Here rests a critique. A critique of those who critique. Ethical failure of critics as they negate and become the criticized – the target of critique.
Above all, it’s a personal note on self-overcoming.
How does social critique work? An allusion to the ought, the (yet) unnoticed prescriptive. The commentator observes the working of the society, he makes out the descriptive, the Is. Perhaps there exists no ought. Even worse, the wrong ought. Nevertheless, a different anchor is needed, a prescriptive to direct us.
Every analysis must contain a hint of emancipation. Especially those of moral and ethical nature. An acceptance that we are, in a sense, the same. However, the criticized is acting against what it is, what it wants to be. The analysis provides an alternative, the correct alternative.
It can never be otherwise. If the critic and the criticized are unalike, the criticism is pointless. Only a fool condemns a lion for being violent.
Such criticism stems from resentment – ressentiment, if you will. Consider Slave Morality. Rather than espousing moral nihilism, or worse, an egoist support of master morality, Nietzsche struck not the act, but through the act, at its intentions. The moral act, more often than not, is rooted in immoral intentions.
For the slave moralists, ressentiment is the drive. To differentiate themselves from the other. Indistinguishable from the critic. Even the right criticism, can’t hide the one who pulls the strings beneath it all.
In a recent conversation, I made a comment about being incomprehensible. An apparent defensive mechanism driven by ressentiment. Immediately, I was accused of pretension. While that was true, the condemnation of my pretension was itself pretentious.
One must be careful as to not commit vice, but also to not commit vice of not committing vice. In other words – Don’t be pretentious about being non-pretentious.
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monsterNietzsche
An ethical problem still remains. Can we question freedom without risking disapproval from the other? Here, even authentic non-pretension is in vain.
Besides, such assertions about the unfreedom of the other, while ethically true, ends up as a defence fuelled by ressentiment. Is emancipation possible without perpetuating one’s own unfreedom?
In Hegelian Theory, the Authentic Master1 is the ultimate emancipator. However, she is not a saviour. Instead, the authentic master becomes so free that it inspires others to set themselves free. For what would matter freedom, if it must be set free.
That is our ethical responsibility. To be in the best interest of the other. To allow them to set themselves free. To show, not to tell.
- Credits to Julian de Medeiros for the idea, Luffy is the Authentic Hegelian Master https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hDmYO3hk4s