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Seeking Wisdom, Day 9 – About Criticism

February 9, 2016

“You can say the wisest words ever uttered to a fool, and they won’t register,” so said a character in a book I read. You might as well save your breath. A fool is not interested in wisdom, nor will he heed criticism. Solomon thinks of criticism as analyzing and interpreting values that prolong and benefit life. Criticism applies knowledge and judgment to behaviors.

I  think of literary criticism as making judgment according to rules generally accepted. It is not finding fault, but judging and analyzing and determining the value of a literary work. One needs an amount of wisdom and knowledge to evaluate literature. Book groups enjoy the power of taking apart books, discussing their relevance and their faults. A good book tantalizes us and makes us wiser.

We are all critics, and every day we make judgments. This is too hot. That is not right. I don’t like cucumbers. We call them opinions. Solomon tells us to go into the house of wisdom where we will learn how to judge.

Now there are those who will not listen to advice. They are mockers, and it is impossible to teach them anything. They must learn from experience, and that experience will probably not make their lives pleasant. It is a hard way to learn.

A math teacher I know, takes her job seriously and tells her students that her grades are organized by points which must be attained by doing homework assignments and passing tests. The points are structured that not doing assignments will result in failure. She repeats the message nearly every week and conferences those who seem not to be paying attention. A very bright, but unwise student, got good grades on every test, but did not bother turning in a single assignment. This bright girl objected strenuously when she got the “F”, her points had totaled. She promised to go back and turn in every assignment, nearly an impossible job. She spent a horrible weekend, but managed to turn in every assignment, surprising herself and the teacher. Even with points subtracted for being late she passed the class. Perhaps she had learned something. It’s never to late to get a little wiser.

Solomon says in Proverbs 8, “Don’t bother correcting mockers. They will only hate you. But correct the wise and they will love you. Teach the righteous and they will learn even more.” Wisdom multiplies your days and adds years to your life. Wisdom is available to all; we can change our habits to learn from our critics, and learn whom we can criticize — only in the most positive and nurturing way.

Be happy and apply your wisdom to those who will take it to their hearts.

 

 

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One Comment
  1. yolanda Montufar permalink

    I just read your comment on criticism. I sometimes feel that I’m surrounded by a world of negativity that sometimes has me spiraling down to a level that makes me uncomfortable to be around their company. I feel like Solomon that that I should not bother with the mockers, but I find that I need to inflict what little wisdom I possess on them since they are a product of being, hoping that some of it will be eventually taken as a good source of advice.

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