Crossdressing is about Envy

Recently I’ve been pondering the nature of crossdressing desires and have become convinced that a significant component of cross dressing is envy or coveting.  I think crossdressing is sinful and harmful for many reasons, from its perversion, to the addictive destructive nature, to its objectification of women, to the possible connection to idolatry.   But envy is one more powerful reason that I think crossdressing is sinful.

Coveting or envy is a really big deal to God.  Envy or coveting is a problematic strong desire for something which we do not have but which others possess, whether their belongings, success, position, or advantages.  As a sin, envy is so destructive, so important, that it made it into the Ten Commandments – God’s commandments which summarize God’s entire Law in the Bible.  Exodus 20:17 gives us commandment #10 of the Ten Commandments.

17You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

 

What are crossdressing desires if not envy?  We want what females have, things that do not properly belong to us.  We envy the beauty of females.  We crave and desire that beauty.  We want it for ourselves.  We want to be as beautiful as the women we see or imagine.  We envy the feeling of “being beautiful.”  Is it any surprise that crossdressers are so vain?  We spend hours in front of the mirror striving for perfection in our beauty and admiring ourselves.

We envy the feminine experience.  We want to experience what it is like to be a woman or a girl.  We want to experience how men treat women or how they treat beautiful women.  We want to be treated chivalrously.  We want to experience the freedom women have to give in to specific emotions or behaviors that our culture tends to not be so accepting of with men.  We envy that women get to feel sexy, sensual, spontaneous, daring, free from responsibility, provocative, cute, free to giggle, be expressive, vulnerable, sensitive, flirtatious, or gentle.  We improperly think that we shouldn’t show these feelings as much as men, so we envy women being able to have these feelings, and when we crossdress we then feel free to give in to these feelings.   A blogging friend has done an excellent job of cataloging his feelings of this nature that he had when crossdressing.  Some of the thoughts in this paragraph come from him.  Check out Shards of Narsil’s very thought provoking post called  –  Underlying feelings – Wants & Needs.

We envy the feminine grace of the female body.  We envy the curves, the breasts, the graceful walking, and the way women dance.  We might even envy the way women hold utensils or the way they wear purses.  We want to copy the feminine grace and have it for ourselves.

We envy specific articles of clothing, whether we see them online, or in a magazine, in a store, or in our wife’s closet.  We envy those objects and covet them to such a degree that they consume our thoughts and hinder us from getting our work done.  We covet them so much that we take foolish risks to obtain those articles of clothing even if it means a storekeeper finding out about our crossdressing, or a wife catching us in the act, or us losing our jobs by being found out.

We envy the soft or silky feel of the clothing.  We envy the beautiful colors of the clothing.  We envy the beauty of the feminine face with makeup.  We envy the beauty of shiny painted nails.  We envy the cool look of high heels.  We envy what we perceive as the ability to dress in a sexy way.  We envy the female clothing that we perceive as more comfortable.

In some cases we envy having a more beautiful wife or woman in our life, but instead of acting out in pornography or adultery, we act out by creating our own private woman through distorting the image of ourselves.

For those who struggle with transgender feelings, I think it is much the same.  They envy the experience of being a woman, and envy the female body.  They want to be a woman.  They think it would be easier, or that it fits their personality or soul better.  They envy the female body and want a female body for their own, even though God created them with a male body.  They envy, in their perception, what it would mean to be and live as a woman.  They envy some of the cultural stereotypes of women in our culture.

In short, to summarize all of this, we as crossdressers envy “the feminine,” anything and everything related to feminine beauty.  We want what females have, things that do not properly belong to us.  When we crossdress, it is almost like stealing because of our covetous desires.  We wear things that aren’t fitting for the men we truly are.  We wear clothing that is not intended for us.  For some other good posts that touch on crossdressing and envy, read these two posts by my friend Ikthys – Closeness – and Perks.

 

I realize that the Bible stating that crossdressing is sinful is not enough for most crossdressers.  That makes sense to me.  If you are not a Christian, why care at all about what the Bible says?  And even if you are a Christian, it’s hard to look at Deuteronomy 22:5 and obey it when there is no explanation of why crossdressing is sinful.  But if we stop and think of reasons why it would be sinful, like that it is consumed with envy, then we have a stronger case to believe that crossdressing is sinful.

Unless you think envy and coveting are no big deal, this is yet another reason to stop crossdressing.  It’s yet one more reason that I’m glad to have it out of my life.  I’m pretty sure that it’s general knowledge and generally accepted by psychologists that people who live with envy and covetousness are not happy people.  They are always wanting something more than what they have.  I remember that during my time as a crossdresser, even if I would eventually be able to wear a certain article of clothing that I coveted, I immediately started coveting a new article of clothing.  It was a never ending cycle.

