Seven Sins and Seven Virtues

Olsson, Karl

Harper & Brothers, 1962

p. 86

Olsson talks about the middling tendency of enviers. They would like no one to shine more than they do: “It may be assumed that a manifestation of individual spirit, or a blaze of genius, is undemocratic. It may be reasoned that if it is improper for one person to own more property than another, it is equally improper for one person to write better poetry than another, compose better music, construct a more refined philosophy. Hence we may be forced to espouse the ideal of mediocrity which submerges individual talent in a pool of middle-mindedness. We shall make the gifted man or woman a member of a team; we shall make his creativity a team project. It may not then matter that the razor’s edge of wit is dulled or that the great idea in this way becomes merely a good one. We shall have saved the feelings of the many, we shall have avoided envy, and we shall have achieved that eunuchized harmony that is the hope of every minor bureaucrat.”