'I'm also polyamorous', said my friend. 'But only one way. I can see myself with many women, but I couldn't stand my wife being with many men. I'm just a jealous person.'
My friend has an IQ of 145. That means his rational mind functions better than 99% of the population. But in 5 words he dismissed any ability to develop and resolve his own emotions. And that means he is - in my opinion - a fool.
Jealousy & the Reptilian Mind
The jealousy impulse comes from the reptilian brain ~ the unconscious and oldest part of the brain concerned with survival. It is the mind seeking to objectify the fear experienced when the reptilian mind perceives a threat.
The fight for survival occupies our reptilian mind all of the time. In 2001 David Icke laid out how The Reptilian Mind's impulses manifest in 'territoriality' and 'will-to-power' (the stuff of classic Hollywood movies). And yet our reptilian mind cannot be trusted to do what is best for our survival. It acts according to old patterns laid down after past events which may or may not have any bearing on how we operate in modern times or as adults.
If the reptilian mind were allowed to govern without reason it would destroy our society as we know it; in fact it is what drove (and in some areas of the world continues to drive) nations to war and destruction. In order to regulate the impulses of our reptilian mind we have put into place laws constructed from the rational mind. Because the rational mind KNOWS - for example - that killing each other in the name of territory is not a matter of survival - in fact it is the opposite of survival. But sometimes, the reptile in us even flouts laws to get its way. Jealousy is another mechanism which serves no purpose in terms of survival. In a word, reptilian impulses (which are still used by many animals to survive) are usually no longer required by adult humans to survive.
Jealousy in Relationships
In any relationship, jealousy means that the mind has decided you need the other person to survive because you think you will be incomplete without them. Jealousy is the flip side of insecurity; and this is learned. But which old pattern does it come from? Originally insecurity is rooted in childhood. It manifests itself during the time you grow and separate from your mother (who was once a part of you). The mind perceives it as a loss of the self and creates insecurity as a means of survival. After all, if your mother were to disappear before you are able to take care of yourself, it might mean death. But this pattern established in our formative years, no longer serves us as adults. Losing someone no longer means death. Rationally we know it. And yet relationship after relationship we reinforce it (some idiots even sing about it).
For me, a polyamorous relationship is about conscious choice; but even for those who don't choose it, they admit that such an openness must bring about a constant re-examination of the relationship. It challenges the emotions. Jealousy is a symptom of an underlying issue of your own insecurity and fear. The question is of what. Is your relationship in danger of breaking up? Then your jealousy is shouting at you to 'wake the fuck up' and work on it. And if your relationship is fine (polyamorous or otherwise) it tells you that you have deeper rooted self-esteem issue. How much happier you would be if you started working on it! In either sense it is far from being a demon. It's an opportunity. I throw my arms open wide and say to Jealousy, 'Come on in old friend, I'm so glad you're here. What is it you want me to work on?'
So isn't it a pity that in our society, jealousy - such a wonderful red flag - is suppressed or worse validated. In many cases like my friend, it's worn like a proud badge ~ 'I'm a jealous person'. It's like saying 'Yes, my insecurity is a great thing. I like to feed it and have no intention of solving it. In fact I prefer to criticise and oppress others to try and make it flourish better.' We live in a fool's paradise which lauds emotional intelligence and yet has no structure to develop it. Our emotions make us feel uncomfortable so instead we build controls to avoid facing them. We crown our maturity by learning how to drive, learning how to have sex and learning how to drink. And then repress the very tools our minds provide which would help us actually become an adult.
Cross posted at Postmodern Woman & Multiple Match