And if we as cross-dressers are coveting being women, we will never be happy.  We will never be able to obtain that which we covet. You will never truly be a woman even if you get a sex change.  It is impossible for you to have the experience of normal biological real women.  There is a good chance that you’d never be happy.  But if we quit envying what we don’t have, and start enjoying who we are and what God has given us, then we can be happy.

Contentment is one of the secrets to happiness.  I admit, I not only have envious crossdressing desires, but I envy women.  I would rather be a woman if I got to choose.  But if I dwell on that envy, and give in to it, I’d only be sinning and be unhappy.  Like all sins, envy enslaves us.  I don’t want to be in bondage to envy or any other sin.   I have been learning to be content without crossdressing, and content being a man rather than a woman.  This decision has made me the happiest I’ve been in my life, and the most free I’ve felt in my life.

41 comments on “Crossdressing is about Envy

  1. ikthys says:

    Your growing list of serious objections is getting stronger all the time :) Good post. I think you that beneath the overarching issue of covetting what is not ours, you also have two other issue going on here- one is learning contentment and self-discipline rather than giving in to our cravings and yearning, and unbridled self-pleasure seeking. The other is more specifically related to the way we view women- instead of with love for their person, with an eye that objectifies their very selves, and also seeks to own their “essence”. All bad, all bad. It’s crazy- I never felt that guilty about what I was seeking way back then. It seemed more like I was just trying to deal with my hurt and feelings, etc. But I really was giving in to covetousness. I really was choosing the “safe sins” according to my own judgment. If somebody could have reached me to show me the connection to covetting, I would have cringed at violating the commandment. Thanks again for being one of the only voices in the world available for people like us.

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  2. thorin25 says:

    Thanks for the comment Ikthys. I have the same type of discoveries reading your blog. It’s interesting how powerful sin is, both to blind us and deceive us. When we were giving in to crossdressing in the past we didn’t realize how problematic our actions really were. Now that we have stopped and look back, we see all kinds of ways we were hurting ourselves and being deceived.

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  3. Shaun says:

    Thank you for all of your posts. I have, like all who may be reading your posts, struggled on and off with crossdressing from an early age. Since I accepted Christ, the guilt I’ve felt had been magnified even though there is no condemnation for those in Christ. It is refreshing to know I’m not alone in this struggle. Your thoughts are very helpful and these ideas on envy as a sinful root for my dressing are spot on! If you formed it as a list I would check every box. I’m praying for deliverance from this stronghold and in the meantime I thank you for your honesty in your own struggles.

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  4. thorin25 says:

    Thanks for the note of encouragement Shaun. Check out my email prayer chain page. You might be interested. Otherwise keep reading, and I will pray for you right now that God gives you freedom from bondage to crossdressing. And that you fight crossdressing not mostly out of guilt, but mostly out of gratitude for God’s love and salvation.

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  5. Ralph says:

    Since Shaun’s comments brought this old discussion thread back to the forefront, I am reminded of a recent blog article along these same lines, except the author crosses the line from envy to a jaw-dropping sexist arrogance. If it had just been the one author I would have forgotten about it and moved on, but what really blew my mind was the enthusiastic support he got from numerous commenters.

    The general premise was that women today have dropped the ball (my wording, not his, so any double entendre here is unintentional) in terms of representing the feminine ideal, and therefore crossdressers are now better women than women are. We care more about our appearance, he said; we spend more time in a mirror making sure we look just right; we make sure to keep up with the latest fashions and maintain a large variety of shoes and accessories to go with any occasion. By way of contrast, he went on at length in disparaging terms about his own wife who only has two or three pair of shoes and still wears the same dress years after it has gone out of fashion and is showing signs of wear.

    There have been other things from my “brother” crossdressers that made me angry, but this was the first time I had an overwhelming desire to reach through the computer screen and strangle the arrogant schmuck. Instead I had to content myself with a lecture (which fell on deaf ears, I’m sure) about how his wife can’t afford to keep her appearance up to his standards first because she’s too busy, you know, earning a living and what money she doesn’t spend on groceries and rent he’s blowing on more clothes for himself.

    All of which makes for a major plank in the “crossdressing is bad for you” platform — at its heart, it is a selfish desire. I can’t even claim innocence myself for all my bleating that “I’m different, so those problems don’t apply to me” — I have knowingly spent money on clothes for myself when I knew my wife was denying herself to keep up with the bills, or when Christmas or a birthday was coming up and I had not yet bought anything for someone else.

