The English word criticism is derived from the French ‘critique’, which dates back to at least the 14th century and the meaning more or less remains the same whether in Latin or Greek; remark or comment that expresses disapproval of someone or something

Early English meaning of criticism was primarily literary criticism, that of judging and interpreting literature. Samuel Johnson is often held as the prime example of criticism in the English language, and his contemporary Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism is a significant landmark. In the 19th century, criticism also gained the philosophical meaning of “a critical examination of the faculty of knowledge”, such criticism was carried out mainly in the pursuit of knowledge. In the 20th century, all these meanings continued, but criticism acquired the more general connotation of voicing an objection, or of appraising the pros and cons of something. The shape and meanings of criticism were influenced very considerably by wars (including two world wars), growth of specializations and growth of technical education; “scientific criticism” became a standard expression, just as much as “literary criticism” and it became accepted more as a normal process in a democratic society.

Spilling over from late 20th into the 21st century, the popular meanings of the word criticism has evolved more strongly toward “having an objection”, “expressing dissent”, “stating a dislike”, “wanting to dissociate from something”, or “rejecting something”. Considering that there is less money in criticism, pertaining to art, literature and the more mundane affairs, a more aggressive and often subjective form of criticism has overtaken which is more personalized, casting unfound and primarily baseless, frivolous and venomous attacks on the character and personality of individuals holding high office or favorably placed in society. This has spread rapidly and often becomes viral on the internet.

To criticize does not necessarily imply “to find fault”, but it may only mean “taking sides”. It could just be an exploration of the different sides of an issue. Fighting is not necessarily involved and personalizing into trivialities is poor judgment.

Attacks on individuals for their personal characteristics for being who they are, is subjective and counterproductive. I cannot help being what I am and I cannot change on mere criticism. After personal attack is made, nothing really changes, because nothing can change. If I am criticized because of my religious faith, this will generate enormous controversy; but after all is said and done, nothing really will change, since born and raised in a certain faith I am unlikely to abandon my faith just because other people do not like it. At the most, more distrust and ill will generate than there was before.

More often with these attacks even on others, I will feel rejected; dismayed; unfairly treated; degraded; dishonored; or humiliated. Therefore, I do not consider the criticism seriously, or do something about it, simply and only because I ignore the critic, as the critic has vented a criticism that alienates and offends me.

I often read and hear people criticize for something that they have not actually done, false accusations. They make nasty and hurtful verbiage and statements. The targets are primarily those public figures in high offices or in the ‘news’. They forget that basic psychological rule of criticism assumes that people should use criticism to achieve an improvement, usually “in good faith”. It assumes the critic has a positive intention in making the criticism. It certainly does not make much sense, if there is an all-out war going on, where the opposition is just trying to destroy and discredit as much as possible, using absolutely any means they can find.

Present day critics would have loved and have had a field day with a person who was kicked out of office twice, slept until noon, used opium in college and drank a quart of whiskey every evening. The critics would have slaughtered him ‘literally’; he was Winston Churchill, the war time British prime minister!

And the critics would go gaga over a person who was a vegetarian, did not smoke, drank an occasional beer and never committed adultery…he was Adolf Hitler, the German Dictator!

Do criticize me, make me wiser, caring, thoughtful and mature, but please do not try and change me, I would like to remain with what I am endowed with or lack of it!