The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

The Critic’s Mind

There is the saying, “You can’t help anyone until you can help yourself.” The problem and I guess the good thing about statements like this is that they are open to individual interpretation. When I hear this statement I have been lead to believe it means that a person must first become a better person: they must be taught, they must study, they must learn, they must focus on their personal evolution via physical, educational, psychological, and spiritual means and then by having elevated themselves to a new and better projection of the Self they may then extend their hand to help others. But, how many people in life ever try to do any of that? They hear, “Help yourself,” and they focus only on the Self: the Lower Self, never the Higher Self.

If you look around at life, maybe even look at your own life, people fill their time with distraction. Whether that distraction is shopping, taking art or acting classes, going to the gym, or a bar, people look for a way to make their life seem like something more. They do this, but they never seem to focus on the things that could actually make them a better person.

Even look to sports. Think how many people become all consumed by watching sports.

Very few people ever raise their bodies to the level of being able to participate in sports on the professional level. This is primarily because of the fact that very few people possess the dedication to train their body to the degree that they could perform at that level. Yet, look around and listen to the world, there are millions and millions of fans across the globe who wish to put out their critique and their criticism about what is taking place on that field, on that court, or in that ring.

This takes us to the point of all of this. Criticism is easy. It takes very little effort. But, it is no more than a life based upon the drug of distraction because it take no true training or achievement to become a critic. Yet, do the critics realize that what they are doing serves no beneficial purpose to the greater good of humanity or to themselves? The answer to this question is obviously, no.

I think to the world of film, literature, and music where I am involved. In particular, at least for this piece, I will focus on the world of film. I look to earlier times. Then, it was the small magazines that were stocked full of film critiques. Magazines like Draculina, Psychotronic, Shock Cinema, Oriental Cinema, Independent Cinema, B-Movie Magazine and others focused on the No to Low Budget arena of filmmaking. The thing that always struck me was that most of these magazines, (but not all), were operated by people who had never made a film. The reviews were written by critics who had never been on a set or understood what it took to actually envision, produce, edit, and then distribute a film; especially on the independent level. Yet, they wrote their reviews about other people’s films and presented them to the world.

Though times have changed and, for the most part, this level of film reviewing has moved to the internet, the problem has remained the same. The people doing the reviewing are not true filmmakers. They are not people who hold the passion for filmmaking and will do whatever it takes to get their film completed. They simple want to take the easy way out: maybe sit in front of a camera, maybe grab some clips from some other filmmaker’s film, and talk about it.

The thing that has always surprised me the most about this process, especially at the independent film level, is that these reviewers at least claim to have a love for the craft. By focusing on this level of filmmaking they are proclaiming that they like this stratum of filmmaking. Yet, they tear these films apart. Films that are made on a minuscule budget. Films that, at best, must be seen for what they are. Yet, these critics isolate and attempt to interpreter, via their own prejudice, and go after the smallest item(s) they believe to be a flaw, attempting to make themselves appear to be some grand interpreter by spouting out their beliefs. But, how does that make anything better? How does that make the world better? How does that make the listener better? And, most importantly, how does that make the critic a more enlightened or refined individual? How does that even make them a what they are critiquing; namely a filmmaker?

I am using those people that talk about that something Out-There as an example. I do this because if you think about it, ponder how many people live their life based on this premise. They speak about this, they speak about that, they find that drug of distraction via that thing Out-There that has very little to do with the overall greater evolution of their life or the World Mind.

Why do so many people do this? Because it is easy. Because it is a drug. Because it allows them to not have to focus on themselves. By placing the focus outside of themselves, they do not have to look within. They do not have to calculate their own flaws and faults. They do not have to become that better person they could be if they only tired.

Think about your own life, what are you doing to make yourself that better person? I am not talking about what are you doing to be more powerful, be more loved by the masses of people you will never know, I am not speaking about you getting that better car or that bigger TV, what I am asking is, what are you doing to bring your body and your mind into a higher state of being where you would actually possess the ability to truly help other people or the world as a whole? If you don’t have an answer for this, that is your answer. Maybe you should reevaluate your life. “You can’t help anyone until you can help yourself.”