Jealousy deconstructed. As Dr. Hall mentioned in his review of Sex and God, jealousy is an important concept to understand. While we tend to think of jealousy as a single idea, it actually has many component parts. Once the parts are taken apart and examined, it becomes clear that jealousy is a cultural construct that can change and even disappear depending on how it is constructed. The myth is that jealousy is natural. That it is innate. That we are born with jealousy. Those are all myths that are easily dispelled when one recognizes that in our culture what passes for jealousy is something composed of fear of abandonment, fear of loss, fear of betrayal, bundled with notions of ownership and possession. Take apart jealousy and it becomes apparent that jealousy is built from several component ideas (parts) that are all learned.

Because these are all learned, they can be unlearned. It may be difficult, it may even feel impossible, but a life that contains the components of jealousy is a life that is wasting a lot of energy trying to control or possess another person. It is a decidedly unhealthy condition. As the great science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein said, "Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other. Both at once, can produce unbearable turmoil...."

Sex and God
Journal of Human Sexuality

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Tags: Jealousy, Robert Heinlein

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