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  6. thorin25 says:

    Ralph, I understand your frustration. I feel it too. I guess we have to keep loving such people and gently pointing out that in thinking they can be better women than women themselves, they are actually being patriarchal and sexist to the most fundamental and perverted degree. Uh, I appreciate your comment, but now I’m trying not to get all angry and fired up. But what just helped me while I’m trying to hold down my anger, was to realize that I have had similar thoughts as those people have. I really really hate to admit it. But I have thought at times that I could be a better woman than my wife, better with fashions, better with being sexual, being a better wife, being better with kids, etc. I’m sickened at myself right now remembering those thoughts. I am sinful and need God’s grace like all of us. Thank you Lord Jesus for your forgiveness. Ralph your comment reminds me of my post – http://healingcd.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/becoming-the-woman-my-wife-is-not/

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  7. Sensitive Guy says:

    In my case, envy was very important. My mother tells me that she wanted a daughter when I was born, and she was disappointed, I was a clingy baby, always wanted to be carried, and never leaving my mother alone. Shortly after my birth my mother was pregnant again. This time she gave birth to a daughter, and that was the happiest day of my mother’s life. After that she was burdened by having to carry a baby in each arm. My sister received the most attention. She received pretty things, clothes, painted nails, shiny things to put in her long hair. I was envious. I thought that my mother would love me more if I was born a girl. I grew up believing that girls had it better in life, All of society valued girls above boys, because they were smarter and better looking, boys were just trouble. I wanted the attention and love I saw my sister receiving. Then I started raiding my mom’s closet, and I told everyone I was “playing mommy”. My mother didn’t want me going through her closet,and I was often punished for doing so. At one point my mother’s solution was to make me my own play clothes. She was a very good seamstress and began making me a pretty party dress with a petticoat. She would call me over to try it on as she went along,. I loved it, and would twirl around admiring the way the petticoat rustled and the skirt would lift. At one point it only needed the back zipper attached and my mother let me play with it, and then my father stepped in. There was shouting, I ended up crying and that was the end of that dress. I went through a form of aversion therapy. All this happened before I started school. At school I was a regular boy. I played with the boys, made friends, and never regretted being a boy, although I still believed girls had it better in life.

    Cross-dressing faded away for a few years, until I reached puberty. When I was 11 years old I discovered that just touching some feminine clothing gave me a thrill. There was this very pretty dress that I wanted to try on. I remember my whole body was shaking as a release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters rushed through my body. I was immediately addicted. .Yes, typical of many cross-dressers, I was a sensitive boy, with a low self esteem. And surprisingly, everyone in my family seems to have forgotten my early childhood cross-dressing play,and no one ever knew about my fetish. Many, many years have passed, and I still feel as if I am struggling for my mother’s love. I rarely cross-dress anymore, but I will admit that it still gives me a sense of well-being, comfort, gratification, fulfillment, and it makes me feel pretty.

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  8. thorin25 says:

    That is an emotionally stirring story. I wonder how much of what you wrote is true for all of us whether we remember it or not. In my recovery from crossdressing, I’ve been trying to realize that I am loved by God, and am beautiful in his eyes. With the kind of love I have from God I don’t need to crossdress in order to feel comfort or pretend that others think I am pretty because I look like a girl. I think we associate those tender feelings with femininity and so we feel those things to some degree while crossdressing. The goal I believe is to learn how to feel those things in healthy true ways in our real lives, from God, and from others, instead of finding those feelings through fabric that was not made for our bodies.

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  9. Ralph says:

    Sensitive Guy’s story about that first contact at age 11 sure struck a chord with me. And oh, the self-esteem issues. I was very sickly at birth, spent my first three years in the hospital more than out of it, and consequently was never strong enough to play sports. Add to that a father who was impossible to please and the traumatic death of my sister when I was very young, and I was a walking bucket of tears most of the time, afraid of my own shadow.

    So now you’ve got me wondering… maybe my attraction to the clothes was because my brain was saying “If I were a girl, it would be OK to be sensitive and frail.”

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  10. Sensitive Guy says:

    Thanks Thorin;
    I assure you it is all true. The part about my mother wanting a girl when I was born, and how my sister’s birth was the happiest day of her life, comes directly from my mother. She often told us these stories and that’s how we learned about ourselves as babies. I do remember all of the “playing mommy” and the dress incident very clearly. Another incident that I clearly recall was one Easter/Spring season when my mother made herself and my sister matching dresses. My mother was so happy and proud to walk around dressed with her matching daughter. I was not happy about this. This made me feel like someone kicked me in the stomach. Yes, I was envious of my sister’s relationship with our mom. Looking back, I know my mom loved me, and I have to admit that my parents were good parents. However childhood perception (however unjustified), becomes our personal reality. I believe that during early childhood my brain became programmed to interpret cross-dressing as actual contact with a female. When I reached puberty this took on sexual overtones. As we mature cross-dressing has less and less to do with sexual gratification, and more to do with sensations of well-being, comfort and stress reduction.

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  11. Kristjan Birnir says:

    Envy is part of seven deadly sins, another concept in Christianity just saying. And most argument for crossdressing don’t hold much water when you start to review them with logic.

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  12. Kristjan Birnir says:

    I did like pick up on what Thorin25 said about fabrics, and ad that those that base personallity on what fabric hey are wering have pretty shallow personality. If you ask me. sine original idea of clothes was to keep us warm not dress up our persona.

