The Critics’ Trap

I’ve had my fair share of being burnt out on the force realist communities, but in all honesty, the source of all that dissatisfaction is almost always myself. There are and probably always will be plenty to criticize, but what matters is where you place your focus. If you look at the vast majority of students, for instance, you might see a disheartening lack of passion, dedication, or commitment. Or if you come to rely on direct opposition and challenges as the only form of interaction (i.e. conflict) that you find viable, it might be hard to see or use other forms.

I could go on, because in addition to the list of critiques someone else has recently been putting together, you can be sure I have a list of my own. But if I were to focus on the shortcomings or failings to much, or get caught up in them… well, it’s comparable to the differences I’ve pointed out between being ‘self absorbed’ and ‘self centered’ or ‘thinking’ and ‘overthinking’. You can compare it – to a certain degree – to the “traps” along our path, as Miles has described in the past, the traps of passion, strength, power, and even victory.

To do that is basically the same as looking at a quality and deciding it is entirely, irrevocably a weakness. But that’s bullshit; patience can be one or the other; stubborness can be one or the other. Name a trait, a quality, and whether it’s a strength or a weakness is mainly a matter of awareness, and choice. Being aware of them, even having to deal with them, is one thing; being tripped up by them is another. Getting hung up on any of these things is a choice though, whether consciously made or not, and I’m the one responsible for making it. Even the difference between a quality being a strength or a weakness is comparable.

None of these things, in and of themselves, are irreconcilable problems, they’re just challenges to deal with. Even opportunities to learn, adapt, and grow. Pretty much any and all problems one can point to in the communities are the same in that regard. They are the bitter that someone who’s been around the block a few times has to take with the sweet. And there’s really no denying that there’s a sweet side to all of it, because there have been a number of passionate, dedicated, and outright inspiring people exemplify (and share) the ways of the Sith.

All I can say, to anyone that believes the former eclipses the latter, is that you determine where your focus is at. Positives or negatives, useful or useless, immersion or escape, strength or weakness. Make your choice, and be honest with yourself about it. It’s no different from the practices some find worthwhile while others deem them to be escapist practices, nor any different from the exercising power, influence, while others obsess over how to control things, and fail.

The critics trap is defined by tunnel vision, by focus on the negatives, the shortcomings and failings of a thing, or of people, to the point that they overshadow and eclipse all of the victories, accomplishments, and overall value that a community can have. It can be climbed out of though, simply by focusing on the things that matter to you, the things you resonate with and feel are important, the things you care about.

Related Posts (by Me)

Ran Its Course
Escapist Practices
Due Consideration
Where’s Your Focus?
Degrees of Control

Related Posts (by Khaos)

Be Consumed By Your Passion
Passion & Reason
The Relationship Between Master & Apprentice



  1. “The critics trap is defined by tunnel vision, by focus on the negatives, the shortcomings and failings of a thing, or of people, to the point that they overshadow and eclipse all of the victories, accomplishments, and overall value that a community can have..”

    Measuring loss and gain in regards to something is a common tool, and useful. Now, you could blame this on the narrow mind of the individual, but companies, and communities with much more impact in the world make it a common practice for survival.

    Taken down to our communities, where apparently ones subjective view and understanding is all that really matters(which really, what is more tunnel vision than that? Positive, or negative?) and applying it to the individual(Isnt everything about the individual?) Then the value, is only as good as it relates to that one. The value of the community,is irrelevant.

    Knowing what benefits yourself, and what doesnt, well, I can hardly see how you can define being critical as a trap. In determining your focus, you can determine something with a critical eye, and determine to not focus it in a place offering no return on investment.

    The only way to determine the value of a community, is to see it objectively, in terms of what it offers and what it doesnt. As a community is made up of more than any single individual.

    However, an individual, in objectively observing the state of something, can in fact critique it on a much wider view, which will of course offend those trying to keep rose colored glasses on, which, I wonder if that is what people really mean when speaking of focus determining reality. However, in observing, and in my own experience, that is no small numbers of years in observance of the forums and its success rate, and while yes, there has been “plenty” in 15 years, not really so much when you think about how many have come through in 15 years.
    In the end, which really implies more tunnel vision?

    Weighing cost and gain, and seeing that the cost does in fact weigh out the gain, isnt tunnel vision, its simply applying logical analyisis to a given situation.

