have just because of your distorted idea of justice where you judge someone else as unworthy of their good fortune is the grim grandmother of all nightmares.

Aristotle understood envy as a feeling of pain occurring in the envious one seeing another person’s good fortune and as such it is the beginning of perpetual unhappiness.

Both the narcissist and the one of no self esteem can develop this affliction and become a venomous presence for its own soul and for everyone he or she touches. This is perhaps most of all evident in the fairy tale ‘Snow White’, where envy is the entire cause of all its misery – as it is in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. In both instances we see that envy takes so much place in its hasty growth that love is made impossible.

Properly in the second terrace of Purgatory where they are purged, it is the eyes that are sewn up, the window of the soul, the very mirror of the ‘evil eye’ and the well of desire...

The best remedy for this most wicked of sufferings is to be content – because he who is content is truly rich in his or her contentment and have made place and room for love.