By Barbara Rick
Envy Green, New York Botanical Garden, 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by Barbara Rick. All rights reserved.
It’s a hard, rotten knot of a word. Sinister. Secret. Has a way of gripping me by the throat and squeezing my soul of rational thought, patience, and generosity. Keeps rolling in like a black wave. ENVY.
After a crushing professional disappointment a while back, I found that I was brooding. Dark and long. Gnawing on the ‘injustice’ of it all. Sneering as I licked my wounds.
I became aware that I — as spiritually evolved and as peaceful a meditation warrior as I like to believe I am — was hobbled by something much bigger and darker than myself. Something slithery, lizard-like and primal. I was on to ENVY.
Touching its long thin tail. Up to my shins in it. And if it was giving me this much trouble, wrestling with me backstage in my accomplished, prosperous, abundant life, chances are it’s doing a number on everyone else as well.
So I began digging, peering back through human history, and what I saw knocked me out.
The story of Cain and Abel, for starters. That’s when Cain, a farmer, turns on his shepherd brother because God liked Abel’s gift better. Cain, who by all accounts hadn’t even given much of a gift, was enraged anyway and ‘set upon’ his brother in a field. At the root of this first recorded homicide? ENVY.
Treatment of the Jews in the Holocaust? Not just the scapegoating, but the Germans preferred to actually lose the war than let up for a second on the extermination campaign against the Jews. ENVY, again.
Driving those planes into the Trade Center towers on 9/11? Yes.
Hostile, implacable, illogical, petty, deadly ENVY.
What a juicy, throbbing idea for a new documentary! We are intensively at work on this as we speak at my company, Out of The Blue Films, Inc. Seeking and receiving support and insights from some of the best minds in the world on this subject; scholars and artists musing, informing, inviting, seducing others to look at something most dare not. This film will be a bold, insightful, humorous exploration of the causes and consequences of this most corrosive human emotion.
Why and how is ENVY at work? It has a chameleon nature. First you see it, then you justify. It’s the squirming worm under the rock of history, hiding from the light. Exposed occasionally and brilliantly by Shakespeare, Dickens, immortalized in Salieri’s encounters with Mozart … Iago’s loathing of Othello … Cassius’ for Caesar … Claggart’s Billy Budd.
Viscous and vicious… elusive… a most urgent threat: between siblings, neighbors, nations. The evil eye. Often confused with jealousy, which, our ENVY scholars tell us, is often easier and softer for many to admit. Jealousy involves three people, and the fear of losing something you already have, while ENVY is typically between two people: that painful, searing feeling you get when someone else has what you long for and fear you might never get.
The driving, writhing force beneath most beloved fairy tales from Cinderella to Snow White. Scholars agree it casts a long, long shadow on humanity and its greatest power is that we are afraid, unwilling, or unable to look at it. Its care and feeding in secrecy under our dark collective psyche is the most damaging of all.
So we are calling it out, conjuring it up, exposing it to the best of our ability.
Trapped, photo © 2005-2009
by B. Rick. All rights reserved.
We’re asking you, and others: Whom and what do you ENVY? Who has envied you? How has ENVY impacted your life?
London, photo © 2005-2009
by B. Rick. All rights reserved.
We’re using unique storytelling techniques to tell this dark, dangerous and ultimately triumphant story of human good over human evil — embracing the worst of ourselves to coax out and harness the very best.
What long and twisted roads has ENVY chased you down? When did it sneak up and scare the daylights out of you? Chain your heart and mind? How did you escape? Or didn’t you?
Please share with us your essays, short stories, poems, haiku, watercolors, oils, collages, drawings, photographs, and music. One of you will win a prize: a bright and shiny new Amazon Kindle. Any and all entries, or excerpts of them, could end up in our revolutionary and groundbreaking documentary. No promises, of course. Remain anonymous if you wish, that’s fine.
Shine a light on your ENVY. Chisel at it with your pen or paintbrush – splash some sunlight on your darkest corners. Walk together with us, deep into it and out onto the other side. It will be a hell of a ride.
TOPIC – ENVY (A PRE-CALL FOR ENTRIES)
The ENVY Contest at officially starts in two
days, on Thursday, June 11. That’s when we publish here at
the ENVY Contest Submission Guidelines. Your writing or
visual entry may be selected as the winner of an .
So come back on Thursday, June 11, to read the ENVY Contest Submission Guidelines. We’ll tell you What creative forms are accepted and in what formats, and Where to send your entry and How. We’ll also provide the Terms & Conditions for the ENVY Contest.
Don’t miss your chance to win an Amazon Kindle, the reading wireless device that you hold in your hands like a book and that can carry in its memory thousands of titles that can be downloaded from the Amazon library — so you can read anywhere, anytime.
Barbara Rick is a Peabody & Emmy award-winning filmmaker/journalist based in New York City. She is president and founder of Out of The Blue Films, Inc., creators of exceptional documentaries on important social issues that ignite positive action and promote open dialogue.
Recent films include ROAD TO INGWAVUMA (ing-wah-VOOM-ah), which chronicles the unique delegation of some of America’s most respected artists and their families to post-apartheid South Africa, and IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, one American nun’s battle with the Vatican over the rights of gay and lesbian Catholics.
ENVY is the latest project from Out of The Blue Films, Inc. in keeping with the company’s longstanding mission to tell the most inspiring stories that explore, articulate, educate, and celebrate humanity.
red Ravine is a vehicle for the promotion of this contest. red Ravine is not liable for any actions by the Producer, nor the Film. Any submissions are made directly and solely to Producer and not to red Ravine. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for submissions nor for any outcomes from the contest.