Criticism and Pragmatic Approach

An excellent piece of writing, either inspires a reader or irritates them. It all depends on the perspectives and how one analyzes it.  ~Amitav

The Etymology (Click the link)

To understand how the artist felt, however, is not criticism; criticism is an investigation of what the work is good for. … Criticism … is a serious and public function; it shows the race assimilating the individual, dividing the immortal from the mortal part of a soul. [George Santayana, “The Life of Reason,” 1906]

There are many types of Critics. Mostly, we find them vociferous and opinionated, who will not miss a chance to make their presence felt. From the moment they wake up, it’s their dream to find someone to criticise.

Their work spans from a creative field to the commonly personal contributions with vitriolic statements. The agenda could be to keep creativity or work as a veil to gain legitimacy to express a passive aggressive behaviour.

Among all the critics, genuine critics are few, who sincerely believe in providing a detailed narrative in their criticism, but soften it with words of encouragement, by pointing out the areas which require improvement.

Then there are these silent critics, who will intuitively write a memoir in their mind and carry the intensity to burn every word; the ashes give the satisfaction of a job well done. It seems they pick up a personal vendetta and does not have enough ammo to aim them directly at the intended individual.

In every profession, and in life, we are sure to meet the cynical critics. They are the interesting ones, who cannot adopt the idea of self-improvement, yet, will try to create a feel-good world by criticising people who are associated with them, directly or indirectly.

  • We need to understand, criticism can come from two premises of consciousness.
  • When a person genuinely acquires more knowledge and wants to be a guide through their critiques.

Criticism, which carries a negative and demoralising tone, comes from a lack of knowledge; it is deliberately directed at an individual. They are demeaning and uninspiring.

A genuine critic will consider the holistic environment to compare, or even, find strong individual influences that exceed in terms of detailing and quality.

Criticism has to consider the present social milieu and come up with an explanation where improvement is necessary, or highlight the positive work that can revolutionise that particular field of work, after some fine-tuning.

I am trying to highlight the fact that criticism and critiquing should not be a personal vendetta.

It should not be influenced by feedback from doubtful sources. Criticism is facing a tough time, as it is mostly given a ‘negative connotation’.

Without genuine criticism, things will not improve, be it in any profession. It is difficult to find genuine critics and especially in the case of literature, the criticism can be based on dislike for a particular writer.

It is evident from the ‘etymology’ of the word ‘criticism’ at the beginning of the article, that before criticising one has to-

  • Assimilate valid point to substantiate the flaws and strong points
  • It’s about finding a balance to censure an individual who has this potential to make a positive impact in a particular field/profession

In writing, to understand the sentiments of a writer, a critic has to develop a relationship with the writer’s work and read the words with the same intensity after realising the inspiration behind those words.

Last, but not the least, there are these frivolous critics who wants to jeopardise any work with their unnecessary comments which are more personal. Comments appear spammy, and will relentless try to disturb the writer from concentrating on the writing.

A pragmatic mindset and the willingness to build a community of bloggers and writers who can carry on the legacy of producing high-quality work should be the only criteria to build a network.

Exchange of ideas and thoughts build bridges and various cultures are represented here in this community.

Criticism should be the messenger to lead artists and others to an enhanced world of creativity. Genuine criticisms are a stepping stone to understanding new perspectives and also produce new work with modern sentiments.

Criticism as a profession should not be thought of by idle individuals with lethargic intellect.

A critic has to be well-read and should have the mindset to look at different facets of a work in detail. 

Look forward to criticisms but also develop the intellect to comprehend each topic. Keep writing and blogging.

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18 thoughts on “Criticism and Pragmatic Approach

  1. I am all for a pragmatic approach to criticism. It doesn’t help to be always defensive against criticism rather one has to figure out if the criticism just for the heck of it or it is a constructive criticism by a knowledgeable person, which can help a writer/ person to improve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, that’s the message I tried to give through this article. But how often do we see a knowledgeable criticism? Rarely. So this article is a reminder. People are filled with information, but do not have the knowledge to analyse them. Accepting criticism, and giving one without malice requires maturity.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a saying – if one really wants to move up the ladder of success, one must be well surrounded by the critics cos if you see from a critic’s point of view, they actually let you know where you are going wrong and where you need improvement. Your article conveys this message aptly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you summarized this aptly. Very true, Criticism with the intention of adding value and improving the genre being criticized always helps it grow; provided the critic is talking sense. Unnecessary criticism is not welcome. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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