Posted by Victor at August 6, 2005 05:43 PM
Perhaps clinging to personality traits is a dead end. Yet we tend to think that “favorable” traits are a good thing and we are all too happy to be defined by those. But to what extent do I blind myself if I think that I’m “smart”, or “funny”, or “attractive”? There is also a tendency to cling to “negative” traits. For example, what am I excusing myself from if I don’t think I’m “smart”, etc.? Either way, we don’t allow for the possibility of what we’re supposedly “not”!
Exactly. These traits are simply how the Ego defines itself, making itself appear solid, attempting to prove its existence – to itself. If I am smart/not smart, I must be real. If I am rich/poor, I must exist. By defining what we think we are or are not, we are cutting off possibilities as you wrote, and we are also making ourselves more solid, less flexible, less adaptable. Life will simply roll over our rock-hard ego, but that ego will shatter if the current of life throws us against something hard – and in the end nothing is more fragile than a rock-hard ego.
With regard to critics… Their job is what, to determine if some work measures up to their collection of preferences and opinions?? I guess they’re supposed to uphold some standard of measure… But it’s a little like trying to hold up a yardstick to measure a moving wave… And over time the yardstick changes too (maybe “metric” is popular this year)!
Being a critic is a hard job. Since a healthy set of preferences has to change over time, the great critic might revisit a piece of music or a painting and be brave enough to change their mind about it. But yes, I imagine it would be quite hard to run around with a permanently attached yardstick. It’s not a job I am envious of.