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Over the last 6 months, I’ve noticed I’ve felt a lot of jealousy/envy towards many of my fellow musician friends who are doing well in their professions, while I go to grad school. I know it’s not rational or productive to feel this way, but then again, emotions are often involuntary, uncontrollable, and have nothing to do with logic or sense.
For example, I have a music project with a very talented friend of mine named Rick, but he works a lot abroad, so we have a stand-in replacement guitarist for him (Jim) in NYC, so that we can still perform locally regardless of Rick’s schedule. When I learned that our replacement guitarist Jim got a job going on a major US tour with Rick’s main group, I was filled with jealousy and felt betrayed too, because it meant that my group couldn’t fulfill it’s own commitments (like performing in Texas at SXSW in a few weeks), after I’d introduced Jim to Rick in the first place. I felt like Jim was stolen from me and I envied the opportunity he was given but I understood that he was getting a chance to see the US and perform in a way I couldn’t have given him while getting paid much better than what I could have provided. It’s a tricky scenario but I guess deep down, I want to be with them performing at large theaters around the country.
This got me thinking about what is behind the emotion of jealousy and what it’s composed of… My first hunch was that it was a component of anger and fear, but in my situation, I think there is an element of desire too…in that I want to be where my friends are. In Plutchik’s chart he places “envy” between anger and sadness and I’d agree there’s an element of sadness in jealousy because I’m sad (and angry) that I am not traveling and making money and I’m sad that they’d leave me in the lurch to deal with my existing obligations. The fact that I like ITP and am happy learning new things, doesn’t really factor into the equation too much, although I think it dulls the pain in some way because I am being active and am engaged in new things, not just sitting around my house wishing I was on tour with them. I think jealousy is a very interesting emotion and it can have very different implications from one situation to another. Romantic jealousy is an entirely different can of worms that we can talk about another time
A few main points from my presentation:
March 19, 2009
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