Answer: It means that when I look at the sages, my envy of them pushes me toward studying and learning in order to become like them.
It is written that “envy, lust, and honor take a person out of this world,” that is, elevate him to a higher degree than the one at which he is now.
Remark: Aristotle noted that people mostly envy those who are close to them in time, place, age, and fame.
My Comment: Naturally, after all, I cannot envy those who lived a few thousand years ago.
I must have some common levels of understanding and feelings with a person I envy. Julius Caesar or Tamerlane are too far away and incomprehensible to me. I have to imagine the object of envy, understand what I would feel in his or her place, and then I can envy.
From KabTV’s “Communication Skills” 8/7/20