I was recently in a bookstore in Seattle Washington and happened across the essay section. What was revealing was that the section was actually titled “Essays/Criticism”. Does that mean that most essays written are also just short form written criticism? A modern definition of critical is expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art. As much as I'm conscious to not always make these be rants, even though there is a future one in the alchemical cauldron currently on the barbaric practice of circumcision and that will be a bit ranty sounding, I am also conscious to not just have them be about me. Just like the vast majority of lower common denominator, short-form, discursive, narcissistic, antisocial networking is. It’s basically just personal marketing through selfies or posts constantly talking about the self rather than excellent food for thought. Just look at the amount of posts which begin with I, me, or I'm for example in your feed. A private Facebook group which I used to be a member of, up until leaving all Facebook groups, claimed to be a place to have more higher level discussion about the nature of reality. While many themes on there did accomplish that, I was still not very impressed with the group overall because the majority of the posts were still used to simply self-market. Because even quote on quote “woke” folks, use social networking as a way to grab attention online.
Much of life and knowledge is empirical, which results in the sharing of your own personal experience, so through our life experience we best relay information through that self. Thus it’s all good to talk about and mention the self here and there so long as it’s a balanced perspective. And not only compare your doings to other folks doings thinking you are always on your high horse or soap box as they say. Thus I am also conscious to not make these essays purely criticism. Yet knowledge of a problem is half the solution so in order to fix something that is broken systematically, it must be properly identified, and then have solutions proposed. Thus its best to identify systematic problems rather than individual people's problems. Because if someone is rubbish at something, there will always be someone more rubbish to take their place should they go down. Thus, it's better to deconstruct and discard a rubbish ideology rather than a rubbish individual putting forth that ideology.
Much of our deprogramming and de-indoctrination involves us de-constructing things that we once thought served us but have come to realize they do not. Hence we are critical of those things and that can oftentimes be thought of by others as being negative. An example is a more conscious person who’s realized much of mainstream culture doesn't serve us. They then get around a normie, or “Homo Normalis” as Wilhelm Reich used to say, and that normie interprets their critical deconstructions of the low grade society and culture as being negative. Hence you're being a negative person. Which is actually not the case, but in fact you have much higher standards because you’ve been exposed to information which is much more enriching and fulfilling to the awakened human. Who will not be solely a commercial trader that is purely looking to outside sources to determine for them, but a more self-reliant and sovereign creative person forging their own way through the mystery of life.
I am very critical of things from a systems perspective. I don't make a policy of shit canning specific individuals for the most part, other than a few of the obvious choices. The president of the united states is a very common one for example. Who often times just turns into a punching bag for millions of people during their tenure in office, regardless of party. A term in comedy is to “punch up, not down”. So if you are an open mic night comedian on stage in a back alley comedy club in Santa Monica on a Thursday night trying out your material, they say to target your making fun of figures to folks such as politicians, celebrities, and business magnates, as they are supposedly above you in the social hierarchy. Part of being one of those folks who are in the extreme spotlight is you will be a target for that, and that is very much known and par for the course. Although, when you have infinite wealth, world renown fame, or power, your biggest problem then becomes making sure your image or legacy is not tarnished, which can only really be done by treating others below you in the social hierarchy with respect and being able to make fun of yourself and take a joke if Saturday Night Live is impersonating you for example. What is in grossly bad taste and never ends well is to punch down. Meaning criticize those below you in the hierarchy who quite honestly are obviously struggling already. So you don't make fun of homeless people, those with down syndrome, janitors, the person with the asymmetrical face, immigrants, or handicapped kids otherwise you really sound like an prick.
Much of what you say to someone else negatively is you identifying things within yourself and projecting them. Much of what you say to someone else honestly, authentically, and positively, is you accurately identifying as a positive trait within yourself. I know someone who I have to spend time with on occasion in my life, who is very much a critic of everyone. They are extremely reactionary and will always only say a negative comment in regards to a situation. This is because they see little to nothing positive within themselves, so they see little to nothing positive within anyone else. Most of their criticism stems from a place of deep personal insecurity. Being on the receiving end of criticism is not fun and can certainly cause hurt and pain on the outside to others. Sometimes this does need to happen back in order to re-balance a source of criticism. Which may oftentimes be seen as a dynamic from loving family members. It takes guts to confront someone such as a long time friend, parent, or sibling. Since they have Known us our whole lives, they will be more likely to tell us something about ourselves rather than our outer circle of friends or others we are simply acquainted with. Which can go both ways, from elder to younger or younger to elder.