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  13. thorin25 says:

    Yes envy is no small matter. In American culture we tend to think it’s no big deal, but it is indeed sin.

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  14. Wosret says:

    I don’t envy women, or care too much about being attractive to myself. It does seem that a hetero crossdresser could become confused in this way, and think that they must not be beautiful at all, because they aren’t beautiful to themselves like women are to them? When it is framed in this way, rather than a desire to express a genuine femininity, and superficiality being the only, or best way one can think of to go about it.

    They also say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Wish is what crossdressing appears to be to me, especially when framed in such a way as wishing to be like respected female figures, for their beauty and appearance. It would only be envy, or coveting if it was of specific things, owned by women, that you wish to have, and take from them, depriving them of those things — but it is no more envy when a man wishes to imitate woman, or females, than when a woman does it. After all, every individual woman doesn’t set the standards of femininity, dress, fashion, style, or set the trends, and hand down the archetypes for the next generation to emulate. Most people are imitation, or emulating each other — even in the case of Christ, we wish to be like him, to emulate his beautiful qualities (and what more accurately describes the highest of moral characters, and actions than beauty?), but unless we wish to steal his character specifically, rather than learn from, and imitate it, until we have integrated those qualities into our own lives, it is not envy, but the highest of compliments.

    Just in your respect, and wish to emulate the beautiful, both physically, and spiritually, I think that highlights your aesthetic eye. Your discernment for what is beautiful — and in my view, there is no distinction between truth and beauty. The truth is beautiful, and the beautiful is true.

    Jesus said to love God, and your neighbor as yourself, and all else will flow naturally from that. Augustine of Hippo said: ” Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.”

    I see no wickedness in you; love, and trust in yourself.

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  15. thorin25 says:

    Hi Wosret, you raise interesting points. I do believe as you say, that we should emulate Christ. And so you seem to be asking, why is it wrong to emulate the beauty of women? That is an interesting direction to go.

    One problem is that it is a denial of the beauty God created in us, our masculine beauty. He made men and women distinct, with two different types of beauty, and we should accept who we are, and not try to be the other.

    With Christ, he calls us to imitate him. Paul called his Christians to imitate him. These scenarios are different because they are the same and are supposed to act the same, they are all Christians. Men and women are different and have different bodies. They aren’t supposed to be the same. Clothing made for women doesn’t fit men. The reason it is coveting and not emulation is that men, even crossdressers, know that it was not made for them and their bodies and they want it, even though they know they are not supposed to have it.

    In fact, crossdressers and transsexuals covet the experiences of women, and the bodies of women, even when they give full vent to their crossdressing desires. Crossdressers made be fully dressed, but still know they are incomplete, still know they are a man in a dress, and they covet having a real female body. The same goes for transsexuals.

    I don’t think it has to be “a specific dress owned by a woman” to be coveting. The things of women belong to women, and the things of men belong to men. You can covet that which does not belong to your group, just as you can covet that which does not belong to you as an individual.

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  16. Wosret says:

    As I outlined, envy, and coveting doesn’t apply in the general case. As I explained, it isn’t wrong to want a wife, a donkey, an ox, a manservant and maidservant, and such, it is wrong to want your neighbor’s specifically. If coveting applied in the general, and wasn’t a commandment against desiring forbidden things, that belong to someone else — then it would be a sin to desire anything at all. I think that it is an awful stretch to attempt to make this commandment apply in the general, rather than particular; in which case wanting anything at all that you do not currently possess, regardless of whether they are unavailable for being already possessed by someone else, that you would need to steal from, or take from in order to acquire — would be a sin, would be to covet. I think that this is a clearly unreasonable interpretation,

    As for men and women having different beauty, that is that interesting way to go — but is there any biblical grounds for it — it seems rather fashioned from whole cloth. Although, Aristotle said something like that, that women possessed beauty, while men wielded it. Or women just were beautiful, whereas men could be beautiful in conduct, or could behave beautifully. I disagree with Aristotle however, I believe that their convergence is possible in both genders.

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  17. thorin25 says:

    As I was saying, I think the type of envy I am talking about with crossdressing is not just a neutral desire, but a desire for something specific that doesn’t belong to us. I don’t know how to say it clearer than in my previous comment. I guess we just see this in different ways.

    I fully agree with you that we can’t define envy as desiring anything that we don’t have. Desire itself for many things is very good.

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  18. Wosret says:

    So, as long as one doesn’t covet a specific person’s body parts, clothing, etc, then they are all good — and someone is perfectly capable of doing that for their own gender. Like wanting Arnold Schwarzsenegger’s biceps, or Jennifer Lopaz’s rear-end — which wouldn’t matter which gender you were. It wouldn’t be as if it is okay to covet someone else’s stuff as long as you were a man, or a woman.