    I could say its myself, but I can objectively look at a situation, and given that I am not prone to not thinking things through, that would be dishonest, however, even if as you say, the dissatisfaction is almost( a key word) always yourself as the source, its still important to bare in mind where you are when such occurs, as it has bearing on your dissatisfaction one way, or the other.

    An alcoholic for example, is the source of his own dissatisfaction, so then, it behooves him not to go to bars.

    Still, a community is more than just the individual, and no matter how much you want to try to paint dogshit gold, determine your focus and all, its also important to realize you, do not exist in a void, or bubble, and people share that space with you.

    Like having a room mate that shits on the floor, well, no matter how positive a spin you try to put on your situation, thats not gonna remove the shit from the floor, or the smell from your nose.
    Community, isnt about the individual, and the individuals perception only and just trying to think happy,happy thoughts, is hardly a solution..

    1. *shrugs* I just think you blow the downsides *WAY* out of proportion, for one. That, and you do exactly the kind of thing you criticize, but my point is, here, that you a) focus on all the bad shit, and b) for some reason don’t think there’s any return despite the fact that there’s been return for you in the past, and there’s been return overall even when it comes to students; if you don’t think it’s enough, then fine, but it’s there.

      You’re just… really not hearing what I’m saying. I’m not saying ignore the negative, but aside from the fact that you’ve been focusing almost exclusively on the negative, you offer no solutions, your actions affect no solutions. And really, what annoys me about you’re litanies isn’t the fact that they’re not in any way constructive (despite that this annoys me to – especially when I myself do it – but in itself it’s excusable).

      No, what really bugs me is you ‘leave’, and say you cut your ties, but you haven’t. Instead, you’ve rationalized why you ‘left’, vented, and did so only after retreating to your blog to do it. Either take some distance, like I do, and do what you’re doing honestly, or focus on what matters to you apart from the communities. Either way, try to be a little constructive about it 😉 .

    2. One thing I oughta clarify is, I’m not really interested in persuading you to ‘come back’. I want you to do what you want; I just would rather you not bullshit yourself about it so much along the way.

      “Filters” for instance: doesn’t even matter if it applies to anyone else; it doesn’t change the fact that it applies to you. / If your roomate shits on the floor… do you move, or do you slap him and tell him not to do it again, because you live there to. (And that’s *if* he shits on the floor; what happens at places like OotS or even the FA, is more like a dog or even a child shitting on the floor, a worst; yeah it stinks, yeah it’s gonna leave a stain, but it’s a kid/dog. What do you expect? The idea, is that they learn, and there’s more than one way to teach them (i.e. you don’t have to kick the shit out of every child that shits on the floor, in order to get him/her not to… some, maybe, but not all)).

      Perhaps you feel the solution is to simply cut ties, so you don’t have to deal with it anymore. I can relate to that, sympathize. But that’s not a solution that has any real effect on the issues you’re apparently hung up on. It’s not the one I’ve chosen. And more to the point, while you claim to have chosen that, the more I see (of what you’ve got to say) the more it seems not to be the case. Like I said, you “left”, but didn’t really cut your ties.

  2. First off, Howdy.
    Second, thanks for taking the time for putting into words what many people have thought for years in an ambiguous fashion.

    This concept could also be called the Skeptics Trap. Negative criticism often accompanies false skepticism in a tunnel vision related to unconscious narcisism from many of the ostrich-like masses. Indeed, the cartoonish antics presented by “wanna-be” critics and skeptics evades the whole definition of both criticism and skepticism.

    Affective criticism versus ranting, the scope of which is usually called criticism these days, generally relates to nothing but bulldozing one’s opinion over another; whereas affective criticism, or actual criticism, generally accedes to the points raised by the target of the critic while interjecting small modes of improvement. Criticism is worthless if one cannot evolve one’s self or the target of the critiquing in an affective matter.

    Indeed, the effect of affective critical review usually leaves the target of critique and the critic on a much better understanding of a reviewed subject. Criticism, itself, should have the goal of elevating the knowledge of the target of critique, but can easily become nothing more than a worthless rant which is the usual case of narcisistic operations.

    In short, critical analysis on differentiation between critique and blow-hard opinion is a useful skill to aquire.

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