Почему критика воспринимается негативно? / Why is criticism considered with negative connotations?

Почему критика воспринимается негативно? / Why is criticism considered with negative connotations?

by Евгений Волков -
Number of replies: 0

Why is criticism considered with negative connotations?

6 Answers
Marcus Geduld
Marcus Geduld, 35 years of study in psychology, as a lay reader.
Criticism would always be welcome if we humans were personal-growth machines: if out primary goal was to improve our tasks. But that's not how we're built; it's not how we evolved to be. Sure, personal growth is important to many people, but most people don't care about it all the time (even if they say they do).

Most people care more about feeling loved, feeling needed, feeling valued, feeling talented, feeling smart and feeling sexy. We evolved to be social animals more than we evolved to be perfectionists. We also evolved to expend as little energy as possible. If you criticize me and I take your criticisms seriously, I will need to expend energy. I don't need to expend any energy if I deem my efforts good-enough-as-is.

Also, you say "Criticism appears to be the greatest gift one may bestow upon another if the other," but that's in ideal situations. Criticism can be used as weapon, and we all KNOW it can be used as a weapon. "Hey, I'm just trying to give you constructive criticism" can mean, "I'm trying to wound you (or elevate myself at your expense) while maintaining plausible deniability." 

That's a common dick move, and, even though it's common, it's a MAJOR dick move. It's stabbing someone in the back while claiming to be helping them. 

Since we've all fallen prey to this sort of passive-aggressive activity in the past, we're alert to it whenever we get criticized. And it's easy to get paranoid. We may view well-meant criticism as passive-aggressive criticism, just because we've been burned by the sly kind in the past.

Criticism isn't always free-floating: a criticized worker might lose his job or not get a raise. A criticized novelist may not be able to sell his next book. Those stings may tarnish all criticism for a particular person. When his friend gently points out that he put too much salt in the soup, he way experience an emotional flashback to rejection slips he got from publishers.

Most of us first experienced heavy criticism from our parents, at times when we didn't want it. "Your room is a mess!" "You're going out dressed like THAT!" And we experienced more of it in school -- a institution where we were incarcerated, not one we freely chose to attend. As grown ups, when we're criticized, we can get emotionally thrown back into unpleasant childhood memories. 

Finally, a lot of criticism is just bad. It's poorly-thought-out and more linked to the agenda of the critic (e.g. the need to fill up space in a newspaper column) than to improving the subject. 

As a theatre director, I (or my work) gets constant criticism. When it's well-written (or well-spoken) and well-thought-out, it's invaluable. I can honestly say that my work has improved based on remarks made by clever critics. I am grateful to them, even when their criticism stung at first. But I can also count them on one hand. Most of the criticism I've received has been moronic and/or self-serving.

Here's one small example: whenever I direct a play where actors speak using accents, at least one critic (and usually several) write "the accents were all over the place." While the criticism might be valid in some cases, I take dialect work VERY seriously. But it doesn't matter how seriously I take it or what I do. I always get that remark.

Recently, for a play set in Ireland, I employed TWO dialect coaches who worked closely with all the actors. The actors spent hours drilling and working with dialect tapes. Two cast members WERE Irish and audience members from Ireland said the accents were fantastic. And yet I still got the "all over the place" remark from critics. It's hard to speak authentically with a foreign accent, and I'm sure, even given all our work, that there were lapses. But "all over the place"?

I started noticing the same remark made about other-people's shows, even shows I saw where the dialect-work was good. In fact, I've seen South-African actors get criticized because their South-African dialects were, supposedly, "all over the place." I've seen British actors get their wrists slapped for doing "bad British accents."

It is true that a lot of dialect work is shoddy (I'm looking at you, Peter Dinklage!), and much of the good work could still use improvement, but I've come to the conclusion that "the dialects were all over the place" is something critics slip into reviews without thought, just to fill up space. It's also something that they use to make them sound less like fan-boyz. In fact, I've almost never read the remark in a negative review. It's usually used as negative spice in a positive sentence, e.g. "Though the accents were all over the place, I barely noticed, because the acting was so strong and the show was so exciting!"

I've gone on at length about this minor issue because it's indicative of the sort of criticism I tend to get. I often get the feeling that critics don't really pay attention to what they're watching: that they just write a sort of mad-libs, fill-in-the-blanks critique, not giving it much thought. That doesn't apply to good critics, but the good ones are few and far between. That is true for life as well as The Arts.

