Comparing Criticisms

I do not know if criticisms work, whether it is ‘constructive criticism’ or ‘destructive criticism’. Criticisms are here to stay and even gets more sophisticatedly vicious. Ideally, criticism is necessary and must only come after much investigation and deliberation. There must be a reason and method to reach a point and build the premise for authentic criticism.

Unfortunately, criticisms have been out of a mala fide intent, intense frustration and pessimistic approach to destroy someone’s point of view, with irrational logic. No wonder, people become ultra-defensive when faced with criticisms. Even the well-meaning criticisms, the ‘constructive criticism’, comes under severe backlashes.

Let me talk about two subjects ‘literature’ and ‘philosophy’. They are interdependent and we can say that “all literature has a philosophy, but all philosophy is not literature”. Literary writings will delve into philosophy and even psychology to construct a plot, credible characters, and intense dialogues. The philosophy of living a life is reflected in a fictional narrative, poetry, and stories. It is inevitable!

When philosophy as a subject comes under intense scrutiny, it always has been and even been trashed by the sceptics who felt threatened that their deep construct of a parallel narrative to fool people will be exposed. We all reiterate this cliched statement, “life is a philosophy”; it comes from our psychological experiences, learnings, observations, and inferences.

Interdependence is the philosophy of nature too! We completely try to obliterate the unshakeable reason and substitute it with unreasonable dichotomous thought processes. Considering that, if literature did not carry any philosophy, then it would be devoid of any reason and any reasonable ‘literary criticism’ or further research would have been impossible.

It is becoming a fallacious perception that literature, such as poetry or any other literary writings cannot be criticised. Mostly, the individual criticising is doubted for bias and ulterior motive to malign the effort. That somebody becomes infuriatingly defensive, kills the scope of further reasoning. Yes, writers, including me are sensitive about the work and would like to believe that it is the best we can create.

As a writer, I have realised, I always strive for the best, trying to go one step ahead in terms of experimentation with thoughts, philosophies, and type of culture I am trying to create. Once I have written something and published, it is open to criticism and even outright rejection.

According to me, that could have been my best work till that moment, but the readers may have thought otherwise, based on their perceptions and reasoning. Yes, I can explain my work and defend it, because I know the inspiration behind it and also the real philosophy that helped construct the literary piece.

Unfortunately, readers rarely ask and quickly assume! Some perceptions really kill the initiation of any dialogue. Those who do not care a damn about the literary aspect of writing, and definitely, not about the philosophical dimensions will eagerly rely on ‘destructive criticism’.

Like nature’s creation, a writer’s creative work has a purpose and a philosophy. If it is devoid of both, then it is a creative void that siphons off any reason from the process of creativity. A writer has to observe, learn, and have that inherent instinct to create something (stories, fiction, poetry) and express human emotions and life in a creatively enhanced style. A writer reads a lot to not only learn, but also develop the culture of sensible critique; it helps reason with the self and also to interpret any literary work with much more wisdom.

Yes, there is wisdom in creativity, and no one can deny the philosophical dimensions that are etched with such dexterity with the pen. It does not take much to belittle a piece of literature or even criticise the writer incisively, due to some malicious intent to denigrate the writer’s effort. A writer has to be open to criticism, and the reader has to evolve to take part in a meaningful dialogue to discuss the nuances.

A writer won’t stop writing, and an artist won’t stop creating their piece of art just because of the plethora of ‘destructive criticism’. It is unfortunate, that very few take time to interpret creativity, and the chasm is widening.

The widening gyre of insensitivity and deep-rooted bias is not only uprooting the sanctity of creativity but also belittling its philosophy. Anything without philosophy is difficult to be accepted by any sensible psychology. It is not a phantasmagorical rant, but a continuous effort to write about the culture of creativity.

~Amitav

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