When I struggle with Critique vs. Criticism, it’s time for Critical Thinking

[Images from quote books from my art shows in the early 90’s]

Ah, the artist dilemma.  Or really, the human condition.   The struggle with taking critique but not treating it as criticism.  Juggling the constructive and the destructive.  Be it from friends, family, community, clients… mainly OURSELVES!  By slowing down and pulling out some tools, we can change our perspective and thought patterns and take it as a chance to grow internally.

From Writing Alone, Writing Together; A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups by Judy Reeves: The Difference between Critique and Criticism:

  • Criticism finds fault/Critique looks at structure
  • Criticism looks for what’s lacking/Critique finds what’s working
  • Criticism condemns what it doesn’t understand/Critique asks for clarification
  • Criticism is spoken with a cruel wit and sarcastic tongue/Critique’s voice is kind, honest, and objective
  • Criticism is negative/Critique is positive (even about what isn’t working)
  • Criticism is vague and general/Critique is concrete and specific
  • Criticism has no sense of humor/Critique insists on laughter, too
  • Criticism looks for flaws in the writer as well as the writing/Critique addresses only what is on the page

Critical thinking…the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself.

From Brief Conceptualization of Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.  People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically.   They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked.  They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies.  They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking.  They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason.  They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest.  They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society.   At the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so.  They avoid thinking simplistically about complicated issues and strive to appropriately consider the rights and needs of relevant others.  They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement.  ~ Linda Elder

The unexamined life is not worth living

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” -Wayne Dyer

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent Post. I really appreciate the differences between the two and the way you have written them here. It inspires me to do a journal entry – or maybe a poster for my studio with these words. Critical thinking – don’t get me started. I wish more people just thought -used common sense. It would yield astonishing social change.

    1. Courtenay- thanks so much for your fantastic comment! Please share your journal entry and/or poster (if you feel like it) and I will add it to the post! You’re so right re; COMMON SENSE!

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