Having had to deal with this for twenty years, I have to work hard to notice the good critics and pay attention to them. It's less emotionally exhausting to just ignore them all. I don't do that, but it's tempting.

My etiquette does not allow me to give unsolicited criticism or advice. I think it's the height of rudeness to do so. A play, movie or novel is fair game, because its creator is "putting it out there," knowing he'll get criticized. But the same doesn't hold for when a friend bakes a cake or wears a new outfit. Unless he specifically asks for criticism, it's not my place to give it.
Gary Meegan
Gary Meegan, works at Junipero Serra High School
I am wondering if perhaps this might be a couple of reasons that criticism is thought of negatively:

1. While the definitions given by reputable dictionaries maintain that criticism is judgment in a non-prejudicial manner, the masses understand criticism as being judgmental, of deciding whether something has merit according to a system of standards, most often focusing on the negative. "Stop being so critical," usually means, "Stop finding the faults." A friend of mine once told me, The experts see criticism as helpful, but only when they give it to others.

2. People, in general, don't like to be wrong and they like to think that their reasoning is sound. We tend to take ownership of what we think, not realizing that we do not own any idea, and that ideas are only as good as the reasoning that begets them. So, anytime a person's reasoning and/or conclusion is called into question, ego can become a factor.

3. Critics can (often) be wrong in their criticism, especially if they are not experts in the field. So, if a person is correct in their reasoning and conclusions and is criticized for it anyway, that person could tend to become hardened toward criticism.
Mark Myers
Mark Myers, Mark Myers received his Master of Social Work Degree from Loyola University in 1987. He has been practicing...
Criticism, or feedback could be viewed as negative for several reasons. The first may be the history between the two people involved.  If they have had previous interactions that can be construed as negative, no mater what the intent was, suggestions could be interpreted as negative.  Another factor could be how the person is presenting it.  Tone of voice, body language, timing, location, and content of feedback would be deciding factors in interpreting how the message is received.  A last factor to consider is the person receiving the message.  If that person lacks confidence in themselves, the message most likely be construed as negative, no matter what the intent was meant to be.

If you are on the presenting end of this type of interaction, and you are offering feedback that is being interpreted as negative, I would suggest opening up a dialogue with that person.  If you discuss this an issue, you can at least be opening the door to constructive dialogue.  If the person receiving the feedback knows your motives behind the critique, it could allow future interactions to be more positive.   

The person receiving the feedback could also help the situation by opening up a discussion about this issue. The person presenting the information may not be aware they are presenting it in a negative light.  Help them understand why(be specific) their message is interpreted in a negatively.  This could be helpful only if the person presenting the feedback is intending the feedback to be constructive.  If the person is intending it to be negative, the person receiving it may need to avoid that person, set limits with him/her, or develop their own mental filter when around this person.
Julian Knight
Julian Knight, works at Lowe and Partners
In my opinion criticism is not always considered with negative connotations.
Speaking very generally, criticism is probably more associated with defense mechanisms in order to shield from potential verbal attack, if perceived that way. 
In my work I take criticism on almost a daily basis, being a creative. I do not feel at any time negative about other peoples perception of my work, however there is a natural defense feeling that 'slides into place' just in case I need to stand to my defense.
Because strangely, humans have separated ourselves from each other through defining ourselves according to our particular knowledge / ways / habits / wants and when someone says something that does not support this self definitions - it's taken personally and the person goes into a reaction of fear of loss - fear of not existing as one's self definition

this could be prevented if criticism is redefined practically as a way to point out that which is not the best way as that which is in fact most effective and produces the best outcome that is best for everyone, and if everyone took responsibility for their reactions and would investigate where / how they take things personally to see how they've defined themselves, and then let go of the self definition to be able to consider reality in the context of what's actually effective
Adisa Nicholson
Adisa Nicholson, knows all the sociological perspectives.
Because some people use criticism, not because they disagree with what someone says; but instead because they want to be condescending, and chastise someone for their opinions. They really want them to shut up, so that's why they say what they say.

Scene: At family counselling, where people are supposed to discuss their opinions freely, in a safe environment.
"I think he needs counselling. He hasn't changed. He's still got the same behavioural patterns."
"He's well behaved. Stop being negative."
Not everyone is of the maturity of most Quora users, when it comes to handling opposing opinions. I'm sure you can imagine how the rest of the counselling session went, and who wasn't allowed to express their opinion.

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