Blog: What are skillful, earnest critics good for?
Helping. Criticism is always a problem; constructive criticism is an oxymoron. I had a professor once who, repeating his father I believe, said "I have never seen a monument to a critic." But let's get a bit fundamental here: a critic is someone who evaluates things and makes a judgment. Don't we all do that, more or less well, more or less frequently, as human beings? (Of course on the MBTI test I am on the judging axis, so this colors my perceptions.) But where we take it from there is the mark of what we are as a person and suggests the mark we will leave in the human record.
I firmly believe that if one points out a problem, one must be actively, compassionately willing to help resolve the problem if possible. IF one sees something wonderful, one must not only admire it; one must emulate or act in one's own sphere with motivated, equal excellence.
Those who see well and respond well, both to problems and excellencies, are critics--but we call them leaders.