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  19. thorin25 says:

    Yes but you missed my earlier point. It is also envy to desire what belongs to another group, not just to another individual. It is a cop out to say that we can desire a vagina as long as it isn’t the specific vagina of a specific woman. Vaginas belong to women as a group, not to men. To envy them is sinful.

    Furthermore, keep in mind that coveting something that you have a right to, can still be sinful (and destructive to one’s happiness and wellbeing). Single people have a right to be married, but if they covet marriage to an unhealthy degree this is sinful and not good for them. Contentment is what God calls us to.

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  20. Wosret says:

    You’re making the fallacy of misplaced concreteness by reifying the general, and conflating it with the particular. You equivocate between women as a category, and women as a group in order to attempt to reify the general. All of the women on earth, taken as a group are a collection of particular women, and to desire anything that any of them possess, that is unavailable to you, that would deprive any of them of that thing, would be to covet, or envy. Those all of the particular women on earth do not exhaust the abstract general category “women”. Nor can this abstract category possess anything, as it isn’t consistent of particular individuals, but general features, abstracted from particular individuals.

    Also, again, to say that you can covet something you have the right to is to misuse language. I’ve shown both that your uses of the words do not follow from the definitions, and that they do not apply in the general.

    This is uncontroversial, and is easy for anyone with a dictionary to verify.

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  21. thorin25 says:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/covet?s=t

    Covet can mean to eagerly desire something. I verified with a dictionary. What I said is fine. Or to have an inordinate desire, which was exactly what I was getting at, a desire that is okay, but inordinately strong making someone unhappy because they don’t have it.

    To take another example about the group thing, pick out an aspect of animal existence that humans don’t have. If we were to spend our time coveting that animal characteristic we would be coveting something that belongs to the group or category of animal, that doesn’t belong to us. Which I would still say is coveting.

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  22. thorin25 says:

    Wosret, you said, “You gave this definition: “to wish for, especially eagerly”, without giving this half of it: “He won the prize they all coveted.” Referring to a specific thing, and placing the object of the eager wish to be an unavailable, specific possession of someone else. I didn’t respond because I have half that people can read for themselves, and wouldn’t be fooled by such obvious obfuscation.”

    If you look at the dictionary link again you can see that number 3 usage is just an inordinate desire, and I have explained above what I think an inordinate desire is. If you scroll down on that link to the world english dictionary, you’ll see that covet means to eagerly desire something, “especially” the property of another person, which means it doesn’t have to be the property of another person. That is just the main usage.

    Regardless, even if somehow I was using these words not quite correctly (which I fully disagree with right now) coveting or envy are the most fitting words I can think of for the concept I am trying to explain. Sometimes language is limited and we have to make do with what we have. My post makes complete sense of my life and feelings I had about crossdressing. And I’ve been told by many many others, not only in the comments above, but in many email conversations, that it speaks to their experience as well.

    I looked at the link on the commandment you suggested I read, and here is a quote from it – “It is an imperative against setting one’s desire on things that are forbidden.” Your link also talks about how in the New Testament we are told not to covet money and possessions, which is not referring to the specific possession of someone else, but money and possessions in general.

    Last, this whole conversation about words is pointless, because I have tried to demonstrate, without much of a response from you, that what I am talking about ACTUALLY IS coveting the specific things that belong to someone else, and not just a general desire. I’ve explained that these are things that belong to another group, men vs. women. It would be like one town envying the goods and treasures of another town. Or one species envying what another species have. I think this is common sense, as do most of my other readers, and see no reason why you take issue with this.

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  23. Wosret says:

    Dictionaries don’t define words, they capture common usage. My understanding of the concept comes from my study of psychology — and as I already freely admitted, you can pick vague definitions, and interpret them like that — but that is not how they have been understood in their analyses by theologians, and psychologists, and I challenged you to produce an analyses that agreed with you. It seems quite obvious to me, that you wish to support a conclusion by compiling evidence around it, rather than following the evidence to a conclusion.

    The important thing, is the intention of the commandment, not possible meanings of the word in common usage. I admittedly overstated my case when I said that no such meaning was possible — of course any word can mean anything if enough people start using it that it, it will make its way into the dictionary. I overstated much, and untactfully in that reply because I was pissed off, attempting to ram my points home, and not thinking clearly. I apologize for that. I am though, only human.

    I did give a rebuttal to your suggesting that the desires were of specific things, and not general things. I explained that this is a conflating between groups and categories. “a vagina” doesn’t exist, it is a general thing. Only specific vaginas exist. To say that someone covets a specific thing, means that they covet something that can be pointed to, that physically exists. Jennifer Lopaz’s vagina. “Women” do not own vaginas, even if they own all existent vaginas, because “a vagina” is a concept, a category of thing — which is conceptualized by abstracting and generalizing the features from all observed, and known about vaginas.

