The Criticizing Critic
We are all born with the innate ability to judge. What ever we see, touch,smell, hear, or taste is judged. Our very contact with the material world causes us to do this. We cannot escape it, that’s how we process our world and complex actions later via brain, mind, and intellect out comes a judgement. Good, bad, or indifferent its still an opinion. We apply this principle to everything and everybody. It’s normal to hear a conversation, or talk to someone and while you hear or talk, you are processing the information and while doing so you are also judging the conversation. Your mind races at super speeds to either help continue the conversation or put away information for later. While all these processes are occurring, a little powerful entity known as ego joins the party.
The Ego is always with us like an aura around us but within us, sometimes participating, sometimes dormant, but ever present waiting for the right opportunity to dominate and chime in to “protect us.” Some confuse the ego as the Self but it is far from it. Most of the time, it’s the ego that is speaking, and taking over thoughts, and not the true inner self. It’s the ego and the mind that keeps the tango dance of confusion that leads to the negative thoughts, words, and actions. This all leads to criticism.
Where does this powerful judgement that affects us all come from? I believe it comes from within. We criticize others for their appearances (too fat or thin, too ugly, or too vain), their mannerisms ( too loud and obnoxious, too superficial ), what some one says or does, but in the end our judgments come from our deep seated consciousness. This is a hard concept to grasp but I will humbly try my best to explain it. With the example of someone being too fat. The thought starts from within after visually seeing somebody that may be overweight, it reaches our mind, then our ego steps in, and then with our mind we may negatively associate body habitus with being bad and therefore this person infront of is also bad, and the ego feeds this badness, with thoughts that we are thinner than this person, making us superior. If by chance somebody else is next to us, we may whisper or jeer at the “fat” person regarding their weight. So now from a thought it has been converted to a word, and then an action ( jeering). Now imagine this behavior going on infinite times a day in our minds on an infinite number of judgmental topics. Can you remember how many times a day you have criticized someone, something, a situation with a coworker, a conversation (gossip) about someone?
This is all in our subconscious and we don’t even know that it is even happening, yet we perpetuate it constantly, and accelerate it to the point that we draw upon another set of constellation of emotions eg anger, frustration, pride, jealousy, greed. This then leads to impatience, abusive words and actions, and eventually undesirable results. But in this chain of events how did it get so out of control? One word, Ego. We forgot to analyze what the Ego did and why it did it? We are not perfect beings despite what our ego may tell us. So perhaps deeply seated within our subconscious we are unhappy with ourselves for something, for example being overweight or at least not having achieved a desirable goal to ourselves due to some other set of values that tell us that we are not perfect. The ego steps in and protects our “fragile ” self and mirrors out that thought and tags it to the next easily available target, somebody else. You can pick this concept for any example and follow its track through our mind.
So in the end what we have is ballooned Egos on everyone roaming around and we keep bumping into everyone else’s Egos. When egos clash, just like rain clouds, either lightning (anger) or rain ( emotional outpouring) emerge with lots of noise of thunder (shouting) !! I am of course not referring to the positive criticism that opponents would like to shed light on that “helps” others. This of course would not in any way lend credence to the fact that it’s basically telling someone else that they did something wrong and there is a better way of doing or saying something, namely our way !!
All critiquing does not have to be negatively critical if the ego is removed out of this process, and so the judgment is pure and from the self and so it cannot be harmful. The only way of achieving this seemingly impossible idea ( the ego will tell you) is being present, and awake and alert. Be cognizant of your thoughts, and ALL your 5 senses, and pause while you think and speak. Be aware of your mind and it’s speed, and direction. Is it rambling, is it focused, if so on what? Idle mind leads to idle thoughts, leading to useless words, actions and work. You are your own worst criticizing critic, in the pursuit of perfection, but on this journey, the ego has to be left behind if meaningful progress is to be made.
As you practice this concept of pause and patience, over time you will get an innate sense of true Self that will rise and be prominent and you will look at the self of another being and not their outer shell and speak to their soul as they will to you. Imagine that, humans communicating at a higher level of existence, with peace, non judgment leading to non violence, no wars, working cooperatively for a better world, without continuous miscommunication leading to difficulties and strife. From time to time keep checking in on yourself. How are you doing with your critical compass at this moment?