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As in focusing on one's own identity based around suffering and being different, but not caring or longing for what others have. Having unconscious shame but preferring not to focus on it, to be content with what one has. Content with one's flaws or disadvantages, as if it's a good thing to have it worse than others.

Would this be counter-envy? Or does that manifest differently?
 

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This one has been troubling me for long and I am going to take this as an opportunity for some aloud thinking. One, how can anything be unconscious? Two, if it is unconscious, how do you know it?

An emotion can be known only if it is felt consciously. If you feel it at 10.01 AM, but did not feel it at 10.00 AM, it doesn't mean that you were holding it there unconsciously. That is like saying that if it began to rain at 10.01 AM but it was not raining at 10.00 AM, the rain was unconscious. Or if my scalp began to itch at 10.01 AM but was not itching at 10.00 AM, the itch was unconscious.

To put it another way - there is no such thing as an unconscious emotion or an unconscious thought.

Just like there is a shared physical space among us all, which we call Earth, there is also a shared psychological realm. In that realm there are manifested and unmanifested things. The unmanifested things are seeds of all kinds of emotions. When seeds come to fruition, particular individuals have a greater propensity to attract one kind of emotion over the other. Hence, some people tend to be more excited, some tend to be more depressive, and so on. Just like on this shared physical space we call Earth, some places get more cold and some places get more hot.

I think Freud espoused several theories that were plainly false or deluded, and have now been institutionalised in the form of psychotherapy, and popularised in modern culture across the world. We need to see through them.

At the same time - there are things we are more aware of, and things that we try not to keep our awareness on. This can become chronic, and chronic refusal to take one's awareness to certain aspects of one's consciousness - that is what some psychoanalysts seem to mean when they use the term unconscious.

So in my understanding, rather than trying to see if there is unconscious envy for which one compensates consciously by 'counter-envy', it might be more beneficial for self knowledge to know this 'counter-envy', this focusing on one's own identity, possibly at the expense of being open to others. To become deeply aware of our impulses, to see them in their entirety, without wanting to analyse them, or change them, or give a label to them - that's essentially what self-knowledge and transformation are about, I'd say.
 

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This one has been troubling me for long and I am going to take this as an opportunity for some aloud thinking. One, how can anything be unconscious? Two, if it is unconscious, how do you know it?

An emotion can be known only if it is felt consciously. If you feel it at 10.01 AM, but did not feel it at 10.00 AM, it doesn't mean that you were holding it there unconsciously. That is like saying that if it began to rain at 10.01 AM but it was not raining at 10.00 AM, the rain was unconscious. Or if my scalp began to itch at 10.01 AM but was not itching at 10.00 AM, the itch was unconscious.

To put it another way - there is no such thing as an unconscious emotion or an unconscious thought.

Just like there is a shared physical space among us all, which we call Earth, there is also a shared psychological realm. In that realm there are manifested and unmanifested things. The unmanifested things are seeds of all kinds of emotions. When seeds come to fruition, particular individuals have a greater propensity to attract one kind of emotion over the other. Hence, some people tend to be more excited, some tend to be more depressive, and so on. Just like on this shared physical space we call Earth, some places get more cold and some places get more hot.

I think Freud espoused several theories that were plainly false or deluded, and have now been institutionalised in the form of psychotherapy, and popularised in modern culture across the world. We need to see through them.

At the same time - there are things we are more aware of, and things that we try not to keep our awareness on. This can become chronic, and chronic refusal to take one's awareness to certain aspects of one's consciousness - that is what some psychoanalysts seem to mean when they use the term unconscious.

So in my understanding, rather than trying to see if there is unconscious envy for which one compensates consciously by 'counter-envy', it might be more beneficial for self knowledge to know this 'counter-envy', this focusing on one's own identity, possibly at the expense of being open to others. To become deeply aware of our impulses, to see them in their entirety, without wanting to analyse them, or change them, or give a label to them - that's essentially what self-knowledge and transformation are about, I'd say.
Would it change anything for you if instead of calling it "unconscious envy", I called it "envy that one is aware of on some level but chooses not to focus on"?