There was once a brilliant story about a old grandmother who was living with her grown daughter and her daughters family, and when grandma moves in the the fam you know she’s never moving out. This grandmother was not all sweet and wonderful, but instead had gotten very bitter, cynical, negative, and critically judgmental over essentially everything and everyone. Grumpy old grandma who was a product of a different age. The family had grown very tired of her constant negativity over the years and decided what to do. One day, the household’s mother, the daughter of the grandmother, sat her mother down at the kitchen table and confronted her with tear soaked eyes and 100 percent seriousness. Saying something to the effect of “Mom, you have been saying a lot of negative things lately. Are you okay? Because if you're not, the family and I have come up with a solution. We are so tired of your attitude that tonight, I am going to help you kill yourself. And I am not joking in the slightest. If you don't want to, then we'll know you're okay and have much less to complain about.” Suffice to say, the grandmother changed her tune a bit after this ultimatum which forced her to take a stark perspective shift and see how her reality tunnel had created a cyclone dragging the spirits of everyone else in the household down with her.
There is nothing more mature than being happy for someone achieving something, that perhaps you have not accomplished, but would secretly like to, and still being truly complimentary to that person. I was recently complimented by a music school teacher as to how well my daughter was developing, and I could tell she said it truly from the heart. This was extra impactful because I know that her daughter is special needs and has all sorts of health and development problems. So for her to point that out was extra impactful. I was also recently at a wedding of a good buddy of mine, and his best man pointed out during his speech that one of the best things about Chris is his ability to see things constantly on the bright side and make the most bland or dreary situations or things into something special and memorable. Thus you could take away that the best man giving that speech, knows he could work on adapting that trait to his own personality in a positive way. Knowledge of a problem is half the solution.
Having the ability to see what is wrong and could be improved with a situation is a form of discernment. That takes spiritual growth and inner development to foster. Having the ability to express what is being discerned without fear of "offending" is important at times. Not being concerned with “political correctness” which is really an analogy for “watering down.” It develops an ability in the individual to point out what is missing, inaccurate or ineffective, without adding even more negativity to it via judgment. Do you have the ability to look at a situation and instead of simply criticizing it, to evaluate what could be improved about it and propose a solution. Providing feedback that affirms forward movement. This is the difference between judgement or criticism vs critical thinking. Both require the ability to notice and to observe. However, critical thinking is more akin to evaluation while criticizing is more akin to judgment and those who criticize often add an element of negativity to the observation.
A criticism is not useful without a solution proposed. Criticizing another person or a system without being solution based does not produce anything that is useful or appreciated by another. This is the problem with critics. Who don't actually create hardly anything and instead simply criticize what others create. We see this as some people actually make a career out of this. Via being restaurant critics, fashion critics, theatre critics, etc... They are all folks that secretly wanted to do what their area of criticism focuses on, but never actualized in that field. A professional critic only then creates an article or magazine or newspaper column to share their criticism of others that create what they never could. This is very commonly seen in the laurel giving film festival world. When these laurels are rarely given by season filmmakers, but instead a self described gatekeeper who runs a website or film festival. The director Joel Schumacher once said, “No young person aspires to become a critic.” As he was speaking on this in regard to film reviews. I personally have more respect for the lowest grade filmmaker than the highest end film critic. Thus I have more respect for Uwe Boll, a german filmmaker known for being a schlock maestro making atrociously bad video game adaptation films. Or Kenneth Anger, a underground experimental filmmaker who makes borderline unwatchable occult films merged with surrealism and homoeroticism, than I do for world renowned film critic Roger Ebert. Who was not a filmmaker but was famous for his associations with American cinema. He does deserve credit for his authorships in the field however, much of which were in regards to filmmaking technique and the history of cinema, of which he did have a significantly impressive knowledge base in. Even though some content is so bad it would have been better to never have been made, at least it had the creators will behind it, allowing it to be brought into manifestation in the first place.
Sticking to wrongness is easy and seductive and dramatic and its harder and takes a more sophisticated and beautiful mind to propose solutions. Critical thinking is sorely missing in our society today. “Criticism is an essential aspect of critical thinking... Knowing when and how to give "constructive" feedback is a skill that very few people are taught. Combined with a society in an era that cares less about character, integrity, and authenticity this confusion reinforces an increased dumbing down, and dismissal of *any* expression of criticality as "intellectualism" or merely, "offensive".”
So opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink. But a breath of fresh mountain air sweeps immediately through as that vocalized opinion transitions to a proactive solution in the same sentence. That way things are not left with a negative hanger of doom on someone else or a country or the planet as a whole. There is always room for improvement in all levels of our society which is still in the sandbox of maturity. So having critical thinking of yourself and your own life helps tame your inner critic and bring that forward to alway propose glass half full solutions as you move onward and upward.