Criticism^4

Image

Nice denial, good sir.

Hello, and welcome to the criticism of criticism of criticism of criticism. I have not picked this number out of sheer randomness, but simply because of the fact that I have not personally witnessed any of a layer deeper than this. If that would actually happen, things usually turn into either one party’s mental capacity became incapable of handling more thoughts, or social conducts required both to step down. Thankfully, I don’t have to do any of that at this medium, as internet freedom and semi-anonymity give me such a comfortable entourage.

Back to the topic at hand, I would like to present the image I found there, as well as many other quotes floating around. Funnily enough, they do not acknowledge themselves as criticism. These things would pop up so much less if these people just take a long look in the mirror before they utter these words, provided they had any intention of their own words being taken seriously of course. I certainly don’t; that’s why I participate in human conversation without bending my tongue before speaking or checking my privileges. I said that unironically. Clarifying that usually makes me sound like less of an ass and a hypocrite.

So, criticism, why am I talking about it? Well, too often I see criticism. As someone said “Everyone’s a critic.” The reason I’m not mentioning the name is because I won’t get sued for not doing so, and stating it adds nothing to the argument. The quote itself remains correct, however, as long as you take “critic” simply as someone who criticizes. Criticism itself is opinionated, and that’s why everyone has it. Every time someone expresses an unfavourable opinion on something, it’s criticism. The problem starts when people start to take their own, or someone else’s, opinion more seriously than some other person’s. They started calling one side “valid” criticism, while the other “invalid” criticism. What makes someone’s criticism valid? What makes someone’s criticism invalid? What makes someone’s criticism of someone else’s invalid criticism valid? I myself use the word “invalid” when referring to criticism.

As for that quote in particular, just to get it out of the way, its message essentially is “Don’t pay attention to criticism, because those that give them have nothing better to do”. That’s stupid, excuse my lack of eloquence. Why does it exist in this form, however, is an entirely different question. It could have spurred from the need of someone to feel important, to tell the world of their perceived clever thinking, in a concise but quirky manner. The delivery was great, no doubt, but there was simply no substance in those words. A shame, but at least these are genuine. It could instead, however, stemmed from the desire of society to be eternally faced with nothing but positivity and optimism. “Have you done something great but people are just missing the point, or perhaps you were the one completely missing the point instead, and thus are facing disapproval? Regardless of whether you are objectively correct or not, you are always right and those people just have no life”. Thus, these are the things people put these words on a plaque, so that they could look at them every day and feel good about themselves. As I touched on before, however, there is another layer of hilarity behind this. The phrase itself is criticism, of the people who gave the mentioned criticism, perhaps just a bit less valid and more strong on the ad hominem side. I’m not going to call it out on being hypocritical, however, because that isn’t valid criticism in this case. It’s just funny in its self-destructiveness. 

A lot of thinking later, however, I realize I  never say “invalid” opinions. Why? An opinion is someone’s view on a matter. Everyone has a view (yes, neutrality is a view) on everything they acknowledge. They are created nigh instantaneously with the person’s thoughts, and is flexible. Does this make opinions valid? Opinions can certainly be wrong, of course, but having them isn’t a problem. No one has ever been rightfully, excuse my lack of a better word, criticized for having an opinion before, only when they act on those opinions. Thus, as criticisms themselves are all opinions, how can criticisms be invalid? Personally, I would say they cannot be, and what I myself refer to as “invalid” criticisms are actually just “irrelevant” criticisms. They are those that I defined as opinions that one cannot use to improve a subject matter. Actually, criticism of that is also irrelevant. More and more layers of sand, unfortunately, do not make glass by themselves. There could be a fine line, drawn somewhere so that the infinite loop does not happen. Realistically though, is that the correct thing to do?

Take this as an example. It’s an article by Todd Strandberg, on why evolutionism vs. creationism is a pointless debate. Basically, criticism of criticism of criticism, ad nauseam. While I would like to take side on this debate myself, I have neither the time nor the knowledge required to dig yet another hole. The point, though, is the relevant context. His article’s aim is apparently to pour some words of realism into the debate, telling them to listen to him. Whether his intentions are genuine or not, he is still telling the people who have been at each other’s throats for far too long to just read and give up. It’s either that or telling those who are not in the debate to essentially just to stop thinking. Either way, not really what I’d say as particularly helpful, but he of course can do whatever he wants with his time.  In case people haven’t noticed, yes, this is my criticism of that article.

With that out of the way, I suppose it is time for me to wrap this up. This has been nothing more than a thought experiment, and a part of me truly wish someone has gotten a bit of perspective out of it. Are you yelling at me as to why there is no conclusion, smashing your keyboard at how this was a waste of your time? Well, I can defend myself, but I’m not going to. As for your outburst, well, I wouldn’t want to criticize.

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