Also, my question isn't really whether it's possible for this to exist in a person, but whether it would be considered e4 envy if it exists in this form (or if it's too different from envy, implying one is not a 4).
 

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Would it change anything for you if instead of calling it "unconscious envy", I called it "envy that one is aware of on some level but chooses not to focus on"?

Also, my question isn't really whether it's possible for this to exist in a person, but whether it would be considered e4 envy if it exists in this form (or if it's too different from envy, implying one is not a 4).
Yes, as I said, one can be aware of something but chooses to not focus on it. "The unthought known" is a term that some psychoanalysts use, which makes sense to me.

I think I am a 4, but I don't have issues with envy. I've always wondered if that means I'm not really a 4, or if the 4 descriptions that focus on envy are wrong. What drives me is a search for depth, meaning, purpose, beauty but not really envy. As far as negative emotions go, I have anxiety, I can get sad and at times angry too, but not envy. I do not covert, secretly or explicitly, what others have. Even in my unhealthy phases it is not envy that dominates me.

So whether one is self-aware about one's envy or not aware, I don't feel that is really at the core of type 4, at least not as far as I understand the type from my experience of being myself and knowing a few others of this type.
 

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As in focusing on one's own identity based around suffering and being different, but not caring or longing for what others have. Having unconscious shame but preferring not to focus on it, to be content with what one has. Content with one's flaws or disadvantages, as if it's a good thing to have it worse than others.
I don't necessarily envy others for their personality traits or possessions or anything like that. After all, if I had those things, I wouldn't be me. In the past my envy manifested more as a, "they all seem to have such wonderful relationships with each other, and I wish I had whatever it is that makes them capable of that". I felt like my differences made others shy away from becoming close with me, but at the same time I didn't want to give up what made me unique. Maybe I'm just being nitpicky but I see it more as envying the fundamental nature (or what I perceive to be the fundamental nature) of others rather than something that they have. I dunno.

I wouldn't give up my flaws either, if push came to shove. I complain about them, but they're as much a part of me as my strengths. I feel similarly about other people's flaws; I think they are a vital part of who they are and I love to see a complete picture of someone's personality. The vulnerability that comes with sharing that is beautiful to me.

I don't know if that's what you're getting at. Just what came to mind.
 

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It's a little complicated but envy can't be unconscious, because as far as I'm aware it's not a psychic defense as such, but you can trace it back to the other unconscious defenses fours have.

One of Freud's greatest discoveries was to observe that people used what he called defenses to protect themselves against psychic distress without realising they were doing it, and this is why he labelled defenses as unconscious. Expanding on this he came to see defenses as a manifestation of a larger unconscious self which was at odds with the rational conscious mind.

In enneagram theory fours use at least two unconscious defenses: introjection and retroflection. Introjection means an automatic understanding what someone is feeling while not taking on the reason for them feeling that way. Retroflection means you tend to blame yourself unnecessarily.

So when fours see others are happy and start to question why they are not happy too, instead of recognising the logical reasons for the other's happiness (introjection), they can instead conclude that its because they are less worthy of happiness (retroflection). It then becomes envy if this unhappiness is projected back upon the other person, but equally it can be internalised self-destructively. So yes envy isn't a given for all fours, but I get it in spades.
 

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I should have read this post before I wrote a long post in another thread.

Retroflection means you tend to blame yourself unnecessarily.
I do blame myself a lot.

So when fours see others are happy and start to question why they are not happy too, instead of recognising the logical reasons for the other's happiness (introjection), they can instead conclude that its because they are less worthy of happiness (retroflection). It then becomes envy if this unhappiness is projected back upon the other person, but equally it can be internalised self-destructively. So yes envy isn't a given for all fours, but I get it in spades.
I blame myself or justify negative things happening to me that I deserve it. However I very rarely envy other people. If I do it's not something that keeps going - It's more of a thought coming to my mind but passing very quickly. When I have these thoughts I always think that those people are better than me and deserve the happiness or whatever I also desire. You could also say that I appreciate that the others have achieved something I haven't, but it's not something that I fixate about. I'm a person and something that's worked for someone else might not work for me and might not be achieved by me. That's it. I know this behavior is harmful but It's just so deep inside that I wonder if it's possible to ever let that feeling fade or ignore it?
 

