Bernard of Clairvaux and René Girard on Desire and Envy by Jonah Wharff, ocso
A feeling of incompleteness is part of the human condition. It is by comparison with others that we become aware of this feeling. We compare ourselves on the basis of comfort or feelings of well-being.We compare our insides to others’ outsides and discover a difference that is experienced as an insufficiency. The exterior of the other appears more substantial than the internal fragility of the self. Awareness of this difference leads to a sense of insecurity that is difficult to articulate. Our consumer culture capitalizes on this unease by offering us products, activities, and celebrities to distract us from anxiety over our inadequacies. Yet we continue to feel (and resent) this lack. This longing for completion is called desire.