Professor Peter Toohey opened the discussion on “La Jalousie:The Truth About Love, Mistrust & Suspicious Minds” at FIAF on Wednesday night with this definition of jealousy. Jealousy is about loss; envy about gain. Envy is about 2 people and a thing. Jealousy is about 2 people and a person. Jealousy is distinguished from envy by its intensity of feeling. In jealousy someone is diminished.
Another panelist, Dr. Gail Saltz, psychotherapist, stated the fear of abandonment in childhood, trauma during your early years, experience of parental cheating, breach of trust all can produce intense insecurity. These are some of the origins of jealousy. Saltz elucidated the difference between men and women when it comes to how they experience jealousy. “Men experience jealousy in an evolutionary way. It’s all about genetics. Women are concerned with emotions. Do you still love me?” As an advocate for protecting your relationship, Saltz had a word for wise… If you play with fire, you will get burned.”
The wild card in this discussion was Neil Strauss, author of many books, including the best-seller, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. Strauss played devils advocate. “I am happy, if you are happy, even if it’s not me.” Having struggled with monogamy, Strauss voiced his objections to the idea that jealousy is about preserving your relationship.
It was Toohey who tried to explain how jealousy could be a positive emotion. Sometimes, jealousy can work for us. This intense emotion causes us to focus on what we value and what we want to protect.
“O, beware my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But, O, what damned minutes tell o-er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!”
Iago warns Othello against jealousy.
I thought a discussion on this topic might elicit fireworks, but instead the discussion fell a little flat, perhaps it was because there was not enough passion in the room.
The Art of Sex & Seduction
La Jalousie: The Truth About Love,
Mistrust & Suspicious Minds
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Erica Lumiere, series curator
Neil Strauss, author
Dr. Gail Saltz, psychotherapist
Peter Toohey, Professor of Classics at University of Calgary