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Of course it is unconscious, would you consciously choose to feel envy. I am curious would you consciously decide to feel miserable as well? ;)
Ok so when you talk about jealousy, sadness, happiness you're talking about emotions, and emotions are very much in your conscious awareness (although just to confuse things, they can be repressed into the unconscious, if repression is one of the defenses you use).

Emotions are in a sense unconscious urges made conscious by some sort of trigger. As I've mentioned one of the triggers for retroflection becoming shame is thinking that someone else is happier than you. So shame is the emotion that is in your conscious perception, but what you are not aware of is that you judge yourself more harshly than you do others.

Incidently, the goal of Freudian psychoanalysis was to make the unconscious conscious, so Freud thought that if you could recognise your unconscious defenses in action, you could achieve "catharsis". Easier said than done IMO! :/
 

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Ok so when you talk about jealousy, sadness, happiness you're talking about emotions, and emotions are very much in your conscious awareness (although just to confuse things, they can be repressed into the unconscious, if repression is one of the defenses you use).

Emotions are in a sense unconscious urges made conscious by some sort of trigger. As I've mentioned one of the triggers for retroflection becoming shame is thinking that someone else is happier than you. So shame is the emotion that is in your conscious perception, but what you are not aware of is that you judge yourself more harshly than you do others.

Incidently, the goal of Freudian psychoanalysis was to make the unconscious conscious, so Freud thought that if you could recognise your unconscious defenses in action, you could achieve "catharsis". Easier said than done IMO! :/
I am not talking about that you are not aware of your envy. Of course you are aware of it. You are also aware of having pain in your back, I am just saying you did not consciously choose to have pain in your back. That would pr. logic be unintelligent. So logic is you became envious unconsciously, because if you were aware enough of your body/emotions, you would not consciously choose to feel that way. So conclusions is that when you become envious, you don't know what you're doing, you are just getting controlled by life, your body, and your emotions. Swept away. No control over the "your" machine, and "your" emotions.
 

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I am not talking about that you are not aware of your envy. Of course you are aware of it. You are also aware of having pain in your back, I am just saying you did not consciously choose to have pain in your back. That would pr. logic be unintelligent. So logic is you became envious unconsciously, because if you were aware enough of your body/emotions, you would not consciously choose to feel that way. So conclusions is that when you become envious, you don't know what you're doing, you are just getting controlled by life, your body, and your emotions. Swept away. No control over the "your" machine, and "your" emotions.
As emotions are in your awareness we do have at least some conscious control them, envy, sadness, whatever they may be. If you don't want to be envious, then you can consciously avoid situations in which you become that way and work out what triggers you. If you want to feel happy for a minute you can pick up a book of jokes.

Emotions may feel like they are totally out of your control but that's not the case, more often than not it's the events that trigger them which are out of our control, for instance the pain in your back. Nor are they a direct map of your unconscious self, they're only part of the story, clues to what your unconscious is up to: If it was that easy a lot of psychologists would be out of a job!
 

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As emotions are in your awareness we do have at least some conscious control them, envy, sadness, whatever they may be. If you don't want to be envious, then you can consciously avoid situations in which you become that way and work out what triggers you. If you want to feel happy for a minute you can pick up a book of jokes.

Emotions may feel like they are totally out of your control but that's not the case, more often than not it's the events that trigger them which are out of our control, for instance the pain in your back. Nor are they a direct map of your unconscious self, they're only part of the story, clues to what your unconscious is up to: If it was that easy a lot of psychologists would be out of a job!
It feels like you are never reading what I am writing. You keep talking around what I am saying. Most of the things you write, doesn't make sense if you read what I wrote.

Yes we can control our emotions. I have said that the entire time. Just like a muscle, you can develop your awareness to be strong. But what I have repeated 5 times now, is just that most people are not that aware, and that is why they unconsciously end up feeling stuff that is uncomfortable, because if you had control over your own emotions, you would not pick to feel that way. Or if you were aware enough you would just let the uncomfortable emotions pass like the weather, and know it would eventually change, so no reason to be destructive or dramatic.

