Have you ever known someone who made you feel small? Someone who seemed to be touched by the gods with beauty, brilliance, good fortune, or perhaps a mixture of all three? If yes, then you can relate to poor Salieri in the fictionalize account of his jealousy of Mozart.
Peter Shaffer, the British playwright and screenwriter who wrote Amadeus, died Monday at age 90. A fun article from Slate, Amadeus: Peter Shaffer’s Enduring Portrait of Genius (and Mediocrity) discusses ambition, envy, and talent versus craft.
But what struck me about this movie was how Amadeus and Salieri were both self-destructive. Mozart by his womanizing, drinking and poor money management; Salieri by his ruinous envy. Both artists showed that talent isn’t enough (Mozart), but neither is desire and hard work (Salieri).
I think this film resonates with many creative people because in truth we’re both Mozart and Salieri. We have dual halves.
The one half that creates with ease and love is pitted against the other half that compares and judges. It seeks out, and always finds, someone who is somehow superior–more prolific, more successful, more attractive, more productive. And it hurts.
How do you cope when you feel as if you’re a mediocre Salieri in a world full of Mozarts?
Stop comparing. It will only make you miserable.
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“The bitter crumbs of envy” © 2016 Dara Girard