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IF YOU have the extra time, you might want to check up and read an article posted online in the Guardian, “The Age of Envy” by Moya Sarner, an award-winning freelance journalist. That might perhaps half-explain the presence of what seems to be a constant, low-hanging dark cloud of resentment over social media posts, especially that of two days ago.

 The recent ring defeat of our one and only Pambansang Kamao (national fist) had once again brought to the surface a colorful combination of Pinoy left and right comments that, more than anything, shamefully pales in comparison to the actual and exciting action that happened inside the boxing ring last Sunday.

As it were, the old aphorism ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words would never break me’, might apply in this case. It also rings true that, since his rise to fame, all these snide remarks and hits mean nothing to the legend who turns 42 in a few months. However, the continuous flak of comments has not receded one bit. And at this, we have to now ask the question, what has that got to do with our lives really?

Surely, if one only posted that ‘so what’ question online and safe to say, it’s going to be more accurate than Pacquiao’s final punch last Sunday in Las Vegas. After all, a straight jab to the mouth might silence critics because, whatever happened to being happy for what another has accomplished?

Sadly, comments ranging from Manny as having a world-class hubris, lusting for more fame and money, plus other below-the-belt tirades like him being too old, etc., stem from a dark side that can’t merely be explained to be malicious, trying to be funny or immature thinking. It resides in this dark side within us that’s where the root of all our discontent dwells.

And experts now say, social media has been the one-key (just like Tolkien’s One Ring) that’s been instrumental to opening this, our very own Pandora’s box.

The root of present-day envy? Sarner had said, “Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us.”  Emphasis on the last three words. She says that several psychologists have noted that, among their patients, this seemingly-perfect or photoshopped world being propagated by social media platforms has all but exposed one of the deadly sins, which is envy.

One clinical psychologist, Rachel Andrew had written that our regular usage of online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, despite affording us with self-value lean-tos, have also awakened a deep-seated emotion, envy of what others have achieved. “I think what social media has done is make everyone accessible for comparison,” she explains. “In the past, people might have just envied their neighbors, but now we can compare ourselves with everyone across the world.” It’s quite revealing actually. Of course, growing up, I’ve heard of the grass being greener but I’ve always attributed it to motivation. So enough already. 


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