Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jealousy vs Territoriality

An author named Raven Kaldera makes a distinction between jealousy and territoriality.

He takes the conventional view that jealousy has to do with immaturity or psychological defects. Jealousy is "an emotional response based around low self-worth and insecurity."

On the other hand, territoriality is "instinctive rather than emotional, coming out of the survival programming at the base of the brain." He says this is a "special problem for alpha types" who like to mark and defend territory.

"Territoriality doesn't go away by increasing self-esteem." It's all about this primitive, possessive animal inside us.

Kaldera says that jealousy (the self-worth issue) is dealt with by affirmations, assurance, and affection from your partner.

Territoriality (the primitive drive) is dealt with by negotiations and compromise.

However, David Buss, would say that they are one in the same. I'm halfway through The Dangerous Passion which explains how jealousy co-evolved with romantic love and how the two are inseparable. Here are some excerpts:

1. "...jealousy is a blind passion, just as our hunger for sweets and craving for companionship are blind. Jealousy is emotional wisdom, not consciously articulated, passed down to us over millions of years by our successful forebears."

2. "Despite its dangerous manifestations, jealousy helped to solve a critical reproductive quandry for ancestral men. Jealous men were more likely to preserve their valuable commitments for their own children rather than squandering them on the children of rivals."

3. "Husbands in our evolutionary past who failed to care whether a wife succumbed to sex with other men and wives who remained stoic when confronted with their husband's emotional infidelity may be admirable in a certain light.... Non jealous men and women, however, are not our ancestors, having been left in the evolutionary dust by rivals with different passionate sensibilities. We all come from a long lineage of ancestors who possessed the dangerous passion."

The studies and findings are even more interesting, but that's enough to start a discussion. So what do you think? Is jealousy an esteem deficiency or emotional wisdom?


Anonymous TopLevel said...

'Jealousy is emotional wisdom' Hmmm, I'm not sure about this. Mainly becuse of my own experiences in getting caught up in jealousy, have been mainly negative. Usually when I've reacted to jealusly it's made me feel weaker and only caused me to feel worth.

I can't think of any examples when it's been useful. It could be useful if it enables you to step back and look at a situation where you may be failing in a certain area, and then change that behaviour.

But really how many of us have that ability to detach?

November 25, 2009  
Anonymous MeanMachine said...

It depends on your own personal definition of the word Jealousy. For the most part to me Jealously is a bad thing. It is the sense that you may lose what you have.

If there is jealousy in your relationship it is not a good thing. Your partner will always wonder and that doubt with fester and grow.

As far as jealousy being an evolutionary concept. A bunch of BS with backwards rationalization.

November 25, 2009  
Blogger Dasani said...

Jealousy, as I see it, is an expression of some internal feeling that somehow we have or deserve ownership of the person/thing that we are jealous of.

In the instance of property, it's pretty easy to dismiss somebody's jealousy as petty or stupid, If you're jealous that that guy has a Ferrari, work harder and get one for yourself instead of feeling as though somehow that Ferrari should be yours.

When it comes to women (or men) people think they have a right to be jealous in "certain circumstances" as if any circumstance were ever OK to dictate the behavior or feelings of another person (as in, slavery). Following from my premise above, if a person, for example, experiences jealousy over a partner spending time with another man/woman, they are expressing their feeling that they have a right to dictate what that person does with their life and time, that they own, at least to some degree, that person.

In my opinion, no person is entitled by any right to one minute of my life or time, and I try to extend the same courtesy to the women in my life.

That being said,of course I get jealous sometimes, and I think both arguments about self esteem and biology have some merit, but I'm an intellectual, rational guy and I think my own explanation is more human.

November 25, 2009  
Blogger SMoKeLioN said...

I dont believe theres anything wrong with jealousy, so long as you are conscious of it and dont let it control you. Once that happens, you realize its just another form of fear, and not an immediacy.

November 27, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jealousy can be either. A needy guy will experience jealousy for women who he doesn't even like that much because he is by definition needy. A guy who has his internal beliefs handled will still experience jealousy, but it is more territorial, and probably as a result of emotional wisdom

It should also be noted that jealousy is fundamentally different in men and women. Women are attracted to guys who can get other women, and even more so if they've been cheated on. For men, I think that jealousy is probably more along the lines of emotional intelligence.

December 01, 2009  
Blogger Ben said...

I think it's easy to say Jealousy has no basis in evolution etc but it's simply not true. Some of the above posts are based in the context of today's world that we are simply not evolved for (as in society and technology).

To be emotionally intelligent about how we ACT on our jealous feelings and address what has triggered them is paramount. To ignore your emotions is to lose your humanity (or choosing not to make a decision about anything for that matter).

So I think that acting intelligently on these emotions is being territorial and protecting what you value (this doesn't have to imply ownership at all)

But being jealous is acting unintelligently on these emotions.

But in saying this, I think Jealous/territorial are just words to describe the same behavioural motivator in different frames.

December 13, 2009  
Blogger Niranjan Samuel said...

As humans we all have our flaws and eevryone gets jealous about something at some point. Jealousy is like force that seeks a reaction out of you and kind of reaction we as human specially "alpha" males portray out of this explains "jealousy" in their own terms. When I'm jealous, I feel vulnerable and but also makes me realise that I really like something. In the pickup comminuty jealousy is considered as a big NO-NO & PUAs are never jealous. I totally disagree to this. Firstly, we are all humans before we are PUA and we all connect at a level of humanity. Dont know if my whole comment is associated with the article at all but I would like to think so ;-) but bottom is jealousy could be anything based on how we earct to it......

January 22, 2010  

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