I recently picked up an interetsing non-fiction book from the library. It’s called The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is As Necessary As Love and Sex. As you can tell from title, it explores the idea that we have to have jealousy in our human lives. This is unique from most views on jealousy since the general thought on the topic is that jealousy is a bad thing and we need to expunge it from our personalities.
The book presents theories as to why jealousy exists. These theories are mostly rooted in the science of evolution. There have been reasons over time that it made sense to be jealous in order to protect our species. A very abbreviated version of the general theory of the book is that jealousy in the past may have prevented or deterred infidelity which increased the likelihood of successful mating and therefore the reproduction of the species.
The book points to numerous examples of this over time and suggests that this jealousy is ingrained into us at a biological / evolutionary level. It’s an interesting idea. The book takes us through a scientific exploration of what jealousy is, how it manifests itself today and what conclusions we can draw about this emotion. And it reveals the idea that jealousy does have an important place in our emotional lives even though we sometimes deny its validity.
The book can get very academic at times. It cites a lot of studies and statistics which I admittedly sometimes skimmed over because they were excessive. However, it also provides some really interesting information from a scientific perspective. It also provides neat facts about jealousy in different cultures. (I laughed aloud at the description of how Samoan women have been known to approach a woman who has had an affair with her husband and to bite her on the nose to reduce her attractiveness.) Worth taking a gander at if you’re interested in human emotion and relationships.