Most times, people think they are being “civilised” and/or “matured” when they are being “expressive”. They do not consider the consequences of their words when they speak or write because they believe they have “the right” to exercise their “freedom of speech”. Some use hurtful words on others unapologetically, thinking that is a sign of being honest, critical, and analytical. The internet and, especially, social media, have contributed their quota to the problem by giving many people the platform to use their voices without teaching them the proper way to do so. Today, social media has created a lot of “experts” with little knowledge and experience, who can now “challenge” the best of the professionals in any field. Even an undergraduate in Accountancy can teach a professor in Medical Laboratory Sciences his job. Thanks to the discovery of our “voices”.
Well, that shouldn’t be a problem because when a person of little knowledge “challenges” the submissions of an expert, it is left for the professional to condone it or handle it accordingly. It all depends on the persons involved. What we should be concerned about is when the person on the receiving end of the “criticism” is an amateur or an emerging professional, who could not handle the bite and oppression of the hit. We should truly worry about that.
You know, sometimes, people think they are criticising the works, ideas, opinions, submissions, or actions of others without realising that what they are doing is actually not criticism. I mean, I see a lot of ridicule, contempt, reproach, sarcasm, sneer, outright condemnation, and fault-finding being referred to as criticism. This does not only show that these people do not understand what they are doing but that they also failed to see that a lot of individuals have been damaged by their supposed “criticisms”. Many people with good ideas and potential are afraid to come out and project or present their ideas, views, and discoveries because of the “criticisms” they will attract. These people in question will prefer to stay in the background and observe situations than to come out and have stones thrown at them.
But is that what criticism should be all about? Isn’t it supposed to build rather than destroy the recipients? Should people be afraid of criticism to start with? Aren’t they supposed to cherish and look forward to it because of the knowledge and improvements they will obtain from it? These are some of the questions “critics” should ask themselves if they truly mean to criticise. But from what I have observed, many “critics” hide behind criticism to spew hate and some of them have the intention to discourage or undermine the efforts of others.
But, it is possible that many critics don’t know how to criticise. Maybe they don’t know that criticism requires that the critic strikes a balance between the good and bad attributes of the objects, ideas, or opinions of the attention. Maybe they thought that laughing at people to ridicule their efforts is how to criticise them. It could be they believed that when harsh words are used, even if they are derogatory, the persons receiving the “criticism” will know they, the recipients, have met the “right” persons, who will “call a spade a spade”. How I wished they knew better.
But here is the truth many people fail to realise:
If what you spew out focuses only on the negatives, then it is not criticism. If it is not correctional, it is not criticism. If it does not add to the existing knowledge, trust me, you are only witch-hunting the recipient. And if you are doing that to undermine or discourage the recipient for personal benefits, just know that you have added to the problems of humanity.
Let your criticism be fair, informed, and civil. It is not a battle of knowledge.