Last semester when I was taking logic class, I remember my teacher talking about criticism. It was, in fact, one of the questions in the test. When he asked, “what is the use of logic?” We were supposed to explain that logic is used to create a good argument. And the point of argumentation is to support an opinion, idea or belief. Then he asked us what was the point of doing so if we live in a society where everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Isn’t it true? Don’t we all have the right to our opinions and because it is our opinion no one is allowed to tell us we are wrong? What then is the point of an argument? What is the point of discussing a topic? Wouldn’t life just be easier if we allowed people to think however they wanted without us pitching in?
“Criticism,” he said “is a wonderful thing” truth be told I hate criticism, I hate being told that I am doing something, especially I hate criticism when it comes from someone who does not know me. However, without criticism, it would be pretty darn hard to learn. Since we were little kids, criticism has been an essential part of life. I mean we were holding the pencil wrong the teacher corrected us, and wow we didn’t even realize we were doing it wrong, but we have learned to do it the right way because we were criticized. So why is it that we hate criticism so much now that we have grown up? I think it is because we have forgotten that criticism is not the same as hateful judgment. If you call someone an idiot because they made a mistake, that is not criticism that is simply a hateful insult. The purpose of criticism is not to hurt the other person but to help them grow and learn.
I think part of the problem with criticism is that we get offended every time someone thinks differently than us and we have fallen into perpetual relativism. We are starting to forget that there is the truth, not everything can be accepted as the truth. Also, this goes hand to hand with tolerance. We always talk about being tolerant, but we don’t truly understand what tolerance is. Tolerance is not blindly accepting and allowing everything. Tolerance is respecting someone else’s beliefs ideas and opinions. True tolerance is saying I think you are wrong, not because we think differently, but because I genuinely consider that what you are doing/saying/thinking is wrong, however, I respect you. I might understand your point of view, but I will listen to you and have a proper dialog to express my point of view. The tricky thing about tolerance is that somethings cannot be tolerated and have to be stopped. That is why I make emphasis on the fact that tolerance is blindly accepting and allowing anything and everything. It is right and wrong and there are things that should not be tolerated. That in no way means that you get to be mean or disrespectful towards others.
Think for yourself, obtain knowledge, seek the truth, accept criticism when it comes to you, be kind when you give to others, and remember that relativism and tolerance are not the same thing.