Criticism – Is It Good?
Let’s take a look at criticism. Each major paragraph in this posting begins with a quote related to criticism. I begin with the following poem by Robert Herrick.
I’ll write, because I’ll give
You critics means to live;
For should I not supply
The cause, the effect would die
~ Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.~
—Franklin P. Jones
I think that critics – those who criticize – are thought of as unnecessary for the individual. Like an “unnecessary parasite.” What I mean is we often think and/or feel that, if there was no one criticizing us, we would be “better off.” Where, what and how would we be without criticism? This is an extremely interesting question when you include self-criticism.
~ The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. ~
— Norman Vincent Peale
What exactly is criticism? There are different definitions of criticism, but the one I choose to use for this discussion is: “the act of passing judgment at to the merits of anything.” Now, that is good, but really, how is criticism viewed by those who think criticism is a “bad word?” Usually, in my opinion, in a non-constructive way. Perhaps, there is justification for such thinking, but should there be? I know most of us do not like to be criticized, but provided the criticism is given for good constructive reasons, aren’t we better able to improve when we know what we need to improve? I think criticism can be an aide to self-improvement.
~ We protest against unjust criticism, but we accept unearned applause. ~
Another thing to point out at this time is the use of the word “judgment” in the definition. Many of my friends find that word to be a negative. Why? I really don’t know for sure, but I suspect it has to do with “pre-judgment” or prejudice. Prejudice, in my opinion, is what we all do, whether we want to or not. You see, in order to live, we must constantly “pre-judge.” We very seldom have sufficient information to correctly judge something. So what do we do? We first “pre-judge” and then, hopefully, as more information is gathered, we refine our judgement. For example, consider the weather. We look outside. It looks like it’s not going to rain. We go outside and the air feels a bit moist. Well, we “re-judge,” maybe, it will rain. We turn on the TV and find a weather forecast. The forecast indicates an 80% chance of rain. Now we judge (or do we pre-judge?) that it most likely will rain. Etc., Etc., ….
So, is criticism good? Yes, provided it is given and received in a positive manner. That’s my opinion, what do you think?