It is a tad annoying you reply to me, like I am saying we can't control our emotions, and it is totally random stuff that occurs and we are helpless. When I haven't said that at all.
 

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As emotions are in your awareness we do have at least some conscious control them, envy, sadness, whatever they may be. If you don't want to be envious, then you can consciously avoid situations in which you become that way and work out what triggers you. If you want to feel happy for a minute you can pick up a book of jokes.

Emotions may feel like they are totally out of your control but that's not the case, more often than not it's the events that trigger them which are out of our control, for instance the pain in your back. Nor are they a direct map of your unconscious self, they're only part of the story, clues to what your unconscious is up to: If it was that easy a lot of psychologists would be out of a job!
Ah, okay, so if my best friend is in love and wants to share his happy moments with me, I just tell him to shut up allready? Or subtly changing the subject? Or stop seeing him? Avoiding confrontation, and not being generous towards what others have is *unconsciously* denial or rejection of that reality and basically deep down wishing they didn't have it.
 

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But what I have repeated 5 times now, is just that most people are not that aware, and that is why they unconsciously end up feeling stuff that is uncomfortable, if you had control over your own emotions, you would not pick to feel that way
And my pov (only) is we do have some control over all our emotions, bad and good, and there are various ways to increase (and probably even decrease if you want to) that control, and if you have some control it’s not fully unconscious. That’s all. Maybe still repeating, but it’s just because we disagree.



Ah, okay, so if my best friend is in love and wants to share his happy moments with me, I just tell him to shut up allready? Or subtly changing the subject? Or stop seeing him? Avoiding confrontation, and not being generous towards what others have is *unconsciously* denial or rejection of that reality and basically deep down wishing they didn't have it.
Yes absolutely avoidance usually doesn’t cut it imo. It’s like taking an antidepressant to avoid feeling sad. Sure it alters the neuro-chemistry so you feel happy, but because emotions don’t map directly to the unconscious, all the unconscious defenses which influence the way you interact with others still remain and so you still have to deal with them (and as you say denial might be one of those defenses). It's because your sadness isn’t actually a defense, it’s only an emotion.

[edit: actually I'll admit antidepressants can also be helpful sometimes for clear thinking without a cloud of emotion, so it's more a case of knowing the point in taking them]
 

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And my pov (only) is we do have some control over all our emotions, bad and good, and there are various ways to increase (and probably even decrease if you want to) that control, and if you have some control it’s not fully unconscious. That’s all. Maybe still repeating, but it’s just because we disagree.





Yes absolutely avoidance usually doesn’t cut it imo. It’s like taking an antidepressant to avoid feeling sad. Sure it alters the neuro-chemistry so you feel happy, but because emotions don’t map directly to the unconscious, all the unconscious defenses which influence the way you interact with others still remain and so you still have to deal with them (and as you say denial might be one of those defenses). It's because your sadness isn’t actually a defense, it’s only an emotion.

[edit: actually I'll admit antidepressants can also be helpful sometimes for clear thinking without a cloud of emotion, so it's more a case of knowing the point in taking them]
Well, I do think emotions can be linked to the unconscious. An example related to envy would be "schadenfreude", to be somewhat pleased by another's misfortune, for instance someone envied.

But people can be angry, even aggressive without being aware of it, or underestimate the feelings of attachment they have for someone. Or even be in a depression.
 

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It's a little complicated but envy can't be unconscious, because as far as I'm aware it's not a psychic defense as such, but you can trace it back to the other unconscious defenses fours have.

One of Freud's greatest discoveries was to observe that people used what he called defenses to protect themselves against psychic distress without realising they were doing it, and this is why he labelled defenses as unconscious. Expanding on this he came to see defenses as a manifestation of a larger unconscious self which was at odds with the rational conscious mind.

In enneagram theory fours use at least two unconscious defenses: introjection and retroflection. Introjection means an automatic understanding what someone is feeling while not taking on the reason for them feeling that way. Retroflection means you tend to blame yourself unnecessarily.

