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Identity and Ideas

Identity and Ideas

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You are not your ideas.

Criticism often feels like a personal attack. As a result, most people become defensive when criticized and will stubbornly defend their idea even if the criticism has merit.

Criticism has no place in a brainstorm, but once you have selected an idea to pursue, it is a valuable tool. Accepting criticism and using it to improve your ideas are critical to producing quality solutions. Remember that the criticism is not about you; it is about the idea. Try to divorce yourself from your idea and pretend that it just fell out of the sky. This will help you look at it objectively and recognize if the criticism is valid.

Avoid being defensive. Instead, ask lots of clarifying questions and find out what changes the critic would make. Be sure to refer back to the goals so that you aren't solving problems that you do not need to solve. Once you fully understand what the critic is trying to say, you can decide if they have any validity.
- from braingle.com

I really liked this defense of criticism and wanted to share. It seems like far too many people take it personally when others object to their beliefs.
  • (no subject) - sydneyrodriguez
    • There is a certain amount of tact when it comes to criticism.

      I agree that tact is important when criticizing art, as you mention. Such criticisms are based upon extremely subjective standards (aesthetic norms). I dislike the notion that there's some obligation for people to use tact when criticizing ideas, however, since these criticisms are based upon fairly objective standards (epistemic norms). Criticism is a charitable gift of thoughtfulness. There's no reason to be offended at criticism of ideas if you don't hold the egotistical belief that you actual chose your own beliefs (as opposed to them being socially imposed). So, I don't feel that there is any reason to use tact in criticizing ideas just as there is no reason why a person who gives food to charity is obligated to also donate utensils to eat the food. It is the philosohpically vulgar beggars who cannot be choosers, and they'd damn well better appreciate any scraps that fall their way lest critics revoke their gift in spite.
      • (no subject) - sydneyrodriguez
        • Yes, society may have a huge influence, but there's a certain amount of one's own thought that determines what's personally acceptable vs what's complete and total bull.

          Personally acceptable? I differentiate beliefs from values. When someone is stating a value, I see no objections and any criticism calls for some tact. When someone is stating a belief, as in an idea, I scrutinize carefully and don't see the need for tact.

          Christians continually criticize Wiccans, claiming their beliefs are "of the Devil," but fail to acknowledge the similarities (or when they do, claim absurd reasonings for them). Does it accomplish anything? Generally, no.

          The goal to be accomplished in criticizing is thoughtfulness, a critical consciousness. When religious groups criticize each other they provoke thought and argumentation, which is good. It's not as if failing to see similarities or failing to criticize empathetically makes the goal any less accomplished.

          The point is, nobody can really criticize another person's beliefs without, in some way, criticizing their own.

          I don't understand. Do you believe that I really can't say "Your belief is wrong" without indirectly saying "My belief is wrong"? What do you mean?

          They have to at least acknowledge the similarities as such, or they will be a hypocrite and their argument basically becomes null and void.

          How is it that denying similarity with another implies hypocrisy? What is necessarily hypocritical about someone saying "You are different from me"?

          Can the critic disagree with aspects? Sure, but in order for the criticised to actually consider the critic's words, the critic has to acknowledge that a person's beliefs are exactly that, and that the criticised will not change simply because the critic says their beliefs are "wrong."

          I don't understand your point. What critic doesn't acknowledge that a person's beliefs won't be changed without a reason, as opposed to "simply because"? It seems like your talking about people that don't exist. What are you trying to say?
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