Monday, November 17, 2008

“The point of criticism is to explain what is obscure in the authors which we read, to supply what is defective, and amend what is erroneous in manuscripts, to correct the mistakes of authors and editors in the sense or the words, to reconcile the controversies of the learned, and by this means to spread a juster knowledge of those things among the inquisitive part of mankind.

And whensoever any person has arrived at such a degree of knowledge in these things as to furnish him well for the practice of criticism, let him take great care that pride and insolence, do not mingle themselves with his remarks and censures. Let him remember the common frailties of human nature, and the mistakes to which the wisest man is sometimes liable, that he may practice this art with due modesty and candor.”
I have learned so much from Isacck Watts book "Improving the Mind". He approaches conversation and debate in such a gentlemanly manner, and with great wisdom as to pull out the necessary while leaving the dignity of all in tact.
Photo by Yuri Bonder


Anonymous said...

I have also found that pride and insolence can make a man unable to take criticism even if it's given in the lost tender, loving way humanly possible. So, as responsible as we are to take great care and have great compassion when critizing, it is equally as important to be able and willing to take criticism from others, graciously. Wouldn't you agree?

Love the pic!

FCB said...

I would agree wholeheartedly. Like they say, if you want to grow, listen to your enemies. I think it's a good measure of ourselves to watch how we react to criticsm.
Often I can speak calmly to a rebuke, but I know that it has impacted me greatly, though I may bite my tongue. Which ties in with the post below.
Sometimes I can feel so much emotion by such a small criticism. Why do we care?
When I was a teen it would push me to rage, now I have grown past that but often I have to battle verbal revenge. And at times to simply not respond would take everything within me.
Such a pity.
Thanks for your comments.

It also reminded me that at times we are so sensitive, we read a negative into a nuetral or positive, simply because we assume it will be negative. Oh the madness within the human mind :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

Criticism should be preceeded by appreciation so as to prepare the ground and provide a genial atmosphere for the person who is criticised to take it in the right spirit and without rancor.

There are times when criticism has misfired. Recently there was a report in the news paper that a young boy committed suicide because the parents criticised him for getting poor marks in the exams.

Best wishes :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
Thanks for your comments, and I have all too often neglected to prepare the ground for criticism.
This extreme story you refer to gives us a loud call to use great care and love in our criticisms.
God bless,