    Lets say we have two groups, and one of them has invented cars, while the other has not. All existing cars are owned by this one group, and not the other. I belong to a group the group without cars — and I want one. So I build my own. Clearly, by doing so, I didn’t want any of the specific cars that any of the members of that tribe had, or that wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t be good enough. If I did build one, it would be just a substitute, and not as good as their’s, because I want theirs! If however, I am completely satisfied, and perhaps even think mine is better, because it is mine, then how was that envy? How was that desiring a specific thing, rather than a general thing?

    This also, from the get go places transgendered people in the opposing camp, so that it is males wanting female things. So, begs the question. You wouldn’t say the same thing, if it was a woman not born with a vagina, or a deformed one, wishing to get this corrected. You would think that she had a right to one, and wasn’t desiring some other woman’s vagina, but to have what she has a right to.

    So, I say that it isn’t envy because they have a right to the objects of their desire — and even if they didn’t, it would still not be envy as long as the desire was for a general thing (e.g. a car), and not a specific thing (e.g. Jon’s car)

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  24. thorin25 says:

    Lots of ways that we could go here in this conversation, lot I could respond to, and I could get into my biblical views about what coveting is, and what the rest of the Bible says about it, and idolatry. But honestly, I’m growing tired of this particular conversation. Don’t read into that comment. I’m not upset in the least. You’ve raised very interesting points, and I’m glad to have thought about them. It’s been helpful. But I am not convinced by your arguments that the way I am using this word doesn’t fit. So we are mostly at an impasse there.

    Instead of responding to everything, I’ll just respond to one of your interesting points above.
    You are correct in your example of a woman not born with a vagina, that I think she would have a right to one. I see why this frustrates you in that I am assuming those with transgender feelings don’t have a right to what they don’t have. What I think you want is for me to give some kind of argumentation as to the difference, which my post mostly lacks. That makes sense.

    I freely admit that this is an assumption not fully developed (though partially developed) in this post. 2 things to say about that. 1. This post is written in all honesty for those that can agree with that first premise that men do not have a right to those things that belong to women. 2. This post doesn’t convey all that I believe on the subject. For theological reasons, and some practical reasons that I have blogged about elsewhere, I have tried to argue that first premise noted in #1.

    “So, I say that it isn’t envy because they have a right to the objects of their desire — and even if they didn’t, it would still not be envy as long as the desire was for a general thing (e.g. a car), and not a specific thing (e.g. Jon’s car)”

    Okay, if we grant for a minute that hypothetically you are right in that I’m using “covet” and “envy” in the wrong way (although I disagree). And grant me for a minute that hypothetically the objects these men desire they do not have a right to desire (though you disagree). As you mention in your post above, you don’t think “envy” is the right word even in this case. So what would you think is the right word? I have shown you that even if it’s not its main usage, coveting can mean the desire for something forbidden, or an inordinate desire. If you have a better word for desiring something forbidden, or desiring something too strongly, a word in the English language, let me know! If you don’t have such a word, then I don’t think your criticism that you keep trying to make with this, really holds any water.

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  25. Wosret says:

    Well, I do agree that one doesn’t have a right to general things that they desire — the difference being between envy and jealousy. The former being a desire for something someone doesn’t have a right to, and the latter being a desire for something someone does have a right to — but in the general case, neither apply, because it isn’t for a specific thing. We neither have a right to it, nor do not have a right to it, as no one owns it, and it doesn’t refer to a specific thing, just a concept.

    What you seem to be referring to is more the Stoic conception of the passions, or sorrows. Aristotle coined the word “passion”, which basically means to suffer, and are powerful emotions we suffer from. The stoics believed that all suffering, or passion, was the result of incorrect judgment, and good emotions, or eupatheia, which are the emotions that result from right judgment. Apatheia being the desired state, or a state that is mindful, and not carried away by the passions, remaining objective, and in a state of equanimity. Also extraordinarily similar the Buddhist philosophy, the root of all suffering being desire, which brings comes about due to a false idea of self, arising from ignorance. Desire in the buddhist sense being tanha, or literally “thirst”, and meaning more like craving, greed, or addiction. Similarly the solution is said to be mindfulness, detachment, calming, and most fundamentally right view, and right action.

    This appears to me, to be the sense in which you mean “desire”.

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  26. A Quiet Voice says:

    sigh…:-(

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  27. thorin25 says:

    Ya, interesting thoughts. But I still think the words I have used make perfect sense, because a. I think the things belong to women as a group, b. men do not have a right to them, and c. even if it’s just talking about general desire and a. and b. don’t apply, the words would still be fitting and far more intelligible than getting into Stoic notions of passion and Buddhist philosophy. Good conversation though. It made me think more deeply about coveting, envy, and jealousy, than I ever have. But let’s end the discussion on envy here. Thanks though, interesting stuff!