So when fours see others are happy and start to question why they are not happy too, instead of recognising the logical reasons for the other's happiness (introjection), they can instead conclude that its because they are less worthy of happiness (retroflection). It then becomes envy if this unhappiness is projected back upon the other person, but equally it can be internalised self-destructively. So yes envy isn't a given for all fours, but I get it in spades.
I'm going to disagree a bit with you, on the definition of introjection and retroflection, though I would more or less agree with the dynamic itself, so forgive me this semantic nitpicking. XD On the other hand, I believe it's better not to take symptoms for causes. Self-reinforcing and perpetuating envy may actually be considered cause for unhappiness, e.g. when "familiarity breeds contempt", etc., just like it raises an eyebrow when you suggest there are 'logical reasons for other people's happiness'. The stepping stone to happiness is being grateful for what you have and generous towards what others have, and both are diametrically opposite to envy.

Melanie Klein said:
Kleinian gratitude is diametrically opposed to envy, as envy expresses destructive drives and is usually aimed at the object that provides gratification. Therefore envy can be seen to lessen or destroy gratitude towards the good object. Gratitude is the particular affect towards an object that produces appreciation or satisfaction.
You could also link this to the 'loss of contact with the virtue of equanimity'. The integration line to One I think can be understood as 'finding center'.

Anyway, back to retroflection.

Retroflection said:
The Gestalt resistance between the stages of mobilization and action in the needs satisfaction cycle is retroflection. This occurs when a person turns his stored up, mobilized energy back upon himself instead of out into the environment. (...)

So instead of summoning up the energy to physically leave the relationship, fight back, or get help, a person engages in self-destructive acts. These might include self-harm like cutting or hitting one’s head against a wall over and over. (...)

Think about a time when you were really mad to the point of almost losing control. You may have hit your hands hard against your steering wheel when a car cut you off, or kicked some object, or punched a pillow or wall. All of these actions end up turning against your own body because it’s a way to deflect the negative outcome that would ensue from directing this action towards the person it is actually meant for.
Retroflection In Gestalt - Evolution Counseling
This is what Naranjo writes in Character and Neurosis

Naranjo CN said:
Also striking in type IV psychology (particularly as it is manifested in the therapeutic process) is the mechanism that Psychoanalysis calls “turning against the self” (roughly the same mechanism that Perls calls “retroflection”). While self-hating or self-rejection is implicit in the notion of an introjected “bad-object,” the idea of retroflection invites the thought that anger generated in consequence of frustration is aimed not only at the outer source of frustration (and to the original frustrator in one’s life) but also —in consequence of its introjection — at oneself.
And with regard to Introjection (of 'bad' object)

Naranjo CN said:
In similar fashion and more specifically (in connection with our topic) we may say that ennea-type IV internalizes parental rejection or introjects an unloving parent, and thus brings into his psyche a constellation of traits ranging from a *bad self-concept* to the *pursuit of special distinction* and involving chronic suffering and a (compensatory) dependency on external acknowledgment.
So you might say, retrojection is because of (or rooted in) the introjected 'bad' object. The anger (energy) caused by envy is aimed at oneself, becoming self-absorbed and overly self-conscious to the extent of self-loathing, rather than using the energy ('lust') for the pursuit of happiness.

I'm stressing this in particular because if we understand envy as 'competition'(and I'll come back to that later), retroflection may also explain why many 4s don't see themselves as 'competitive' and some may find it hard to acknowledge envy in themselves. Though I think this is significantly different for Sx instinct, which generally is more aggressive and competitive (not to say more predispositioned to narcissism) - hence the 'angry hateful subtype or 'mad Four' - in comparison to other instincts. sx4 may regard themselves as 'shameless' (but rather 'counters shame') much like sx6 would say he fears nothing. It's a form of the reaction-formation defense mechanism: sx6 fears his fears like sx4 is ashamed for feeling shame.

There is also a relation between introjection and envy

Introjection, according to wikipedia, "is a psychoanalytical term with a variety of meanings. Generally, it is regarded as the process where the subject replicates in itself behaviors, attributes or other fragments of the surrounding world, especially of other subjects."

