Friday, February 09, 2007

On Jealousy

I have not died!
I am feeling quite better, in fact. Almost 100%.
Mexico was great. I will write of it some other time, when I have a few photos to display.
See, I did not have my own camera and so I am relying upon photos that will be sent to me by my fellow vacationers.
For now, after a week of being back to work, I am resuming my reading of Stendhal’s (1830) novel, The Red and the Black.
Many of you will be familiar with this somewhat epic story of the ambitious young pseudo-cleric, Julien Sorel. I am almost finished the book, and my most recent reading has got me all fired up about the topic of jealousy.

Julien really bugs me. Irks me. And I’ll tell you why.
See, [where does one start]… but in ch.18 of Part 2 he is courting the affection of the noblewoman Mathilde de La Mole. She is inifintely above him when it comes to social standing, and this was an age when social standing was the be-all-and-end-all of everything. [This portion of the novel taking place in early 19th Century Paris].
Mathilde falls for him.
And in a colossally impetuous moment, she declares her love for him, in a written letter.
As soon as Julien reads it, he is elated. But his rapture is based primarily on the contemplation of how this confession [of hers] can be used for his personal advancement, even if it means her ultimate disgrace and ruin.
This bugs me, hell yeah, but it is not yet the real reason why Julien bugs me as he does. Julien sinks lower in my estimation when, after spurning Mathilde’s sincere emotions, he sees her cavorting in the garden with other possible suitors, and he is driven to a state of maniacal jealousy.
How idiotic!
I would love to be able to somehow get right into the pages of the book right then, grab a plank that is conveniently lying on the ground nearby, and wallop Julien over the head with it!
See [and I give the author credit for making me feel this intensely about it].... see, I understand jealousy. Like totally.
But what BOTHERS me about jealousy, is when the person who is jealous does not really want [want to possess for themself] the object of their jealousy.
I cannot even tell you how much this bothers me. I think it is such a major intrusion on another person's life.
It is a CRIME!
Like see.... if Julien wanted Mathilde for himself, then his jealousy is entirely proper. If she is spurning him, and he is jealous and would snap her up into his exclusive domain if given the chance.... well and good!
But in this scenario.... he wouldn't.

If she came to him and fell at his feet in abject worship, [which she, in effect, did] he would immediately be scheming [power-tripping] on how he can USE this contingency to his greatest advantage.
In other words, he does not LOVE her. He really does not.
And so this completely invalidates his jealousy [his right to jealousy] in my opinion.
If he does not want her, [and the rule whereby a person knows if they want the other is by measuring how much they want to give themself over to them...] he has to let her go.
There is no other mature or responsible way to be.
I say all of this because I am a very demonstrable professional at this.
I live my life in the following way..... → I refuse to allow myself to be jealous of a woman's affections unless I want her affections entirely to be directed [only] toward me.
In other words, I think it to be entirely unfair to expect her to "love" me exclusively [as Julien seems to be expecting Mathilde to be towards him] unless, were I made aware of this "love" I would give my own self entirely to her.... to the same degree that I am desirous of similar treatment vice versa.
Does that make sense?

In other words, if I broke up with a girlfriend, I would immediately [and unequivocably] release her.
Thus, "breaking up" would mean [to me] the immediate relinquishing of all rights toward jealousy. That does not even mean that I would not FEEL jealous if I saw her with someone else or whatnot, it simply means I would recognize that feeling as entirely invalid and I would literally not embrace it, or nurture it in any way.
Plus, I would not blame her for my experience of those feelings.
As for the "nurture" aspect, I would not try to see her, or hear about her.
And I have practised this, [all that I am saying, above] like tons of times in my life.
Entirely let go.
My conclusion, regarding this story, therefore, is that Julien is one of the most emotionally immature characters I have ever encountered in literature.
I am not sure if I am supposed to feel this strongly about him, but I find him deplorable.
I find his petty selfishness disgusting, really.

*********

4 comments:

May said...

You haven't broken up with someone recently, have you?

cipriano said...

Nope.

May said...

Someone must be in love with you a lot.

Isabella said...

I'm STILL thinking about Julien, and I STILL don't understand him. I found this novel infuriating, and unique, in that the 3 main characters are not exactly nice, their actions not commendable, their motivations unfathomable. They're compelling characters, but after 2 months of thinking about them, I still don't get them.