Note: This is the second part on some thoughts I have on art criticism. You can read the first part here. These thoughts are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of other members of Selladore Films.
One of knee-jerk reactions to the negatives of criticism would be to make only positive criticisms. This is not the true opposite of criticism at all, though, as responding positive to something very often is the same as responding negative to something else. In the same way choosing to love something is choosing to hate (at least in a sense or comparatively) something else. For example, since childhood I have loved chocolate. This essentially means I hate (at least in a sense or comparatively) what I perceive as it's opposite: brussels sprouts. This becomes increasingly involved when discussing art, because behind art are movements that react to each other and each other's philosophy.
The other reaction would be to make no criticism at all, positive or negative. Besides the impossibility, impracticality, and deprivation of the helpfulness criticism, the absence of criticism is not the true opposite of criticism either. Just as the mere absence of hate does not mean love, the absence of criticism cannot be its opposite.
Perhaps the most essential element of criticism is the breaking down of something into scrutable elements. Thus, to discover the opposite of criticism, we only need look to the opposite of deconstruction itself.
In the world in which we live, the true opposite of criticism is creation. It is action.
Criticism is purely reactionary and passive while creation and action are vitally proactive. Criticism is relatively easy, creation and action are most difficult. Criticism costs us very little, creation and action are exhaustively taxing. Criticism often discourages others, while creation and action inspire them! History remembers very little of critics. In fact, most of the time critics are remembered for being wrong in opposing some significant act of creation or action. So I personally think we would all greatly benefit if we created and acted more, and criticized less.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Creativity is hard. It is a work-in-progress. It is a lot of trying and a lot of messing up. But it's also additive. That is, it is experience, and experience accumulates, it molds, it improves. This alone makes creative endeavors worth it and more valuable than any criticism of them. But it's not just what creativity does for us, it what it does for others and this is where criticism falls most short. For creativity has the ability to reach, embolden, uplift, and even inspire others. Criticism makes low even the highest of ideas, works, and people; meanwhile creativity uplifts even lowliest ideas, works, and people.