Anacondas, Truth and Envy

I saw two documentaries on the Anaconda, those infamous boas of the genus Eunectes. The first was a nature show that identified the Anaconda as one of the twenty deadliest critters on earth. The second, in stark contrast, featured a husband/wife team of scientists who walk through the swamps of South America (barefoot!) in order to catch, weigh, measure and take DNA samples from the Anacondas, using nothing but their bare hands!

What gives? It was shocking to see how differently the same subject could be described, but I suppose this occurs frequently as there are as many perspectives on a situation as there are participants and observers. Even when you supposedly “stick to the facts” as these two documentaries did, what is highlighted and how it is portrayed makes an enormous difference in the overall presentation.

Portrait of Anais Nin taken in NYC in 70s by Elsa Dorfman

Anais Nin once said: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Bias in reporting is inevitable and you don’t have too look farther than the various news sources to see how background agendas condition the way an event is reported. Heck, just hearing both sides of a playground story from two children will demonstrate the same phenomenon.

I imagine that the “purer the heart” of the observer, the closer you would get to the truth of the matter. While we’re on the topic, what is “truth?”

There are many theories as to what truth actually is. Some claim it is relative, others see it as subjective, objective or even, absolute. Some argue that given enough time humanity will come to know all truth, while others see the human intellect as being limited, capable of “grokking” only so much of it.

The wonderful thing about truth is that no amount of human opinion or belief can modify even a jot of truth. Truth just plain is. Further, truth is perceptible to the human mind and heart, so, don’t despair if you’ve had a hard time finding it of late!

"Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy" from Wikipedia

There are many things which are unfortunately common in the world today which stand in the way of getting to know truth. One of which is envy. Francois Lemoyne created a dramatic painting depicting time saving truth from falsehood an envy. Unfortunately, given the twisted often polluted state of the human mind and heart, time is the only thing which allows for the revelation of the truth. “Time,” as they say, “will tell.”

Envy and jealousy are the magnifiers of trifles. William Shakespeare said in Othello “Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of Holy Writ.” No matter how you look at it, envy causes a distortion in perception much like an eyelash in the eye. The disturbance caused by envy upsets the balance of perspective by distorting emphasis.

What you emphasize colors how you see the world. If you are stuck in a loop of wanting what others have or even more importantly, if you are in the habit of undervaluing yourself and your perspective, take note! You will feel as though the truth is unattainable.

Conversely, if your come to terms with your value – for starters by valuing what is present with you now – your decisions, your thoughts and your heart will begin to hew more accurately to the truth.

5 thoughts on “Anacondas, Truth and Envy

  1. Lady Leo

    My grandmother used to say “Envy is counting another person’s blessings instead of your own.” It made sense even as a child. I’ve also heard it said that if envy was an object it would be in the shape of a boomerang; there’s a backlash to it. There are ups and downs in everyone’s life. I think kids learn this one by watching adults. What do you say when the neighbor gets a new car? What do you say when someone has obviously worked on their appearance? What do you say when you see someone you haven’t seen in a while? Kids listen. It’s also one of the rare things in life we have complete control over. Crucial subject, thanks for bringing it up.

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  2. Kolya

    In my experience, envy and jealously are probably the most destructive of emotions, wrecking havoc on their host and those around them. To want to be in someone else’s shoes or to want want someone else has reveals a lack of valuing who you are and a disregard for the opportunities you have.

    As you mentioned, there are many ways to see things and there can even be many ways related to the truth of a situation. When you’re stuck, it’s always helpful to step back (from yourself and the situation) to emphasize the big picture, too.

    Thanks for your thoughts this a.m.

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  3. Colin

    I really like the implications of your last sentence. Just because you begin to value yourself and cease envying does not mean you will see all truth immediately, but it does mean that you will begin to move in the right direction. Purification of the heart is not an instant thing. In our new world of immediate gratification, this is a process that requires patience, consistency, and discipline. But the great news is that as your heart purifies and you begin to “hew to the truth” more accurately, you know your next steps to continue the purification process.

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