I've collected a few notes on anthropological philosopher Rene Girard, who has written on the phenomenom of Envy and developed his theory of acquisitive Mimesis, envy and rivalry. Note, obviously this doesn't relate to type 4 alone, just like introjection (e.g. mimetic desire) isn't exclusive to type 4. Note 2: Not all mimetic desire is envious and competitive.

René Girard said:
Mimetic Desire
Girard claims that we learn what to desire by imitating the desires of others. This form of behavior is easiest to observe in the case of children. Put two children in a room with a hundred toys and it is quite likely that they will end up fighting over the same one. Rather than arising spontaneously or being fixed on predefined objects, each child’s desire for the object is mediated and reinforced by the desire of the other.

Girard argues that desire is ‘mimetic’ in character; our desire does not directly fix itself on objects, but is mediated by the desire of others for certain objects. Invested with the aura of the other’s desire, certain objects can become suddenly greatly desirable to us.

Rivalry
The triangularity of desire is a simple notion, but it has broad and complex implications. To begin with, it explains the obvious but otherwise perplexing fact that desire may not only cause rivalry— my mediator [the Other] automatically becomes my rival since we desire the same object -, but also depend on it— to the point that without rivalry, desire itself threatens to languish."
Rene Girard

Envy
After reflexion (but we admit rarely this fact), we envy first the one who possesses the object (this last one having finally a minor importance). And, in certain cases, we would feel more satisfaction in the fact than the Other does not possess the object, rather than to have it ourselves. (..) To fix his admiring attention on a model, it is already to recognize or to attribute to him a prestige that the subject does not have, what means noticing his own insufficiency to be. It is obviously not a really comfortable position but the man who admires and who, more, envies the Other one, is initially somebody who scorns himself intensely.
Mimetic Desire

Metaphysical Desire
Mimetic desire is only superficially a desire to have what the other has or wants. On a deeper level it is a desire to possess not the other's objects but his qualities— to be what he is. Girard's term for this is "metaphysical desire". "Imitative desire, says Girard, is always a desire to be Another. There is only one metaphysical desire but the particular desires which instantiate this primordial desire are of infinite variety." [Deceit, p. 83]. The objects desired by the other seem attractive because one feels their possession might give him a greater degree of ontological sufficiency. (...) Throughout his life he continually comes across new "others" who seem to have something of that sort of sufficiency and who arouse in him a desire to win it for himself.

(Pseudo-) Narcissism and Elitism
Pseudo-narcissism: mimesis is thus capable of engendering (apparent) self-sufficiency. Under the sway of universal mimesis, it is in fact possible for a subject to have to look no further than itself for an object of its desire, but this can only be accomplished through imitation: the subject desires herself by imitating others who desire her. But this desire emanating from the others is also a form of imitated desire. It is because the others believe that the subject desires herself that, in imitating her desire, they desire her.

Notion of indirect self-reference: the operator of reflexivity is the other's gaze. Application to 1) Self-love: I can only love myself to the extent that the others love me; 2) Self-deceit: I need the others' negative collaboration to deceive myself.

The extreme cases of pseudo-narcissism and the transition to pseudo-masochism: in advanced stages of metaphysical desire, the highest power of attraction resides in the other's pure and simple apathy, lack of spirit and intelligence. A case in point is snobism according to Proust, revisited by Girard [Deceit, Desire, and the Novel, p. 283].

(Pseudo-) Masochism and Self-Sabotage
Girard’s insight concerning mimetic desire can help us understand some of the mechanics of dysfunctional relationships and psychologies. For instance, the masochist is someone who desires the unobtainable, or always thwarts his own attempts to gain the object of his desire. He desires the failure of his desire to reach its supposed object, subconsciously aware of the fact that, if the desire were to achieve its object, it would merely have secured its own death. If the masochist were in fact to gain the object of his desire, it would cease to be desirable to him. The thing that makes the object desirable is the obstacle (whether the prohibition or the person) that obstructs the way.
Introductory Lecture Girard
The neuroscience of mimetic desire
Why Envy Hurts and why it's good for your brain
 
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