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What is Criticism?
Why criticism is necessary for intellectualism
Criticism is a necessary method, exercise, and discipline to achieve the intellectual spirit and political praxis of accomplishment. It is routinely discouraged by mainstream academics and the public alike because of its nature of sincere disapproval of their narrative. The critic points out the faults, mistakes, merits, and practice of said written or artistic work and reevaluates the meaning through a new and improved analysis and judgment. Without criticism, there would be no intellectual.
The reason why we have critical theory is that criticism allows the intellect, or the philosopher, to think for himself. The critical theory approach to culture confronts the ideological forces and structures that constrain reality into dullness. According to Louis Althusser and other like-minded Marxists, there is both a “base” and a “superstructure” to the materialistic world we live in. The base shapes and maintains the superstructure, while the superstructure maintains and shapes the base, going around in an endless cycle.
The base is made up of “the means of production,” which may include the tools, machines, factories, land, and raw materials, as well as “the relations of production,” between class, property, capital, commodities, and so on.
The superstructure is “everything not directly to do with production,” which also includes “ideology” as its main root, as well as everything from art, family, culture, religion, philosophy, law, media, politics, science, education, and so on.
It is acknowledged that the base is dominant in its role in this cycle of process, while the superstructure is a byproduct of the base. There have been a few Marxists that have debated if this is all true, or that the superstructure is dominant and it is the base that is a byproduct of it. This framework makes criticism possible, and without it, there would be no proper critical theory or criticism to begin with. The critic must acknowledge this base and superstructure cycle to execute his criticisms (even though he may make a critique of this foundation).
Criticism is not an advocation of liberalism, individualism, democracy, or any form of it. Criticism is developed by the literate intellectual who knows how to read, write, cite, orate, and argue adequately. A critic cannot be illiterate. It is required to be literate to write and speak of proper criticisms. By just speaking, one is merely complaining and using emotion to get across disproval. Criticism is logical, rational, and dedicated to the improvement of intellectuals in the arts by destroying what is criticized. It may be an angry Dad speaking of his hatred against gays, only then to give insight into what gays should not do, or an anarchist crying about the evils of fascism, only then for the fascists to become polite. Whether this is “constructive” is quite controversial, as someone who criticizes is assumed to always come from ill will, which is not true. This is further propaganda advocated by the American state, normative society, and liberals who refuse to see their own shadow. Criticism is personal in its very nature because of its intellectual duty to teach and perfectly improve others.
It is always assumed that criticism is negative, like murder or rape. This judgment is beyond such foolish binary ethics that it is the only liberating act that makes us human. Criticism is required to achieve greatness in the arts, science, and technology. The negative or positive qualities of the art or thing in question will motivate us to do something. We must act as paternal guides where that leads us, following virtue ethics and consequences. Criticism can range from theoretical, practical, impressionistic, prescriptive, or descriptive approaches. This critical expression alone isn’t related to how one feels at a random moment, but related to the greater outcome of influence in society. We improve and learn through criticism. It is the job of the intellectual to spread criticism against all notions of security, comfort, and ignorance. Academic research and intellectual inquiry need criticism to function. They may call it an “evaluation” instead but refuse to acknowledge the real power of critical theory and criticism.
They may say “Everyone is a critic.” So be it. There is a difference between those who have feelings against something they don’t want to hear (orthodoxy), versus the ideologically driven ones who glitch when they hear some opposing point that will shatter their reality. All reactions are good because at least these two start to think about their nature, or to practice self-psychoanalysis. The discourse at hand shall be criticized not as “critique,” but as a criticism. The dialectics will lead to one solution when criticism is addressed. Critics are finding the faults in the compter’s logic to help all possible rhizomes of interest. If philosophy can lead to the application of critical thought, criticism provides that praxis. Positivism gives the intellectual power to oversee all truths as conflict, but as well points out the liberal in the room. The critic must assert himself over everyone else.
A “writer” is not a profession, ideology, novelist, book producer, occupation, gig, or “content” creator. It is solely the activity, skill, or composition; of the literate, to put coherent language in print. There is only “writing,” not being a “writer.” Criticism relies on writing to function. Writing is not the whole, but only the skeleton. Criticism is the brain that supersedes the activity and turns it into action. And in what language does the “writer” write? If one can speak English, it can only be a benefit to write in it too. But why is the transcribing of English being emphasized here? What does it mean just to communicate by sign? Criticism gets rid of this obsession and fixation on mindless writing, and turns it into an intellectual pursuit. Robots will eventually transcribe and replace the writer’s profession and ideology, and what is left is the critic who relies on no one.
The base and superstructure turn in motion constantly. Criticism is the base that shapes and maintains the superstructure, while the so-called “writer” is lost in the reality of a “culture war” and dogmatic limitation of good and evil. It believes it can maintain and shape the critic, but ultimately fails to realize that criticism owns the means of production and relates to the materialist world around it. Criticism birthed the profession of the “writer” and everything inside the superstructure.
With this being understood, the criticism must, at all costs, expose the lies, truths, faults, and political paradoxes of reality and the byproducts of the superstructure. There are many examples of disapproval and critical articles that can change the way we think. The most important thing someone can do is to make a criticism without fear, and confidentially speak up and go against the opposition. Criticism attacks the neutral stance, while the angry comments come in because they shake up the agitator’s comfort. The state continues to censor, ignore, hide, and play dumb to the opposition at all costs. Criticism is a value to humanity because it does what art can’t do; think for itself. The critic sacrifices his life against the managerial class that ignores its decadent fatalism.
It is up to the act of criticism to shape the world.
The point, however, is to change it.