“There has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic” — attributed to Jean Sibelius, composer.
If ever there was a trap to make us dumber and take our energy it is criticizing the work of others — so easy, and so tempting in this age of social media. (Haven’t we all, at some time, posted some pointless comment that contributed nothing but stole our valuable time? Time, after all, that we could have been creating something ourselves? )
No judgment. In some cases, it’s because people have become lost. They can’t quite express what they want to through their art, their discipline, their field, their life. They can’t quite move to the next level. It’s easier to criticize others than to really look at what’s wrong within our lives or ourselves, to become unstuck.
Criticizing or creating. That is really the choice we all have today.
The energy wasted on the former could be put toward the latter.
Turn negativity around. See something that makes you angry on social media? Ignore it. Move on. Give up the cheap high, the cheap release, the addiction, of responding.
Instead, use that time to do something positive for yourself or for someone else. Work out. Get fitter. Cook a meal. Go for a walk. Meet a friend or family member. Meditate. Read. Look at a beautiful work of art. Clean up. Organize your bookshelves. Draw. Paint. Write.
Critics are forgotten.
Create, and be remembered for doing something that elevated both you and others.
2 thoughts on “No Statues for Critics”
Sibelius was mistaken. The Viennese, in fact, erected a monument to music critic Eduard Hanslick (1825-1904). I agree with what you have to say in regard to most of what passes for “criticism” today, “criticism” in the popular sense. But its nobler aspect — inferior to original thought and to artistic creation, certainly, but noble nonetheless — is the harnessing of active and informed intellect to the task of understanding and explicating original thought and works of art. It’s the weighing of value. Done right, this is no small thing.
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That is true, Michael, though I mean a particular type of criticism that offers nothing, and merely tries to leech off the creator to get attention.
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