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  28. Wosret says:

    It was Aristotle’s notion of passion, and you may wish to turn your nose up at it, but Aristotle is the source of the Christian virtues and vices — Thomas Aquinas fused Aristolelian philosophy with Christianity in the middle ages. Aristotle’s influence to middle age Christians was so large, that they referred to him simply as “the philosopher”, implying that he was the only one one could mean when using the word “philosopher”.

    Anywho, you sir, rather than a brick wall, are more like an titanium wall — and I don’t think I’,m even capable of making a dent in you. They were revealing discussions, but I believe that I have reached my evaluation. Thank you, and have a good one.

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  29. thorin25 says:

    I’m familiar with Aristotle and the notions of passions. They are still a helpful idea in theology. I’ve studied these ideas in college and seminary. I’ve studied far more Greek philosophy than you realize. And I’ve studied and read from Aquinas. I wasn’t saying it was unimportant. But I don’t believe they are necessary to talk about for my argument, and would needlessly confuse it for those less educated. You made a false assumption to think that because I don’t think these ideas are more fitting than “envy” and don’t want to include them in my post, that therefore I don’t understand it.

    And I’m not sure why you find it necessary to call me a titanium wall. You didn’t change your view based on my arguments either but that didn’t cause me to call you a brick wall. We disagreed about how to use the words “envy” and “covet.” It was a good conversation. Why end it like you did just because we didn’t end up agreeing? Of course we always hope to agree on truth together when talking to someone, but that doesn’t make it a pointless conversation if neither side changes.

    I’m sad because I thought this last conversation went well after some frustrating earlier conversation which I regret much of. Then you had to end this conversation in such an immature way. Is this the first time someone has disagreed with you, and your arguments? Or do you shut down conversation with anyone who disagrees with your arguments? I’m not saying this in sarcasm or to be mean, but really am asking.

    Anyway, no problem if you want to be done talking. Maybe talk to you sometime in the future again, you never know.

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  30. Wosret says:

    You said that you found it far less “intelligible”. The assumption I made is that you thought it wasn’t easy to understand, not that everyone else would. That is a rather larger assumption I would think, and one I certainly wouldn’t make.

    I found it a pointless conversation because you stopped giving counters to my points, and just said that you didn’t want to talk about that part anymore. I also wouldn’t have said that if I thought that the issue was controversial, but I don’t think that it is. In this case, I just think you’re being obviously unreasonable. Wishing to make the evidence fit a conclusion.

    You ended the conversation, and you ended it on the other subjects as well, but I ended them gracefully because I thought they were more controversial, and I wasn’t nearly as confident about them. When it is a subject I don’t think can be reasonably disputed, I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

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  31. Wosret says:

    To further expand on my first point, the reason I expatiated my point on Aristotle is because of the good faith, that I thought you were quite capable of understanding, even if you said you found it to be less intelligible than what you were saying — I wouldn’t assume that people in general are incapable of understanding this point, or that I’m just going to confuse them with the details. I think that dumbing things down is what makes dumb people, and not the inverse.

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  32. thorin25 says:

    Wosret, please remember that I was asking you for an alternate word to use if “hypothetically” I thought you were right that I’m using these words in a wrong way. You provided it and it’s interesting. As it happens, I do not think I am using envy or covet in a wrong way though. I have defended myself with the dictionary definitions that are there. You can make all the counterarguments you want, but I don’t know how to respond to them other than saying the same things I’ve said over and over. That is why I think we need to agree to disagree (without saying the other is unreasonable and never talking again). It’s not that I’m ignoring your arguments, nor you mine, it’s that we both find each other’s arguments unconvincing.

    You’ve said that the dictionary meanings are not important (which goes back on what you’ve said at the very beginning), and that only the theological meaning of the commandment is important. Yet I’ve shown, even by your own wikipedia link, that biblically and theologically coveting means more than just wanting specific things owned by others. So I’m not sure what else there is for me to respond to. I see no basis left for what you are trying to argue than your own opinions about what the words mean, opinions which go against both what the dictionary says and what the Bible says.

    In the end we are quibbling about what words mean, which is interesting, but rather secondary to what my post is about anyway. Whatever words you want to use, the feelings I describe people having (such as I had myself), are feelings that are sinful, and make people unhappy. Whether you call it “envy” or call it desires that are for things that are forbidden that you don’t have a right to, or desires that are inordinately strong, it still boils down to it being sinful and making people unhappy.

    As an aside about people not understanding – I’m sure some people would understand rocket science too, but why would I put it into my post for no reason? I’m sure that some people, but not all, would understand Aristotle’s view of passions, but as I said before, it’s not necessary in my post because I have no problem using the word “envy” in the first place. Your arguments against that were very unconvincing.

    I think I’m done with this conversation. It’s simply not worth my time at this point. If you want to comment on another post of mine and talk about something else, I’d do that. But this conversation has become a waste of time, something I don’t have tons of. God bless you Wosret.

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  33. Wosret says:

    I never said that the dictionary meanings aren’t important, I said you were cherry picking the vague ones, and that the dictionary doesn’t define words, it captures common usage, and thus granted to you that one of the dictionary definitions could mean what you mean — and did therefore go back on my precious contention that no dictionary definition could support your interpretation. I granted that it was possible that you could find one that would; but then stress that that wouldn’t demonstrate that that was the meaning intended by the commandment.

    I personally chalk up all of your accepting of my points, and retraction of mistaken ones, and overstated ones as a positive thing in your favor, and not something to attempt to use to discredit you. Willingness to correct yourself is a demonstration of reasonableness, not a point against it.

    You said that it goes against what the bible says, so find a biblical analysis that agrees with you. Did you look at wikipedia? Did you see one there? That is an unsupported assertion. When I asked you to give an analysis that agrees with you, you did not, and instead asked me to suggest a more fitting word. I suggested words like “passion”, “third”, “craving”, “addiction”, giving some analyses of the words that I thought paralleled your intended meaning, of a desire that caused one distress and suffering.

    You then said that these concepts were too difficult to be understood by most people, and ironically became upset when I thought you meant that you had difficult understanding them — despite being perfectly willing to assume this as par the course with everyone else…

    Mostly though, I am done commenting because if I cannot persuade you on something so uncontroversial, than I cannot on any point. Whether you accept my point or not will simply depend on your disposition towards it, and not on reason, or evidence.

    I also wish you well. Sorry if you find this insulting.

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  34. thorin25 says:

    I don’t have the time to present you with a biblical theological analysis of what coveting means. The random link on coveting in the Bible that you sent me, if you read it again, actually supports my ideas about coveting. I’m sure if I had the time I could find all sorts of biblical commentaries that agree with me as well. But I do not see how that would be worth my time.

    But I don’t see why I’m still talking to you about this concept at all, theologically, or in the dictionary, because as I keep saying, I believe I am using envy in the main traditional sense, not in the less strong sense. I believe that I am talking about envying things that belong to others. I know you disagree. But that is where the main argument we have is, not about definitions of words. I believe we can envy things which belong to women as a group, as a concept, whatever you want to call it. You don’t. The dictionaries are not going to help us here.

    But I believe people’s experience of this feeling as “envy” confirms my argument. People read this post, people like me, and they confirm that this feeling they have felt for these things is indeed “envy” because they have experienced “envy” in other areas of their lives. They know immediately and clearly that what they are feeling is not a general desire for things, as they desire things like a new car, or more money, or a spouse. These men realize that they are desperately longing for things which do not belong to them, and could never appropriately belong to them.

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  35. Wosret says:

    Well, I don’t at all exclude the possibility that people can envy women. Seeing women on television and wishing they had their bodies, and possessions, and what not. I merely argued that when it isn’t about particular things, it isn’t envy. Concepts are general, in the sense that they are abstracted features of all particular things that fit in the category. To reify concepts is to believe in Platonic forms… you’re of course free to be a Platonist, but you do need to explicate that.

    If you don’t have time to sufficiently converse, then don’t invite me to. That wastes both our times. I don’t have only free time either.

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  36. Wosret says:

    To further expand on Platonism, even if one was a Platonist, the forms would be divine, and still not belonging to people, but a higher realm.

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  37. thorin25 says:

    I didn’t say I believe they are envying a concept. I said you could call it that if you want (sorry that made it unnecessarily confusing). I refer to them envying what belongs to another group. I don’t believe in Platonic forms. And I have time to converse, but will not spend time beating a dead horse…This conversation was interesting to begin with, but all we are doing is going back and forth on the same points. Time to be done. Thanks.

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  38. Wosret says:

    I addressed the distinction between a group and a category — but fine, lets let it end here. After cooling down a bit, I’m sorry for acting ungraciously, and saying unnecessary, and inflammatory things — contradicting the things I said on the guest post. No matter how confident I am, it doesn’t justify mistreating you.

    Just to end off, I am not a highly educated person, I took 3D graphic design in school — but I like to read, research, and acquaint myself with things that interest me. As Aristotle said, “all men by nature desire to know” (keep in mind that etymologically, “man” was gender neutral, and was synonymous with “one”.)

    I interpreted your suggesting that Aristotle was difficult to understand as referring to yourself, and not the uneducated rabble, for I am one of them, yet I fancy myself as being in the know.

    Again, sorry for the mistreatment. In the future I will make a greater effort to refrain.

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  39. Wosret says:

    As you may have guessed, I am mostly apologizing being of what AQV is saying about me, which is making me feel like a bad person, and I don’t want you to think that I am.

    At the very least, if you get to know me, and we converse more, I hope that you will see that I’m an honest person.

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  40. thorin25 says:

    No worries, no hard feelings. I just am ready to move on from this conversation and agree to disagree on this one. I’m sure we can still have fruitful conversations in the future.

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